Okay, so if you follow me, you may have noticed that I changed the name of my blog again. Acknowledged. And, we are just going to leave it at that. If you know me, you’ll figure it out.
I wanted to comment on a new acronym I learned from a friend who is in recovery: H.A.L.T., which stands for hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Sidebar: I am fascinated by addiction and recovery for myriad reasons. One, I own that I have addict-like behavior where food is concerned. I spent the better part of my adult life medicating with sugar/fat and white flour. Two, I have lived with and loved an addict. Three, I think the majority of us are addicts in some form or shape, we just use different substances/behaviors to mask our pain– some people shop, some people take risks or have affairs, some people medicate with food, some people have addictive behavior associated with religion, and the list is endless….
So, I learned that people in recovery use this acronym as a gauge to determine how susceptible they might be to using/falling into addict-like behavior[s]. If you are experiencing at least two of these at any given moment, then you are at risk for relapse. If you have more than 2, you might need to call your sponsor or head to a meeting.
I have been working on losing weight and gaining optimal health [with the goal of ultimately leaving behind my addictive relationship with food] since October. I am experiencing success. It’s up and down, but it’s success nonetheless. I have had some planned cheats, admittedly some of these turned into snowball situations. And, I have also had some times when I just went suddenly AWOL for no apparent reason. Obviously, I continue to have addict style behaviors where food is concerned. Reflection upon those times where I have gone off the end of a cliff so to speak, shows that I indeed was experiencing at least two of these four apocalyptic horsemen each time I derailed. Angry is sometimes just frustrated or irritable. Tired is a big trigger for me. Lonely is a no brainer- I rarely go off a cliff with witnesses. Hungry, well, when you’re trying to head off a diet catastrophe, hunger would certainly be a big factor.
TSFL is a plan that helps by making sure that you keep your blood sugar stable and that you eat small and very frequent ‘meals’ [I understand that it's a stretch to call them meals]. It is also a plan that focuses heavily on community. Having a coach and a community of support goes a long way to keeping me from becoming lonely and I know that I have people I can call on at any time to talk me off a ledge or alter my perception in a positive way. I am finding out as I go along, that sleep is more important than I ever imagined. Research shows that getting less sleep can increase your appetite and make you actually consume more calories. My motivation and energy wane when I get less than 6 hours of sleep a night, especially over a period of time. Luckily, this plan and its mild ketosis offers extra energy, but I have to be careful not to get tricked into thinking I don’t need my 7+ hours of sleep a night. Anger, I have found, retreats during times of mild ketosis and I get into a calm zen state, however, whenever I do choose to cheat and go out of ketosis, I know that I will deal with anger/frustration/irritability again as I walk through that tough place between eating off plan and going back in to ketosis. Those have been some of my most trying moments.
So, remember H.A.L.T. whatever your addiction might be. Keep yourself nourished– physically and spiritually. Stay in community and relationship with others. Have strategies to deal with anger and frustrations when they arise. Love yourself. <3