Where does the old behavior go when you change your pattern of eating from overeating to normal eating?
If you went on a diet, reduced your weight sufficiently and now you are maintaining your weight right around your goal weight, what’s happened to the old mindset of eat, eat, eat? Is it lurking around the next corner ready to jump back in with both feet? Did you destroy it? Is it in pieces? Did you unlearn it? Could it be gone for good, banished by all your hard work?
Have you tested yourself to see if the old you is still there? Can you, for instance, go out to eat and maintain your weight? What if you’re stirred up about something, or laid low by something your friend said? Can you still not revert to old ways? What if you directly tried eating the way you used to when you were overweight? What then? Maintain or relapse into your old eating pattern? Dare you tempt fate?
You should know that any behavior and mindset that you used for a long time has not been completely extinguished. It’s there somewhere. You can make sure that it isn’t just lurking around the next corner ready to become part of your life again. There are two ways you can do this. You can make sure that your new replacement behavior—eating normally—is something you use in many different contexts (restaurants, dinner parties, snacking, under different emotional conditions) so that it becomes second nature in all these contexts. Another way to prevent relapse is to practice lapsing and recovering (falling off and going back on) while you’re maintaining or even while you’re still dieting (cheat and go right back to your diet plan).