On the last day of school, I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to eat a treat and stay up late. After all, the Armendariz family had made it through an entire school year of me being back to work as a teacher, Jovani in vet school, and the girls rocking their elementary grades. We crossed the finish line and I was so grateful and thankful that we were all still intact.
However, I have begun to really question strong emotional cravings to eat and drink. I’ve noticed, that if there is a strong emotional connection to eating or drinking something then I am highly likely to fall into a binge. So, I stepped back and asked myself, what I really needed.
The answer was two things: I wanted a break and I wanted to commemorate our success as a family.
We often associate our unhealthy habits with only negative emotions, but I know from experience that positive emotions will drive us to dive in as well. I recently heard another life coach, Katrina Ubell, explain this using a snow globe analogy. She said that our world is like a snow globe and many things will shake things up. Our brain likes to quiet things down, masking or muting those feelings. Our brain is uncomfortable with extreme happiness or excitement and will use the numbing experience of a dopamine hit to take the edge off. Crazy, right? So, it is completely common and expected for our brain to offer us food or alcohol to numb that excited feeling of celebrating.
You can do what I did, ask yourself what you would like a celebration to give to you. I ended up going to bed early and then writing a commemorative blog first thing the next morning. Both those activities served to quiet my thoughts and emotions while still feeling like I was celebrating and taking care of myself well.
I still believe that some activities naturally fall into our cultural traditions for celebration. God even commanded that there be feasts and celebrations throughout the Jewish calendar. However, if something is causing you to fall into temptation, it is good to pause and find another way to celebrate. In Matthew 5:30, NIV, Jesus said, “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” If a celebration activity is causing you to stumble on the way to better health, perhaps you should consider a better way to celebrate.
Journal prompt: When you celebrate, what are you hoping to accomplish and how do you want to feel? Is it possible to do this in a way that doesn’t involve the habit you are trying to take a break from?
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.