Even though I don’t think I have a lot to say about “bad habits”, I already can tell that this subject is going to incite a confessional! Are you ready for an expose on my weaknesses!
There are some bad habits that never appealed to me – cigarettes and drugs – no interest. Even when other students around me were experimenting with them, I knew myself. I was steely when it came to peer pressure. Plus I was always very sporty growing up and I liked being healthy and fit.
However, even though I was involved in a lot of healthy activity, some unhealthy habits started to creep in. I had a strange relationship with food for some time. As a sportswoman I needed fuel, and a lot of it, to be able to perform to my best. There is a risk though of becoming obsessive about control. I did generally eat healthy food, but I have always had to control my desire for junk food. I love cakes and pizza, Mexican dishes loaded with cheese, fries, and doughnuts – yum doughnuts are perhaps one of my biggest weaknesses. I love them all. But I loved to be in great shape too.
As a youth I struggled, I really did. If I felt I was eating too much junk food, I would cut my calories drastically, sometimes going for days without eating at all. I did not understand quite how harmful a habit that was.
The worst habit I developed was punishing my body as I became obsessive about the amount of calories I was consuming. That punishment mainly came in the form of excessive levels of exercise, to the point where my body started to become malnourished. Anyone who has been down that road will likely know a lot about how it can effect your emotions, and create a deceitful obsessive strong-willed person who has a fraught relationship with food.
Ben does not particularly enjoy junk food. He likes Greek food, and their incredibly syrupy desserts. But outside of Greek cuisine, he is much more interested in fine dining, than he is in fast-food. He is a very steady influence on my habits. Together we eat a healthy, nutritious balanced diet. We have talked in the past about my complex relationship with food. He does not like me to go to extremes or to be obsessive. He wants me to enjoy food. Ben is so good at helping me to find the right balance in so many aspects of life.
During our first eighteen months together we ate out a lot – both at restaurants and the homes of friends. I felt I was putting some weight on gradually. I have always been eager to stay in control of my body, so I am very sensitive to any change in my weight or shape. When Ben was away in the spring for three months I tried a raw vegan diet and, in addition to the regular exercise I scheduled, I slimmed down. When Ben came back to England, he was concerned that I had lost too much weight.
Then there is liquor. I have never been a big drinker, certainly I was never a regular drinker until I met Ben. In the past I would go out at weekends with friends and yes, I would drink more than I should. But I hated the calories in liquor so I learnt to hate excessive consumption. Over-drinking became a rare occurrence because to me drinking enough alcohol to get drunk would be like eating a family size cheesecake all by myself – I would have to be in a seriously bad place mentally to do something like that to my body.
However, Ben likes wine. He is quite the connoisseur. He has a collection of fine wines that he is forever adding to but he also likes to drink them. But the Mediterranean outlook on wine is there in him – it is something to enjoy, to savour, not to abuse. So now under Ben’s influence I do drink a little wine a lot more often than ever before. I love curling up on the sofa with Ben to sip with wine with him.
When he was away in the spring, I got into the habit of drinking too much for a few weeks. It’s not a common habit for me due to my repugnance of the amount of calories in liquor, as I explained above. It’s usually only after a breakup or something incredibly stressful when I have got into the habit of over-drinking because of my strong emotions. Back in April, I was anxious and not happy about being separated from Ben. I am not a connoisseur of wine at all and I know how much Ben spends on fine wine. So I bought cheap wine from grocery stores and drank that! But I have good friends who were checking in on me and their interest and support lifted my spirits and helped me think of how I could use the lockdown period for personal projects.
I may have my weaknesses – but I try not to let them become habits. Ben knows my weaknesses and the past struggles I had to be balanced with food and exercise. He does not want me to harm my body or my emotional health. Ben is very good at helping me to enjoy indulgences but not to let them dominate me. I love my life with Ben. I feel healthier and happier than I have ever been.