I feel like I have developed the ability to eat intuitively. I know that is basically an oxymoron, but that doesn’t negate the validity of my statement. Just like trying out for dragon boating and discovering that I have some talent for it, I finally found out that I am pretty good at making proper eating choices. Yet that does not mean that it is an innate mechanism. If I had never tried the sport I would have gone my whole life without knowing I could row, and – likewise – had I not focused on working towards my weight loss goals I would never have cultivated my aptitude for making healthy decisions about food.
I don’t think, however, that this scenario is the same for everyone. It seems that there are a lot of people who are fortunate enough to have more of a built-in disposition – something that comes very naturally to them – to never really overeat. Without getting into a debate on nature versus nurture, I believe that some of us have always had a harder time accessing those good habits when it comes to our food intake.
This is at the crux of one of my biggest frustrations and is the second half of why I think I binged the other day. When my mental stores are depleted I have a really hard time not wanting to return to my own natural state. For over thirty years I shoved whatever I wanted to in my gullet and didn’t worry about the consequences. That’s obviously oversimplifying things since I expended a lot of time, effort, and money on all sorts of different weight loss programs in the past, but it speaks honestly of my most basic behaviours when it came to food.
And that’s where a certain, twisted comfort lies. Wanting to do what comes naturally feels very uncomplicated. This? Being on this journey and relearning a lifetime of behaviors – while extremely rewarding and generally easier than I ever dreamed it might be – is still really hard. So in those few weakened moments, when I feel like the fight has completely gone out of me and my mind drifts to the ‘why bothers?’, I just want to feel normal.
What it boils down to is that I don’t want to have to think about it. I don’t need the stress or worry and I can certainly do without the self-admonishments if I find myself tempted to overindulge. So should I just give up?
It could be nice to retreat to my old ways. I think I might actually find some comfort still in eating mindlessly. It would be lovely to sit for days on end without worrying about exercise.
The one element that really gives me the answer to my question, though, is how I chuckled inside my own head when I wrote it out. There is no turning back. It’s not even an option. This is for life and there is no requirement of perfection nor for purity of thoughts. I will not be sent back to my obese cage just because of a little slip-up or for merely internally reminiscing about the numbing freedom that I imagined myself to previously have.
So, I will continue. It may not always be the clearest path – and, indeed, some obstacles may be harder to find my way around than others – but it is the right one. I know many people have used this trail before me, and countless more will tread it yet. Some travellers seem to navigate all the twists and turns without batting an eye and others veer off the main avenue and wander aimlessly for a time through the forest, either finding their way back eventually, discovering some other route to explore, or simply becoming lost amid the growth. For me, I hope to follow this road home. I may take a detour now and then, or perhaps just curl up and have a break before forging on, but ultimately I know that this is the path that will get me to where I need to go.