A (not so) little tantrum – Relapse

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    • #14858

      Hello Gillian and all! I’ve been a little lost lately, so I thought maybe sharing it here could help me get back on track. Sorry in advance for the super long post.

      I was doing great until the last week of May, when I paid a much dreaded visit to my family.

      To put some context, let’s say I’m the only overweight person in my family. Everyone is naturally slim except for me. They are also quite obsessed with beauty, and I always return from my visits with a newly acquired insecurity. Besides, my mother’s pantry is always full of cookies, sweets, chocolates … There were literally several boxes of expired chocolates, because they buy them (or someone gives them to them) and then they don’t eat them! They don’t eat much “trash”, but they don’t eat super healthily either, or at least what I consider is healthy for myself. But it’s hard for me to cook my own meals because my mom doesn’t like people messing in her kitchen, AND it makes me have to give explanations that they make fun of (quite literally).. So well, let’s say it went badly.

      And then I came back to my house and to my routine, but something seems to be is off… It’s like I have a low-key addictive desire that persists day after day. I work through it and it fades, but then it’s back in a few hours, and I can see I’m overeating on food I consider healthy.

      Yesterday I thought maybe I’m trying too hard to be “back on track” and had accidentally slipped into “diet mentality”, so today I decided to be a little more flexible and … it got out of hand.

      It’s not like I’m completely off the wagon, because I was not being “perfect” before the visit to my parents, but I’m still far from where I want to be 🙁

      I think my motivation also suffered from the visit home, because for some reason, after a couple of days eating “badly” I stopped feeling “bad” (it is as if my body had adapted). I also suffer from endometriosis, which is super random, and maybe I just felt better those days for some reason that had nothing to do with food… The fact is that despite eating badly, I didn’t feel bad, and feeling well on a daily basis was one of my main motivations.

      I also try to remember I don’t HAVE TO get back on track, I don’t have to eat healthily, I don’t have to lose weight, etc… But to me it sounds a bit empty now?

      I think I probably should just redo week 6 and start working again on the “if I own my choices” exercise (which worked very well for me before), but I’m just so upset about this! It’s like I’m rebelling against my relapse and not really working towards the solution because I’m angry that this is happening! I was doing so good! I feel a little hopeless right now…

      Thank you for reading, I’d appreciate your comments if you have any 🙂

    • #14859

      Hello Marta, just popping into the forum and saw your post. Sounds to me like an experience when you encountered a ‘cue’ that you don’t encounter very often – visiting your family. I’ve found that when an infrequent cue pops up, I’m much more vulnerable to overeating – it’s as if my mindset goes ‘oh good, a new excuse to overeat!’.

      For example, I recently had some work done on my house, and everywhere got a bit untidy and messy. I find that quite stressful,and it’s actually a cue for me to overeat (which I did), but being kind and forgiving to myself, and patiently going back to working through my desire, reminding myself that I always have the choice to continue overeating, has meant it’s been a blip rather than a catastrophe.

      I think sometimes when we get ‘back on track’ we are still a bit hard on ourselves and have feelings of regret – ‘oh, why did I do that? Oh, I’ve ruined everything’ and so on. But remember, the aim is just to overeat less often, and it sounds to me that you are doing that. If I have overeaten, as I did recently, I just appreciate gradually returning to what is now my normal eating, and really enjoy getting back to ‘normal’ – which is not ‘perfect’, but right for me. That feeling of normality is a big non-weight motivation for me – that feeling of’this feels good, and this is the real me.’

      Good luck! I think you are going the right way about it by revisiting the materials and coming on the forum of course.

    • #14860

      Hi Marta,

      I’ve heard from previous clients about being the only one in a family who’s overweight and overeats. I think it’s a cruel thing to experience, although nobody to blame and all of it is so understandable. It’s one thing to be judged by society in general but such a wound when you get the message that you somehow don’t belong to (or measure up to) your own family.

      My guess is it’s your sense of self-worth that has taken a beating. As you say, you always return from your family visits with “a newly acquired insecurity”.

      These guided meditations may well restore Your Self to yourself. Take a bit of time, relax, listen and find two or three that hit the spot for you.

      Yes, all of the Week 6 material will be useful as well, but preferably in a context of restored self-compassion.

      Let us know how you go. Take care and be as kind to yourself as you can manage.

    • #14861
      Cyndi B.

      Lovely, helpful replies already. I’ll just echo to not be hard on yourself… in fact be really soft and easy with yourself. Your current headspace is really understandable, and you can process this and use it for change and energy. I think writing it out here and continuing to journal is helpful. It’s not something that will magically vanish, but you can find a way through it… it’s obvious that you have a capacity for insight. Thanks for sharing; the tense family dynamics around food and body is pretty relatable.
      **hug** Cyndi

      I’m loving this therapist all about boundaries….

    • #14862
      Maggie C

      Hi Marta,
      Your family sound a lot like mine! I used to live further away from them and dread visiting every few months as the first comment from my mum would be about my weight. It used to make me feel so upset and unworthy. My worth was only my size. I have come to terms with it over the years and these days my mum doesn’t say so much to me about it but praises me when I have lost weight – which I find really annoying. Buoying up your self confidence and self worth really helped me tackle family situations. Some great advice above.

      Cyndi – I have listened to that podcast. I really liked the part about setting boundaries and sticking up for yourself. Something I was very bad at when younger. I can say “no” now, which saves me so much anguish!

      Thank you Gillian for the link to Kristin Neff’s website – which I have subscribed to. The guided meditations sound really useful. I am trying to speak to myself in the same way I do my friend, who also has weight issues, and learning to be much more self compassionate.

    • #14864
      Sally G

      Hi Marta,
      Your post and this thread really resonated with me. I am having a bit of a relapse I think as one of my triggers is social situations and the easing of lockdown has provided far more opportunities to eat out. Even though I find that easier as I am not on a diet, I think that it causes me a lot of low level anxiety and that generally makes me feel stressed about food. I then think I need to adjust my eating and ‘reel it in a bit’ as I have been eating out and as soon as I say I need to adjust my eating I overeat!!

      I have struggled to keep up with the course so I have decided to go back to the beginning and work through it at a slower pace. My relapse is also making me think that I only kind of believe I have free choice when really, choosing foods which could be described as ‘fattening’ actually causes me angst.

      I am definitely being kind to myself and not running back to diets. It is a challenge at times and I suspect lots of us feel that.

      Keep on keeping on 🙂

    • #14929

      Louise: “That feeling of normality is a big non-weight motivation for me – that feeling of ‘this feels good, and this is the real me.” I’ll keep this in mind, as it sounds like good motivation for me too! And yes, I think being back at my parent’s is a big cue for me, and I was aware of it and knew what was going to happen… But it still got me. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.

      Gillian: I was not expecting that reply; this forum always surprises me 🙂 I teared up a bit reading it, so yes, probably your guess was spot on. I listened to some of the audios, and it felt good… They make me feel more empowered and less like a victim, I guess. Calmer. I can’t say I’m back to “normal” because these past weeks haven’t been “normal” -lots of travelling and stress, and also being sick (I had one of the worst endometriosis flare-ups in months… So maybe it does respond to changes in my eating, after all, it just gives delayed feedback). Still, I hope these audios, along with the revisiting of the materials, will help me get back on track in the following couple of weeks. I really do want to feel “normal” (as Lousie says) and in control again. Thank you.

      Cindy: Thank you! I quit journaling a while ago because I didn’t like to have my mental garbage in writing. I have this stupid fear of dying suddenly and my family finding my diary and thinking my life was so miserable and sad xD maybe I should get myself a notebook with a lock. And thanks for the podcast recommendation, I couldn’t listen to it yet, but I will. Thanks!

      Maggie: So sorry to hear that, and yes, that’s what my family looks like xD I hadn’t seen them in five months, and their first comment was if I had put on weight when I actually had dropped almost 5 kg. I was also quite proud of how my skin looked but came back from my visit worrying about wrinkles that I didn’t know I had… I’m sure both our families mean well and just want the best for us. They just don’t know better. I guess the only way to deal with this kind of thing is to set some boundaries when possible and provide ourselves with the love and support we sometimes don’t get from them. Thank you!

      Sally: I totally get you! What helped me in that kind of situations was asserting my freedom of choice right after overeating -right at the moment when you are feeling guilty and thinking you can’t do that again and you need to get back on track ASAP. I believe Gillian talks specifically about this in one of the live Webinars, but I don’t remember which one. The “If I own my choices about what I eat” exercise was also super helpful, I did it every day for a couple of weeks, and it worked for me. I’m actually going to resume that daily habit until I feel confident enough again. Thank you for replying!

    • #14930


      I do hope you take a look at the most recent Q&A webinar, at least the first half hour.

      More surprises, maybe. Let me know if it speaks to you.

    • #14937

      I listened to it three times already, and it’s exactly what I needed to hear! It blows my mind because it’s so true. That’s exactly what happened to me. And just by realizing it and giving it a name, something clicked inside my head, and I got back my intrinsic motivation back! Amazing. I’m sure the self-compassion audios helped as well, but this was it. Thank you Gillian.

      In my humble opinion, I think this is so important it should go with the materials of the first week! I know all of it is already said in different words, but knowing there’s this evidence, the studies…

      And by the way, I found the study with the little children losing their motivation to paint especially painful because I’m a professional illustrator who gets paid for doing what I enjoy the most in the world… And it’s so true 😆

      • #14963

        Yes, Marta, I was thinking the same about adding to Week 1 and plan to do a bit of an edit and put it in as a second video at 1.5, as an extra part of The Solution.

        I’ll do that on the Course Dashboard for October as it’s already here in the current Q&A.

        Very helpful for me to get your reaction to it, and I’m so pleased it spoke to you.

    • #14938
      Ann C

      This thread is SO amazing! The power of women, lifting each other up.

      I don’t write much on the forum because I can never put my thoughts about the program into words.

      So glad there are many on here who are so well versed and thoughtful! I read it all and appreciate your input.

    • #14964
      Maggie C

      I am the same Ann. There are some very eloquent women here and it is hard to set things down in words!!! I find it really useful reading what others say and find myself nodding and agreeing.

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