Question: What was the most discouraging time or event for you and what did you do to push through?
All of my discouraging moments, be they small or big, were at my own hands. My most discouraging moments were when I displayed old behavior patterns concerning food. I'd go a few months without binge eating and think, "Yay, I'm cured!" Then a tough week followed by a killer menstrual period, Mercury in retrograde, or a terrible hospital visit for Charlie or other normal life event would catapult me back into a bowl of ice cream or four.
When I was spiraling, my first step was to ask myself only one question. "What do I really need right now?" The answer was never four bowls of ice cream. The answer was always something else: some fresh air to clear my head, better sleep, a hug, a phone conversation with my mom, etc. Step two was always to go get the thing I really need. But step two is difficult, because it usually involved asking someone for help, which for most people (especially women who are pretending to be supermom - that's me) is very difficult.
Eating an entire pint (or before the smaller sarah year - a 1/2 gallon) of mint chip alone after the kids have gone to bed is easy and immediate. No one has to see and I don't have to ask for help. Asking my husband for an extra hour to myself or for a friend to watch my kids for 30 minutes is difficult and takes forethought.
So how do you bridge the time between the impulse to binge (or other vice) and the relief of a planned respite? That's tough. This might not work for everyone, but here is the usual progression for me:
1. Feel the discouraging moment.
2. Feel the impulse to eat something bad for me.
3. Answer the question, "What do I really need right now".
4. Immediately make a plan to get what I need.
Making a plan to get what I need is usually two-fold. I journal most every day, so I sit down and write about how I am feeling and what I need. Then I make a phone call (during the daylight hours) or write an email (if it was a midnight attack of the munchies) asking for help. This is why it is SO important to participate in a supportive community. No one has ever responded with an outright "no". If they can't help immediately by having a cup of coffe with me or watching my kids for a spell, they usually offer something else at a different time. Knowing that relief is coming makes the discouraging moments more manageable. Does this mean I never falter because I have my "trusty" system in place? No, of course not. But those moments are far and few in between. And in the process of asking for help, I've solidified and strengthened my relationships. And I have been able to return the favor for them! That reciprocal energy boosts my mood and makes me feel great and means I experience fewer discouraging moments in the long run.