For Christmas 2018, I made a dozen or so hampers filled with goodies for closest friends and family. Throughout this process, and during the Christmas period itself, not a morsel of Christmas food passed my lips. I was very pleased that this had been possible for me – definitely a first. I think subconsciously I then began to wonder if all the efforts I had made regarding the avoidance of certain foods had just been a load of nonsense.
On to 2019
During 2019, I danced an uncomfortable dance with the experimentation of introducing the occasional ‘treat’ into my diet. For a while I ‘got away’ with the odd sugary or wheaty snack, but there was a gradual sense of destabilisation, and old habits of food dependence began to creep in. And this was in the middle of developing and running the Light Life Living course; nothing like living dangerously, running a course on your own core issues!
The reality of addiction
I am no scientist, though I am very interested in having things backed up by scientific evidence. This gives me a sense of security and ‘rightness’. It may take me some time, however, to fully embrace the efficacy of some things. EFT Tapping was one of those things; the reality of food addiction is another.
There is a mixture of shame and relief in acknowledging and admitting that one is an addict. Any member of a 12 step programme will tell you that. The substances that I struggle with are sugar and flour, and I need to be watchful with dairy products, particularly cheese and yogurt.
Christmas 2019 and The Relapse
Fast forward to Christmas 2019. After the end of the first running of our Light Life Living programme, personal events for me reached a high intensity. Interestingly, not all the events were ‘bad’; the highs of life can be just as destabilising to a helpful personal routine as the lows. In any case, there started to be some more significant food ‘slippage’. For me, walking my dog up to 5 miles a day tends to counter small ‘lapses’, lulling me into a false sense of security. This time, however, I suddenly noticed that clothes were that tiny bit tighter, and on reflection I realised that old, unhelpful habits had crept in.
Firstly, I had stopped daily tapping. Secondly, I had started having sugar again, and had got to the stage where the habit had stuck. I was eating between meals. I would wait until the house was empty, and anticipate eating something tasty and satisfying in secret. Sound familiar? It was only a small step from there for me to start eating Christmas food (in the freezer from last Christmas!), including Christmas pudding, mince pies, brandy butter and Christmas cake. Wheat, sugar and fat laden.
My mood dipped. My gut was uncomfortable. My joints became painful (for me an inevitable consequence of eating wheat). My sleep was shot. The self-hatred that had dogged me for years began to re-emerge.
Return to my New Normal
I am now back on an even keel. The first thing I did to get there was to start tapping again. Just a couple of minutes in the bathroom in the middle of the night. That was enough to turn the tide, and I started to put back into practice the things that are key for me to keep life in balance.
Getting real with my addictive substances. There are genuine chemical components in my substances of choice that assume control if I consume them.
Committing to 2 days of no sugar, no flour, no cheese, no snacks. Experience tells me that it seems to take me 48 hours to get things out of my system, after which calmness resumes.
Doing one day of writing a food journal.
Writing lists of achievable tasks.
Clearing the cupboards of unhelpful food.
Key learnings and taking action
Looking back, there have been some key learnings for me. As I move forward into 2020, I have been reflecting on the nature of addiction (are we all addicted to something, I wonder?). Emma and I are very pleased that we are adding 2 modules to our live programme to address this.
My Tapping Action Plan:-
Some ideas you may like to implement if they resonate for you.
The behaviours I learned were there for a very good reason, and I have much to be grateful for in that.
Tapping on what the addictive behaviours get for me.
Addiction is real.
Tapping on the chemical reactions in my body and the addiction identity
I am in this for the long haul.
Tapping on the addiction identity and the consequences of allowing change.
I cannot rush the recovery process. I am a unique individual with unique circumstances and cannot fit into somebody else’s mould.
Tapping on “being enough”. After all, I’m the only Me there is.
A ‘relapse’ can be celebrated! After all, in real terms, a lapse is just the information that there is more work to be done.
Tapping on allowing relapse and the next stage of recovery.
Taking manageable action that is right for me. It may not be what all the gurus say is the right course, but there is something very empowering about taking charge of your own destiny.
Tapping on taking action that is congruent and real for me.
Ask for help if you need to. Find trusted support.
Tapping on “I should be able to do this alone; after all, ‘normal’ people do.
Relax and be patient.
Tapping on others’ judgments.
Some useful links:-
Resources that have helped me in my own continuing recovery from food addiction.