Once an addict, always an addict. Even if you get clean, you can’t let your guard down, or your inner addict will surface, enticing you with “It’s just a cookie.” “You could be playing with fire,” says Peeke. “The brain has a permanent memory and is primed to potentially overreact when you try a given food again after being abstinent. While some people may not be as reactive because their food addiction is mild, it’s best to be safe and avoid the foods you could binge on.”
To keep your recovery top of mind (and your addict brain in check), Peeke recommends having a visual reminder, like a bracelet inscribed with your reason for sticking with recovery. The reason could be your wanting to achieve your goal weight or run a 10K that’s coming up or sidestep diabetes. When you reach for a cookie or chips and that bracelet slides into view, “it’s a constant reminder to be on red alert at all times,” says Peeke. “When you’re just on a diet, either you’re on or you’re off. But when you’re in recovery, your work never stops—although it does get easier with practice.”
Photo courtesy of Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com
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