Weighty Matters

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An Off Switch

A long time ago, I talked about sometime feeling as if my motivation had an on/off switch when I used to diet.  Unfortunately, it was always like someone or something else flicked that switch to the Off position and, just like that, my motivation disappeared.  It was never easy to turn it back on again.

In terms of my eating disorder, I used to long for a different switch, one that could instantly turn off the compulsion, the eating urges, but before I reached for food.  Honestly, when the disease is raging, there is virtually no impulse control.  A package will be open and food already in my mouth or in my stomach before any thoughts of, “No.  Stop.  Don’t eat that” swim anywhere near my conscious mind.  It sucks when the awareness kicks in after the food is swallowed and I think, “I shouldn’t have eaten that.”  Still, that’s the nature of the disease.

I also used to wish that someone would invent a sensor or a chip that emitted a jolt, a sound, a buzz, anything really, to snap me out of the compulsion if I was even tempted to eat on impulse.  It would have to work something like one of those invisible fences people install around their properties to keep their dogs at home.  Now there’s an image — me walking around, wearing a collar with a gizmo that jolted me whenever I got in range of inappropriate food.  I’m not sure how I would designate food as inappropriate.  I can’t exactly install invisible fencing around the rest of the world, or at least the rest of my world.

Such are the useless musings of a compulsive overeater.  In reality, awareness and the ability to put on the brakes on my own compulsive disease aren’t things that can be triggered by switches or microchips.  Awareness is a learned skill.  It goes back to mindfulness with a healthy shot of strong program.  It involves developing a healthy obsession, not with food, but with that eating behavior.  Working a program, putting time and energy – mental energy – into it are all necessary actions.  I can’t phone in the effort.  There’s no remote control.  I have to always do the work.  In program terms, it means being willing to go to any lengths to achieve recovery.

I can be my own off switch.

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