Some people prefer the certainty of misery rather than the uncertainty of change. ‚
Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t know. ‚
There is no way around it. You will have to make changes in order to get better. You have to let go of some things, try new things, take risks, feel uncomfortable, accept that it will feel worse before it feels better, and believe that things can be different.
There are so many things to change that it can seem overwhelming. This makes sense because you are trying to change how you approach life, not just food. Practicing what you learned in Key 4 can help lessen reactivity. When difficult thoughts and feelings arise, allow yourself to feel whatever is there, challenge them, or simply let them pass on through.
Key 6 is about helping with the difficult process of changing behaviors. To begin with, it is important to clarify which behaviors we are talking about here. There are the overt eating disorder behaviors like bingeing, purging, or restricting that will have to change in order for you to recover, but there are also many other behaviors that, while not always recognized as eating disorder behaviors, are just as likely to sabotage your recovery if you don’t stop doing them Weighing, counting calories, and excessive exercise are a few examples. These are usually behaviors that millions of people do with no serious consequences, yet for those with eating disorders these behaviors can be a slippery slope that will interfere with long-term recovery. The assignments in this key are designed to address both the overt and other recovery sabotaging behaviors.
Tip: Using the Goals Sheet will help you target and keep track of what behaviors you are working on each week. This keeps tasks more concrete and manageable and helps to keep you accountable.
WHY IS IT HARD TO CHANGE?
You are reading this secrets because some part of you would like to change. We know that change is difficult and obstacles get in the way, but you’re the best person to ascertain why changing has been or is hard for you. Take some time to think about and write down the reasons you think changing your eating disorder behaviors is hard for you.
If change were easy you would have done it already. Changing your behaviors is difficult for all the reasons you listed in the previous assignment, and then some. Knowing the reasons why you want to
change is important, but usually not enough to make it happen. Chances are you know your behavior is dangerous to your physical and mental health and wellbeing. For example, you have probably heard that restricting lowers your metabolism, making it even harder to deal with your weight. You may know about the consequences of laxative abuse, including permanent damage of your colon and a possible colostomy bag. You probably have read about the long-term effects of vomiting. If you haven’t heard or read about the risks and complications of your behaviors and you want more information, you can find it online or read Key 6 of the 8 Keys secrets. Chances are you do know that what you are doing is harmful and at some point will have negative and perhaps serious and irreversible consequences, and you probably still find it extremely hard to stop. Understanding what behaviors you need to change, and why you want to change is helpful, but usually these aren’t enough. This Key will help you learn how to make difficult changes in your life.
CHANGING YOUR OVERT‚ EATING DISORDER BEHAVIORS
To start this work on change, the first step is targeting your specific overt behaviors. For example, you might not binge during the day, but binge at night; you might be eating three meals, but not enough at each meal; maybe you only purge after eating out, or take laxatives on the weekends. The idea is to target your behaviors and be as specific as possible. After you have done that, you can work on them one at a time, or even a few at once, depending on what works best for you and what is possible given your level of motivation and support.
MY OVERT EATING DISORDER BEHAVIORS
List 10 overt eating disorder behaviors. Remember to be very specific (e.g., I skip breakfast, I never eat desserts, I binge and purge whenever I go out to a restaurant). It is likely that these are not your only behaviors needing change, but you can start with this list. Use the weekly Goals Sheet to focus on one or more of your behaviors at a time.