You implemented No Contact or have been temporarily discarded (because Psychopaths almost always come back), and now you’ve got Pizza Hut on speed-dial, a stash of chocolate that would make Willie Wonka blush, a beer-can pyramid that would totally impress the Dos Equis guy (or maybe you’re considering melting all those wine bottles down into cheese trays), and you’ve set off the smoke alarm a few times from the excessive number of cigarettes you smoke while stalking your Ex on his or her Facebook page.
Welcome to the After-No Contact Diet. What? You thought you were the only one? Feeling a little sleazy because you go to bed every night with Ben and Jerry? Take it from a former Platinum award-holder in dirty martinis, your conundrum is not only common, we could probably create a whole new demographic for the United States Census.
Now that you can come out from behind that newspaper, let’s talk about five ways you can change your new-found dietary decadence before you land yourself in the ER.
- Don’t try to quit everything at once
Talk about setting yourself up for failure. Attempting to make too many simultaneous changes while suffering the already life-altering emotional trauma you’re enduring would be akin to walking a tight rope with an elephant on your shoulders.
Instead, pick one habit you won’t absolutely die without and work on quitting that one first. You can wean yourself or go cold-turkey, whatever works for you. However, a series of small, doable steps is typically the best approach when experiencing overwhelming stress. Celebrate your small victories (though perhaps not by eating that death-by-chocolate, triple chunk-walnut, super-sized ice cream tower)
- Quitting drinking greatly reduces your chances of making a bleating idiot of yourself
If you have fallen prey to drunk-dialing, 3 a.m. sentimental emails to the Ex and their new supply, or crying/collapsing/falling-asleep-in-your-front-yard-while-sucking-your-thumb episodes, you would do well to begin cutting back on the alcohol. If you can’t bear the thought of abrupt withdrawal, then instead of drinking the whole bottle of Shiraz, drink half instead. The following week, take it down to a glass. Then, see your family physician for a non-addictive anxiety medication…preferably one that takes effect as soon as possible. Lastly, incorporate guided meditations into your daily routine. Once you start feeling the Zen, you can stop the meds.
- Know that smoking may eventually cause spontaneous blindness
Not really, but it can cause a plethora of symptoms and diseases that could cause a spontaneous heart attack (or worse). I know I’m being Captain Obvious here, but if you want to be around for your kid’s graduation, your dog’s obedience school certification, or when the Karma bus stops in front of your Ex’s house, quitting smoking is absolutely critical.
Besides, you could use the extra money to pay for therapy sessions.
- Every time you engage in emotional eating, an angel loses its wings
…and that angel is you.
Narcissistic abuse already imbues us with cripplingly low self-esteem and gaining weight only amplifies the problem. If you feel the need to eat (which is really an act of self-soothing and trying to fill an emotional void), stock your shelves with foods you can eat in large quantities with little consequence. These might include: popcorn (try to avoid microwave brands), low-calorie soups, fruit pops, apricots, watermelon, rice crackers with wasabi peas, mountains of sautéed veggies, and kale chips.
(Sorry, I know you were hoping for rib eyes and Fritos).
- Know your triggers
Every habit is triggered by some event.
Smokers – Many people smoke after stress, drinking alcohol, or being around other smokers. Try to limit your exposure to these environmental stimuli. Additionally, here are some links to help you get started:
Drinkers – If you’re tired of waking up with the bouncer from that seedy dance club, stop going there. For a long time. Going to bars and clubs while trying to maintain No Contact is a disaster waiting to happen. Besides, you might run into the Ex and catapult yourself into another decade of psychosis.
On the other hand, when trying to implement a healthier lifestyle, go with the lesser of two evils until you get stronger. If eating half a bag of Hershey’s Kisses will help you put down the bottle, then go for it. You can work on changing your eating habits later.
Eaters – If you find yourself munching down while casually browsing your Ex’s social media, then the best course of action is to throw your laptop out of a moving vehicle (or at the very least, block your Ex and deactivate your social media accounts for a couple of months).
Hopefully, these tips will help empower you to break out of the After-No Contact Diet and start a new, healthy plan. Your stress levels need not rise, and your body and psyche will both thank you.
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