Starting a good habit requires a whole lot of discipline, but stopping a bad one requires a whole new understanding.
It begs us to approach our behavior from a more holistic sense. To explore all of the feelings and thoughts behind our actions.
Kicking sugar, for example is an exceedingly difficult task. No matter how many diets and workouts and cleanses and new year’s resolutions we attempt, the world’s most addictive white powder always finds its way back into our bodies.
Unless we learn to expand our understanding of, and relationship to, the habit of consuming it.
In my experience, the physical act of eating sugar was merely one step on a larger unhealthy continuum.
First, there was the sugar craving. Which wasn’t so much hunger as it was an avoidance of my feelings. Soothing myself with an external coping mechanism. A quick and cheap and easy way to escape from healthy emotional regulation.
Then, there was the sugar acquisition. Which centered around the ritual. The score. That was the real high. The anticipation. As my favorite author once said, the best part about having an affair is going up the stairs.
Next, there was the sugar consumption. Physically eating the stuff. Which activated my neurotransmitters, but also activated my codependent tendencies to please people and win their attention. Eating sugar not only created happiness for me, but created happiness for my family and friends too.
Which lead to the most insidious step of all, the sugar internalization. Beating myself up for having a moment of weakness and giving into my unhealthy habit. Plus a nice sprinkling of body image shame for good measure.
And finally, there was the sugar digestion. Headaches and stomach pains and the sudden desire to take a nap. Which, in itself, made me dislike myself even more.
Whew. What a journey. Who knew one man’s relationship with sugar had so many layers of thoughts and feelings behind it?
But what’s interesting is, once I took the time to parse out the psychology, once I understood the motivation behind my bad habit, I was finally able to break it.
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That Guy with the Nametag
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