How (bad) habit starts

“Habits are formed by repetition of particular acts” – Mortimer J Adler

My relationship with food hasn’t been very good since 2015.

What so special about 2015? It was the year when I moved from my hometown, Indonesia to The Netherlands, left my job for a master study, and moved from a long lasting sunshine country to a rainy place with gloomy cloud for almost 2/3 of the year.

This move changed my eating pattern: I have never cooked before and suddenly needed to make my own meal (hell yeah – couldn’t effort eating out all time as a student), I used to have a quite strict regime on when to eat what and suddenly that disappeared (how come? wasn’t sure!), the food types and tastes also changed. I am not sure if all those might or might not contribute to my relationship crisis but I know my relationship with food had changed since then.

I can’t remember how it started but it was started slowly AND silently. I never consciously noticed what’s changed until one day it just hit me. The physical impact was easy to notice: I gained few kgs during the first year but that was not the point. I was not over weight and since I love being active, I still went for my regular exercises – so gaining weight was just a physical impact. There was a more fundamental issue back then: I didn’t know how to stop eating.

I remember vividly that I used to buy a half loaf of bread and it lasted for few days during the first few months of my life there. Then – boom! at one point, I could eat the whole loaf at one go. (I love bread. Moving to a country that makes good bread was like heaven for me but I’m sure that’s not why). I also remember that somehow I would make a second round of pasta after I finished the first one because I didn’t feel satisfied (mainly due to the taste, maybe, not the size!). And without me realising, it started to happen for every meal. I just didn’t notice these changes but it happened.

It happened for one day, then one week, then one month, then one year….

I just grabbed something else after I ate my main meal. I couldn’t feel enough only after one plate of food. I started again and again and again taking another plate after the first one. I couldn’t stop.

And that’s how my bad habit started. Habit that eventually led to an unhealthy relationship with food. I could just binge for hours, lost control over myself, then obviously felt sad about it. It ate me inside, it still eat me inside every time that happen.

I – as a human being – was so easy to fall into the same loop, again and again, especially when I didn’t do thing consciously. I just acted repeatedly, conscious with carefully thinking in the beginning and eventually became an automatic response. That’s just how we are designed as a human being.

All those changes in my life triggered some changes on my behaviours. It became a pattern that I unconsciously repeated again and again…. and it was how my bad habit started.

 

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