I've recently been looking into a new way to deal with addictions and compulsions, as explored by Rational Recovery. They talk about the part of you who will do anything for your drug of choice as the Beast brain. They are very different than the 12-Step movement, and I find it intriguing.
I've always felt like there were two parts of me: the rational intelligent Grown-up, and the lazy, stubborn, compulsive Brat. My Grown-up says, "Healthy food is great for us. Have these nice kale chips." The Brat says, "I want candy and junk food!" Grown-up says, "Exercise is fun and will make us look and feel amazing." The Brat says, "I want to play on the computer!" The Grown-up says, "Woah, look at these bills, better tighten our belts this month." My Brat says, "I want clothes/kitchen gadgets/entertainment and I want it now, no way will I save up for it!" My Grown-up says, "Oh my so much to do, better get cracking on the cat box, making some healthy raw snacks, doing that paperwork..." and the Brat responds, "I don't wanna!" or even more sneaky: "I'll do it later."
I struggle to keep my Grown-up in charge. I feel like the Brat is a remnant of my damaged childhood. She says, "I'm hurting. I need comfort. I don't want to do what I'm supposed to do, I just want to play." I try to feel compassion for her. But I need to keep her safe. Because she is really me! I can't let her die of overeating, no matter how relentlessly she begs and tries to wear me down. I can't let her goof off until my house is a wreck and I suffer the consequences of not meeting my responsibilities.
The Brat is an expert con. She says things like, "We deserve this!" "Just one bite." "Just this once." "It doesn't matter!" "I'm too tired!" "I never get to have fun!" "That's too much work!" "Maybe later/tomorrow/next year."
I need to stay in charge. I've seen signs that the Brat is trying to throw a tantrum lately, and I've got to lovingly nip it in the bud. She has proven herself unworthy of making decisions, and I've voted her out as Commander in Chief of me. I give her a time-out by having positive affirmations I say when she starts yapping in my ear. "I deserve to be healthy." "One bite will lead to 50 and I'll be back where I was. I choose to say no." "Just this once is what you said last time. I am strong and capable. I make good choices." "My health matters to me a lot. I matter to the people I love." "Eating right and exercising will give me lots of energy." "Changing my life is nothing BUT fun. There is a whole world waiting for me to heal and explore." "Anything worth having takes effort. But I deserve to feel good. I'm up to the task!" "There is no later, there is only now. No time like the present! I'm not waiting for my life to begin."
Strategies for keeping my Grown-up in charge: affirmations, list-making to let me see tangible evidence of my progress, routines to keep me on track, gentle rules to give me guidance and keep me accountable.