Breaking An Eating Habit Is Like Breaking Any Habit

When did sleeping stop being so easy?

When did sleeping stop being so easy?

It is not like me to go so long between posts, but I have been busy working on breaking a habit myself!  Yes, I too am human and have things to work on.

Overeating is not my issue, in fact at present, my eating tendencies are quite the opposite.  Life has thrown a curve ball, as it can be expected to do from time to time, and this one has put me into a more “nerved up” frame of mind than usual.  For someone who really enjoys food, it has been a different experience actually trying to make myself eat more.  (I am not looking for weight loss.)

The habit I’ve gotten into is having difficulty sleeping.  Similar to eating habits people try to change, it is really no surprise to me that placing too much resistance on a problem actually makes it more difficult to change it.  While I know that lying in bed worrying about falling asleep does not work, it is very hard not to get on that hamster wheel of thinking.

If you could listen to my thoughts, they probably sound something like this, “I’m not sleeping.  I should be sleeping.  If I don’t get to sleep soon, I won’t get enough sleep.  If I don’t get enough sleep, I will be useless tomorrow . . . and crabby.”  If I catch myself thinking these thoughts, there is an additional tendency to keep layering on about my lack of ability to stop this thinking:  “I should be able to be mindful, relax, be here, and stop judging.”  (This is a judgment itself.)

I am beginning to take notice of the layering.  This alone is starting to help.  Just noticing, not judging the fact that I am layering more judgments on top of judgements.

That is, of course, the goal:  to observe without judgment, but it can be oh so hard to do.  As I said, this is my challenge, and I am making progress.  When I notice it’s going on, I try to breathe and let thoughts go instead of resisting them.  Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.  “How interesting!” is the response I’m aiming for when judgments flow in and out, as opposed to “I must not think that.”

I am trying to be grateful for the practice.  After all, who would do this if they didn’t have to?!  The same applies to eating challenges.  If you struggle with frequent out-of-control moments with food, try to notice the judgments – just notice, don’t judge the judgments (just more layering).  See what happens.  I know . . . judging ourselves comes so naturally, doesn’t it?  But thinking patterns can be changed; it just takes (lots and lots) of practice.

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