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Lexie's Journal

Lexie struggles with her weight but is learning how to trust her body again with Am I Hungry?

Habit vs. addiction
Posted on 02/04/2007 @ 4:59 PM

The past few days have been very rough. Although I can't say that I've enjoyed them I can say that I am learning a lot about myself. I had my last cigarette 5 days ago. I was shocked at how many situations I associated with smoking and how many times I simply forgot that I had quit smoking and I reached for my cigarettes over and over again. I also realized the difference between "addiction" and "habit". I've read books before that talked about food addictions, and books that suggested that there is no such thing. I wasn't sure what I thought personally. Now I know the answers for myself. Weight-Watcher's talks about "red light foods." These are foods that when you eat them you always over-eat them and that you shouldn't buy these foods or have them in your house. I don't think there are really "red light FOODS" but "red light SITUATIONS." If you always eat a certain type of food when you feel a certain feeling or are in a certain situation perhaps it's the situation that causes you to over-eat and not the food. OR perhaps eating too much of that food has just become habit, and is not a desire or addiction. Even though I knew this and there were situations when I recognized the "habits" of over-eating, in general I think I still "blamed" the food and not the situation or emotion. Even though I stopped journaling my food intake when I stopped Weight Watchers, I think it might be a good idea to get back into journaling the situations and physical and emotional feelings I'm having when I eat or crave foods. With quitting smoking there were sooo many situations that I associated with smoking that I didn't even THINK about. It wasn't that I was truly "craving" a cigarette; it was that these were the times that I smoked when we were out and about. Every evening since I quit I've been having a very very hard time at about 10:30-11pm. I would get to the point where I was climbing the walls wanting a cigarette. It took me four days to realize that was happening about the same time that my patch was losing it's effect. THAT was the addiction part. By observing these difficult times I was able to see where I needed to change my thoughts and behavors in a way that would help me make the healthiest decisions. It also makes the process easier because it's it is more "trial and error" than trying to make the changes blindly. As I realized how much of my smoking was habit I also realized that there are probably a lot MORE eating habits in my life than what I've already identified. I can change my habits. Resources:

Michelle May M.D.

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