I Just Can’t Stop

I’ve heard it lots of times – “I’m addicted to my phone. I just can’t stop.”

Well, I hear myself say that about eating junk foods. I’ve come to accept these are tolerable for me only in small measured amounts; foods that are high glycemic, carbs and/or calories. Sad.

I tried the illusionary thinking that I was different. My body didn’t process foods as other people did. Then I tried denial, that I wasn’t actually eating all that much, that often. I never went to an unhealthy diet of such things as grapefruit, bacon, no carb, etc. I just didn’t think that was good for me, nor sustainable.

Another try was to think of it as an addiction. Each time I reached for a food item I knew was not what I should be doing, I thought, “I’m addicted. I just can’t stop.”

For me, that was the worst of my efforts to have a healthy relationship with food. Once I declared it an addiction, I absolved myself of responsibility for my behaviour. By definition, I had no control. Therefore I couldn’t do anything towards achieving my goal.

Phew! That was easy – not.

I needed to go back over my behaviour and realize I had not YET, controlled it to my satisfaction. That thought pattern was more encouraging. Now, where could I exercise control?

Looking along the chain of actions that ultimately left me addicted to the chocolate, in the back of the kitchen cupboard, hidden from everyone but myself, I started at the beginning. Naturally.

When I was in the store and reviewing my shopping list, I stopped putting it on my list. Over 50% of shoppers who go down the chocolate aisle will buy an item of chocolate. Impromptu purchasing of food I didn’t want to buy, was risky. So going up and down aisles when shopping needs to change to be more thoughtful about which aisles I visited.

Next, I consciously thought when I did end up in front of the chocolates, that if I picked some up, I was halfway to taking it home. Indeed, if I got home with it, I was going to eat it at some time.

It was pretty evident that I was doomed to fail if I picked up the chocolate item in the first place. Even to just nobly check out the nutritional information, it was not going to end well.

I continue to struggle, but I hold myself accountable for my actions.

Why not give a bit of a think. Identify a pattern of behaviour you have struggled to change or eliminate. Think about “not YET” as a timeframe. The future possibility can give you courage. Then look at the string of moments of thought or behaviour that helped you end up where you didn’t want to be.

Commit to changing at least one of those moments. Be genuine in your effort. Accept the victories of success with quiet joy and accept the occasional defeat as a reframed training experience. Are there some tweaks to your change that will help you be successful next time?

Oh, yes, about that cell phone addiction that I started with, you can use your older adult or senior living experience. You can help others in your life to move away from the obstacle of addiction to a self-empowering mindset.

My thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

The Blog – for those with a curious spirit.
Glenn Walmsley
Volunteer Blogger

6 thoughts on “I Just Can’t Stop

  1. John Walmsley says:

    Thanks for your insight in expanding the envelope of addictions. I never thought I had any addictions, but I do like chocolates, licorice and my computer, so maybe they could be classified as something “I can’t stop.”

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