I am thrilled to announce today, in my usual Monday weekly summary post, I have made it through 21 days with no sugar, flour, or wheat! Twenty-one days is significant for several reasons. I have never made it that far in this abstinence program, which I have tried many times. Twenty-one days creates a full 3 weeks, meaning I have exactly 10 days left of my 31 Days to Food Addiction Recovery. But most importantly, 21 days is the amount of time it takes for a new habit to form…
In his book, Psycho-Cybernetics, psychologist Dr. Maxwell Maltz writes:
“It usually requires a minimum of about 21 days to effect any perceptible change in a mental image. Following plastic surgery it takes about 21 days for the average patient to get used to his new face. When an arm or leg is amputated the “phantom limb” persists for about 21 days. People must live in a new house for about three weeks before it begins to “seem like home”. These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”
I know I have changed a great deal over the last 3 weeks. I wish I could say I don’t think about dessert, bread, and all of the other delicious carbs I have abstained from for what seems like eternity. I can’t. It is a conscious choice to walk past the mints in the church lobby. Grabbing a piece of those little red and white striped candies and popping it in my mouth before (and after) every service was a fully ingrained habit. That habit, of course, did not take 21 days to acquire. My bad habits always seem to form almost immediately.
I went out to lunch with my family yesterday. They all got these little cookie concoctions called pazookies. I was jealous. Very jealous. Not enough to make me order one of my own, or even take a bite from one of theirs. I know, just as I was never a one drink kind of girl, I am not a one bite of dessert kind of girl. I felt really strong at the table. Pushed myself away smugly as we finished our meal. Walked out of the building and fell off a curb. All the way to the ground! See it as you will, but I must have been on some kind of contact high…
I stood up, brushed off the last of that smug pride, and laughed with my husband and kids all the way to the car. I am far from invincible. Twenty-one days does not mean I am fully recovered. It does not equal “sobriety” from sugar, flour, and wheat. My journey is far from over.
Please continue joining me over the next 10 days as I finish up this incredibly difficult, enlightening, and rewarding adventure. You are greatly appreciated and the reason I have made it this far.