Monday, May 30, 2011

Faulty Memory = Warped Perceptions

I have learned to accept that a memory can be faulty and warp my perception of reality - especially when it pertains to food and food behaviors. I stay aware that my first instinct in any food situation is not necessarily the best response for me. I have little helpers like H.A.L.T. and K.I.S.S. to help remind me to question my perceptions. Hopefully I will never forget why this is so important in keeping the pounds off. 

When I was a child. my father had a Super 8 film camera. Using 1960's technology, families could film events, send the little rolls of film in to be developed and then get them back, spliced together into larger reels of family feature films. They could then. watch their family movies on their own movie projector at home. Moving pictures only, no audio at that time. My father had a camera and he would use it mostly to film family vacations. I can remember many nights when nothing good was on television, my parents would get out the portable movie screen and the projector and we would watch our road trips across country, to Disneyland, to Las Vegas, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, Niagara Falls, Reno, Lake George.

Today, most of the memories I have of those trips are only reflected memory from watching the movies. Viewing the same scenes over and over and over again etched them deeply in my memory.  I have very little independent memory of those trips except what I remember from our family movies.  I 'remember' so many moments that are on film such as sitting in the way-back of the family station wagon with a coloring book and crayons. I 'remember' a Native American Indian speaking with me at Mount Rushmore. I 'remember' the red gummy candies that my father kept in a bag on the dashboard. I 'remember' the reactions of my family members to sights, the hat my great grandfather got at the rodeo and I "remember" the places we traveled - all from the Super 8 home films. (transferred on to VHS in the 1990s and on to DVD this year).  My "memories" of those trips convinced me that I wanted to travel with my husband on a road trip across the great state of Texas. According to my 'memory' of Texas, it would be a delightfully scenic trip.  If you read my blog earlier this May you know that I found a road trip through Texas to be uninspiring, dull, painful.  It seems that Arizona was the beautiful state I 'remembered' from our trip. 

My memories of Texas were bogus. The film lab had spliced the rolls of film together out of their original order. My whole life I thought I was looking at Texas when in reality it was Arizona and California. I put a label on my memory and called it the sights of the Texas when in reality that was a faulty memory and therefore my perception of the truth was warped. When I experienced Texas again I created a new memory to replace the  faulty past. 

Is this chocolate unhappy?
My memory is also faulty when it comes to food and food-related behaviors. I can 'forget' what I already know. I look at toasters at the store and I forget the reason I do not replace my broken toaster is because the smell of toast triggers me to want bread and butter incessantly.  I can forget that I do not go straight  to the food market on my way home from work because when I shop hungry I buy foods I have no business eating.  My faulty memory forgets that the last time I started with "just a bite" I spent a month trying to get my head on straight and release the warped perception that I could, really could, have 'just one.' My faulty memory 'remembered that I did have only the one bite but forget that a day later I went back for another 'one bite' and two days went back for more than a bite. A week later I was planning a binge.

It is my responsibility, as someone who wants health and peace of mind more than chocolate chip brownies, to acknowledge that my perceptions can be warped. When it comes to what I 'think' I need to eat today, I have to be honest and share any 'new ideas' with others who share my food addiction and recovery. I have to be honest in all things, not just food. Otherwise, I will lie to myself even before I  start lying to everyone else. I choose to help others because it keeps my past experiences green for me. It makes it more likely I will accept help when I need it, like on the days I think I want is to eat a basket of baked goods and hide in the house.

It is not easy to reach out for help - until I do it. Once I do reach out and meet the hand of another food addict, I feel that nothing could be easier than reaching for help - until the next time, when my faulty memory once again brings me to questions if taking on more food is the answer. So I continue to reach out for help in hopes that, at some point, it will be as natural as the motion of putting hand to food/food to mouth. This is how I am keeping the pounds off for another day.

Do you have any warped perceptions when I comes to food and eating behaviors? Do you think you 'have' to have any particular food or substances to feel better?; to get through a rough day?; to make it through some emotional turmoil? Has it really worked for you or are you relying on a warped perception of the truth?


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