Day 60: The power of a compelling reason

Woo hoo! 60 days alcohol free. Now to do the last 40 without alcohol or sugar. Day 1 without both.

I literally don’t know how many times I have tried to cut sugar out of my life. I was 11 the first time and 41 the last time. Neither can I tell you how many times I’ve said, “This time it’s different“. This time isn’t different.  This time I am different.

Over the years, food became an obsession – one that led to an eating disorder I didn’t completely break free from until more than two decades later. One of the reasons it took so long was that every time I tried to cut sugar, I’d end up right back where I started, my mental health in tatters and another nail in the coffin of my self-belief.

I made my peace with the fact that my mental health was too fragile and the best I could hope to do was moderate my intake of ‘bad’ foods. If I wanted to stay sane, I simply couldn’t live an all-out healthy life. After listening to the audio book, “Change your Brain, Change your Life”, I began to suspect that sugar (and alcohol) was responsible for the problems I was experiencing with energy, memory and concentration so I decided to try one last time to cut it out. Only a couple of days in, I felt the Bulimia gremlin wake and I knew I wouldn’t manage. It just wasn’t worth going back to that madness.

Yet, here I am, two years later, doubt-free about my ability to succeed and the reason is the reason. I know that looks like a typo. It isn’t. The reason I am strong this time is because I have a reason for doing it that isn’t about the food.

I’ve spent months working out what’s important to me, what kind of person I want to be and how I’d like all the pieces of my life to fit together. These things are all part of the “Design” facet of the Habit Cube I wrote about on Day 57.

Here are a few things I wanted in my design:

  • The kind of mental health that allows me to experience balanced moods, choose my reactions and express myself well no matter what the situation.
  • Wake up feeling energetic and looking forward to the day.
  • Create a business I love and that adds value to other people who want to improve their lives.

Making my mental health the priority meant facing it, understanding it and listening to the gremlins. Alcohol was massively detrimental to that process – and it did nothing for for my energy levels or my commitment to getting the new business of the ground. It had to go.

But brain gremlins are tricky little suckers! Before I knew it, sugar had taken the place of alcohol and my progress stalled. My energy and moods weren’t much better than before I gave up alcohol and, in the evenings, I was eating a lot more because I ‘had extra calories’ to play with. I’m still not waking up with much energy. So, of course, it had to go.

And since this time the goal is to draw the gremlin out, I’m not afraid of it happening. It’s time for us to meet face to face.

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