Old habits die hard

Apparently it takes 3 weeks to form a habit. To some, that might seem like a long amount of time. But in reality, it’s hardly comparable to the amount of time it takes to break a habit. It’s much harder to break a habit than it is to form one, and the longer the habit is maintained, the harder it becomes.

Recently I’ve come to realize what I milestone of progress I’ve made in my ED recovery. I’m not sure when or how it happened, but at some point I just stopped caring about how many calories a certain food has, or if I got a certain amount of exercise every single day. I became less obsessive over how “un-processed” a certain food was, and stopped worrying about getting the perfect balance of all the food groups. I started to see food as the way it was meant to be seen – as a means to the end; something that is both necessary and enjoyable, a source of fuel and not of stress. At some point things got put in their proper perspective- and although I’m not exactly sure how it happened, I’m sure glad it did.

But old habits die hard, and I occasionally still feel my old habits creaping up from time to time. Particularly when I’m under stress, or feeling down – then I hear those old negative voices coming up again. They tell me that I’m eating too much and that I really shouldn’t. They tell me I’m binging when I eat a bit more then I usually do. They order me to restrict, to exercise, to obsess. In short – they make me unhappy.

I try to keep things light and happy, because most of the time I am happy. I’m on the path to achieving me dreams, I have a goal in life I’m actively pursuing. That’s a whole lot more than other people have. But right now I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m feeling pushed over the brink, I’m very stressed and pressured. I have a whole bunch of exams coming up and I don’t know where to start.

There are better and worse days, there are days that I make a to-do list and I forge ahead with my day. I take it one step at a time and I’m ok. But other days (like today) I want to bury my head in my hands and cry. My re-search is at a stand still, I barely slept last night and I’m not feeling well. So old habits come beconing.

In moments like this I feel like controlling my food will help me control my situation, I feel that if I manage to do just this one thing – then everything else will fall into place. I start panicing when I don’t know what to eat, or if my routine gets messed up. In those few moments everything I fought so hard to achieve goes down the drain.

The thing about habits is we always have a choice. We can always choose to say – “No! I’ve been down this road once before, I know where it leads and I am not going back again”. And no matter how hard it seems we can resist these old habits and by doing so – pave the way for newer and healthier ones.

Today was a hard day and that’s ok, because life isn’t perfect for anyone. There are good days and bad days. The choice we need to make is not to give up, to turn our face to the sky and choose to believe that the sun is still shining, even if dark clouds and in the way. The future is a blank sheet of paper, and we can fill it with whatever we want. And I for one, intend to make that blank sheet of paper into the most beautiful picture as I can.

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12 comments

  1. This post is so incredible! I especially love that last bit about making your blank page into a beautiful picture. This rough time is only gonna make you stronger girl. I know you can make it through this and ace your tests, you have the determination and drive to do it! 🙂 Keep on trucking, we’re all cheering for ya!

  2. Good luck with kicking those old habits! You are right, they are hard to get rid off, but once you get over them, you are the winner. Just don´t give up, because from what you have writen, it is obvious you are a strong girl and you can make it! I am proud of you, because you are dealing so well with all the stress and all the things happening around you. I know how hard it can be not to slip into old routines when times get rough, but you certainly can do it 🙂

  3. I can completely relate! Like you summed my life up perfectly in this post.
    SInce uni, i have been doing so much better with not counting calories( just don’t have time), and consuming more to meet my nutritional needs. Like I can now order a green tea latte and an oatmeal cookie from the cafe without knowing the exact calories and fitting them in perfectly to my ‘daily intake’. But once something hard(like failing a midterm) happens, I start getting those urges to restrict and exersize like a maniac. Sorry for the ramble! But your defs not alone in this. I really like the last paragraph you wrote! I need to read that everyday. 🙂

  4. I love everything about this post. I was having a bad day eating wise today. I desperately wanted to go back to restricting when I couldn’t control certain situations. But instead I ate what I actually felt like eating and I baked something I’d been wanting to make for a while.
    Just know your not alone. I’m still waiting for the time to come when food doesn’t occupy my thoughts so much.

  5. Your posts are always so inspiring,girl!
    I so much admire your ability to SEE and PUT INTO WORDS what others are unable to see when stress & pressure become overwhelming: The fact that if we stay strong & just give our best,somehow,we’ll manage even the toughest situations – and in the end,there will always be brighter days again. 🙂
    Keep fighting,I know you’re strong enough to do it!

  6. This is such a great post – it’s so true! Breaking habits is so difficult, and some days they come creeping back in. I think we all deal with that! We have to be strong though and remember that every day is a new day and every day is going to be a battle – but we can win!

  7. What a poignant post! I think this speaks to your strength and self-awareness. Breaking old habits takes a serious commitment and dedication I think, and the self-awareness you have already will really help with that commitment. Keep us updated!

  8. I started looking at your blog (I’m not familiar with the whole blog thing) because I initially did a key word google search to find out if there was any information out there on the difference between coping mechanism and addiction, and up came your ideas – very insightful!! Anyway, I started looking over your whole site of postings and WOW! I am hooked. I’ve just skimmed it now but I get the gist. I am way past college (university) but I find your struggles, and experiences so universal and your expression and thinking so insightful – WOW! Awesome use of words and photos! I am learning a lot from you. Great medium – thank you for sharing! You are what the world needs more of – stay cool!


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