Reply To: Choosing the wrong choice!

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Sarah Mac

Hi Gillian

You have hit the nail on the head about the intellectual idea of making things better for my liver. I have been tormenting myself by thinking: ‘why doesn’t this motivation work when it is such an important issue?’… I guess that could be more of the limbic style bullying (which I know was discussed a lot on the other thread today on the forum), when actually what gives me more immediate feedback on how eating less benefits me is the smaller, day to day stuff. The liver is the big picture but going to bed at night without feeling stuffed with food is also rewarding on a noticeable, daily basis. Another plus I have noticed in the past few weeks is that I have had chronic eczema on one of my hands for well over a year and it has completely cleared up. No steroid creams or anything – it’s just gone. I think this must be because I have been eating more of the good stuff and eating less in general (when I have managed to, that is!). So yes – very good to remind me of the immediate feedback aspect.

The advice for the liver is basically a Mediterranean style diet – vegetables, fruit, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, flax seeds – all that jazz. Of course when I try to implement this style of eating I can get really all or nothingy about it but I’m trying to make it my aim to have this kind of food and work through addictive desire for stuff that falls short of this. It’s hard. Sometimes I think: ‘if I had never had a food addiction problem, how would I eat?’. And the answer is I’d probably eat more or less as above with probably a dessert or some chocolate about once a week. And then I think to myself: ‘well – why don’t you just eat like that then? how hard can it be?’. I suppose the answer is that it’s hard if I’m ignoring my addictive desire because it just ends up being all or nothing and a sense of back to square one all the time. If I just said to myself ‘right – i’m doing the Mediterranean style eating now for my liver’ I would set up all sorts of compliance and therefore rebellion states of mind… The other recommendation is to leave longer gaps between meals which I have been trying with some success – though, again, it’s easy for this to slide into the dieting mentality which can then lead to ‘you’ve been so good not to eat for five hours – you deserve a pudding’!!!

I think you are right that my addictive thinking is often more than just ‘what the hell’. It’s probably more along the lines of ‘you should do it one last time and then you can really concentrate on your liver issue’ or ‘you deserve this – you’re so tired and you’ve been working so hard and you have made SOME changes so this won’t hurt’ and a whole host of other justifications.

Just on a side note which struck me as relevant. I heard a talk that an American woman called Brene Brown did. She said she used to have therapy and her therapist was always saying to her:’you need to stop alternating and start integrating’ – ie: live in the grey area of life more and stop swinging from one extreme to another. I think that applies to all of this too. She also said that learning to ‘manage paradox’ was one of the most important life skills anyone can have. And that struck a chord here too – managing the paradox of wanting to lose weight and knowing that wanting to lose weight can, paradoxically, make you put it on…

Anyway – enough late night ramblings!