We all have one.
A run clock.
We begin a new phase in our lives. That phase can be one of many things: A relationship, a job, training a dog or school. As soon as the phase begins, the clock begins to tick. Inexorably it draws nearer the time when the alarm sounds and we run.
My run clock is attached to dieting. The moment I begin, I know that it is set. Ticking, numbering the moments as time passes. A second An hour. A day. A week. The time flows together as the time for my alarm gets closer.
My diet run clock is about three months. As I reach this phase of a diet, it runs out. My alarm sounds and all hell breaks loose. I begin eating badly. Slowly, at first. A treat here, a snack there. Then it is a meal that I know will harm me. Then it is two, then a day, two days, a week. All the while I am telling myself that it is really okay... That this is temporary and not doing me any real harm. That I will get back on track, for the next meal or the next day. Or Monday. Because now it is the weekend and I might as well just enjoy it before I get serious, again.
Monday keeps receding into the distance and the weight begins to come back on. I tell myself it is okay. It is just a few pounds, I certainly haven't gained back all I lost, so I can get back on track. Back on my diet, lose these few pounds and just keep on going down. I have it all under control.
More days pass.
Then more weeks.
And in a few months or perhaps a little longer, here I sit, having gained it all back. And despairing of what I did to myself and fantasizing about how much better off I would have been if I hadn't allowed this to happen, once again.
My run clock ran out the other day. I heard the alarm as I woke from a troubled, broken sleep and stumbled out to my kitchen to make coffee. For a brief time, I considered falling back into my old destructive habit. I have lost some weight. I can treat myself for a bit, then get right back on my diet.
As I drank my coffee and the caffeine flooded my brain and woke me up, I came to the understanding that this time, I wasn't answering the alarm. That while I could hear it, I wasn't jumping up and running.
Why? Why didn't my run clock send me down the road and into my old patterns, again? It's simple.
I'm not on a diet.
I just eat different, now. I have formed a new pattern. And with time, it is becoming more firmly set in. It is slowly, steadily becoming hard wired into my brain. My patterns are rewriting themselves. My internal hard drive is rebooting.
I don't feel the panic, the urgency, the absolute thinking that dragged me, as the alarm pealed in my head over the cliff and into the morass of disordered thinking and eating. I stopped hearing the alarm. Last night? This morning? Some time. I am not sure exactly when I reached out and shut it off. I just know that it is off and my run clock is still. I am on track and level.
Right now, I am at peace.