Sunday, September 13, 2009

Want to Change Your Eating Habits? Try a 12 Step Program!

I have to say that AA’s 12-Step Program could come in handy as we try to change how we eat.

As is the case for anyone struggling with alcoholism, there is a recovery aspect to learning to eat well. That’s because as we change our eating patterns, emotional cues pop up that would pull us right back to a diet heavily laced with sugar, salt and sugar.

Like a shot of Jack Daniels, or a drag on a cigarette, there’s that momentary feeling that once you slurp from a boat of ice cream and chocolate syrup, or sink your teeth into a plateful of greasy, barbequed buffalo wings, you’re among “friends.”

Why’s that? Because there’s a comfort in the familiar, and what’s unfamiliar is uncomfortable. The familiar territory is the land of processed foods. Along with sugar, salt and fat, they also have chemical additives to create or enhance virtually any flavor. It’s a fool’s culinary paradise!

There’s also that aspect of routine ~ something we’ve gotten so used to ~ we feel uncomfortable if we do things differently, like drinking water instead of soda pop, or fixing a veggie plate instead of a meal, or not eating until we’re stuffed.

It’s a big part of what we as a culture DO. We work, EAT, and sleep.

But like any dysfunctional habit, we come by it honestly. It’s reinforced through TV commercials, billboards, radio ads and restaurant menus, and a plethora of other prompts.

And like any other dysfunctional habit, it helps distance us from who we are. Our feelings clue us as to what’s authentic and what’s not, and indulging in the addictive elements of food keep us stuck in the “same old, same old.”

The insight here is to realize that, just as in the case of alcoholism, there is no personal indictment here, so shame is totally out of place ~ besides being disabling and non-productive.

There is a connection between our relationship wtih food and our relationship with ourselves. Make just one change in what you drink or eat by replacing it with a food choice in its natural state. It could be as simple as drinking water instead of soda pop.

And if that feels uncomfortable, you’re probably headed in the right direction!

1 comment:

Sheri said...

This post reminds me of what my yoga instructor says, "small incremental changes lead to bigger changes -- both on the mat and in life."

Thanks for your thought-provoking (and hopefully action-provoking) post.