A note on vices

We all have vices. Things we use to numb, avoid, distract. I’ve read a lot of books that recommend being conscious of your vices so that you can notice when you use them and try to identify what the trigger is. I tried this, unsuccessfully, mostly because I’d just flick to a different vice ‘while thinking’.

Vices are also dynamic. For the past year my main vices have been netflix, alcohol, and food. I was keeping my mind occupied so I could avoid whatever I should be using it for, and I’m really not good at sitting still so I needed something to do with my hands too. This was often food, frequently paired with alcohol. When I used the recommended ‘identify your vice’ method, it switched to playing tetris online (but being a Restorative type person, of course I had to start with an intentional mess and clean it up, rather than the ordinary version of just keeping it clear). Tetris was a slightly healthier vice than food, but still occupied my mind so I didn’t actually find what I was avoiding.

When I really think about it, I think it was a lack of purpose.

I always had a massive to do list that I’d slowly be chugging through, but imagine how much faster I’d have got things done, how much more I would have been able to achieve, without these vices. Of course it’d be lovely to imagine a life without vices at all, but they did serve a purpose in creating downtime – in moderation, they’re not so bad. It was the sheer volume of them that I was consuming.

So I started taking action.

I cancelled my Netflix account. I had been watching hours upon hours a day. I’d watch it every evening, and even have something on while I went to sleep. I needed some noise so I didn’t hear neighbours or road noise or my own thoughts. It was often the same shows on an endless loop. Not even anything new or different, just white noise.
The catch with Netflix is that when you cancel it you still have access until the end of the monthly period. You’ve paid in advance, it makes sense… but don’t use this as an excuse to go back to it. I had made my decision. I cancelled it while I was travelling and a rainbow appeared – I took that as a good sign I was on the right path.

As for alcohol – if you’re asking yourself if you’ve got a problem, you probably do. I had gotten to the point where I couldn’t remember the last day I hadn’t had a drink. Scary stuff.
My first stepping stone was non-alcoholic wines. They’re becoming increasingly common, and some of them are actually pretty good!
I was doing not to badly until… I went with friends on a holiday. Fair enough. While on the holiday I still drank in moderation and mostly stuck to the mid strength beers.
The problem came when I got home… and didn’t go back to pre-holiday drinking. Not ideal.
I’ve found in the past that stopping drinking works best when I have something to tie it to – a reason to not drink other than ‘it’s good for me’. I like to use an early gym sesh or a morning outdoor activity like a scuba dive. Something where I’ll have regrets if I’ve had a big night the night before.
My other solution is just to put myself in an environment where I can’t drink every day.
Rather than relying on self-discipline, I need to change up my situation.

Food – the big one, really. It’s so easy to pretend this isn’t a vice. But if you think about food, particularly certain types of food, at different times throughout the day (mm dumplings) this may be a red flag. It’s also important here to notice how you feel the next day after a certain ‘treat’ food. Turns out dumplings don’t leave me feeling great the next morning. Interesting.
Excess food, while great at the time, will leave you sapped of energy, sapped of joy, make moving harder and it can be a downward spiral of eating yourself into depression.
At one point I also had trouble remembering the last time I was hungry. That was probably the biggest one. I was eating out of habit/boredom/as a hobby almost.
I’d also tried to cut back multiple times before, with great success! I used a great app called MyFitnessPal to track food (you can just scan barcodes, link it to your fitness watch and it does all the calculations for you). I’ve also found that going to the gym in the morning helps me make better choices through the day, and I also love it! Every time I stop going to the gym for a week or so, I forget so easily how much I really enjoy it. The longer I leave it, the harder it gets to go back, particularly because I get larger and nothing fits and it’s all less comfortable. 
Another thing I’ve tried is deleting the UberEats app and worked with an accountability buddy to hold me to it… but soon after, I downloaded DoorDash (an alternate app, same idea of ordering food delivered to your door). I’m great at finding loopholes, but in this case I was using those loopholes to hurt myself rather than for good. 
Back in 2014/15 I lost 30kgs, but I’ve put it all back on in a rollercoaster of battling the scales.
I’ve been in a constant battle with food ever since I can remember.
I need less access and less time sitting around bored to make bad choices.
I also need a mindset shift. To change my relationship with food.

Time to change gears. Snap out of my current state.

Get moving, bring some real adventure, not pertrie dish controlled adventure I’ve been giving myself the past few years. See if I still have time for vices 😉

A more fulfilling adventure begins.
Left Western Australia, lets go Queensland.

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