As you reach this chapter the momentum of change has probably already fluctuated several times. Getting started was hard. It felt like an uphill battle. Old patterns of life didn’t want to let go of you and you didn’t want to admit they had a hold on you. Changing your eating patterns can feel like betraying a friend; breakups are never easy even when they’re good and needed.
But honesty with self, others, and God has a great way of building momentum. You began to let go of the weights of sin that clung to you so you could run free (Heb. 12:1). This second phase is almost always exciting. When there are so many ways that your relationship with food can be healthier, it can bring a great sense of hope and progress.
In the third phase, the one we’re starting now, life restructuring may begin to feel more like work again. “Implementation” is not an exciting word or process. Lasting change happens in incremental units and mundane moments. Change begins to impact moments that feel “less relevant” to your battle with food. The relief you’ve gained tempts you think you can risk a few of your previous bad habits.
In this chapter you will evaluate the effectiveness and needed modifications to your life restructuring plan made in chapter six. This step will require the passage of time. Implementing (chapter seven) takes longer than creating a plan (chapter six). For this reason, if you are in a group program, it is recommended that you give at least two months to this step. You will need to see how your plan responds to the changes of settings, relationships, and emotions that happen over months rather than days.
As this time passes, there are two areas of assessment that you will be performing from this chapter. First, you will be learning how to measure lasting progress. What is the difference between “I’m having a good day” and “My life is beginning to conform to God’s design”? Second, you will be looking at key areas of your life to make sure that you have not overlooked something that was not immediately relevant during the emotional crisis that precipitated your seeking help.
But before we engage those subjects, we will spend a couple of sections discussing the topic of relapse. What is a relapse? How do I know if I’ve relapsed? If a relapse doesn’t “just happen” what contributes to a relapse? What do I do if I realize I’ve relapsed?
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