Addictive mindset

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    • #12735
      Shems M
      Participant

      Does anyone want to share their insights into their addictive mindsets? I’d love to know what you uncover!

      After today’s webinar, and Gillian’s answer to Sophia’s questions about why did she go and buy the biscuits, I felt inspired to revisit my addictive mindset. My overeating as calmed down a lot with the skills and attitudes developed on this course, but I do have a fair bit of overeating that is still ongoing. For each current overeating scenario I could think of, I asked myself, as Gillian recommended, “What am I telling myself that’s so important about eating those things in that circumstance?”

      I have found this to be enlightening, and also very amusing! I really love finding the contradictions, because this helps to confirm to me that it is addictive mindset at play. For example, it appears I overeat the curry we have on Saturdays because I love it and don’t get to have spicy food too often these days. Fine. It’s just that I also overeat my other dinners during the week because apparently I don’t enjoy them that much! Wow, how have I fallen for this?! It’s not particularly sophisticated is it?

      Before my eyes, my addictive mindset is now shrinking in its power. Where it once ran the show, I can now see it as being more of a cheeky/sneaky/impulsive/slightly manipulative teenager. I can see right through it, while holding space and compassion for its benign motivation and sheer lack of wisdom. I feel I want to set boundaries with it – kindly – but I am not scared at what it is going to do to me, and I think I have been until now. I certainly don’t feel like I need to shout at it or lock it up – and this had been my go-to way of dealing with addictive desire for a while.

      Also, I just don’t need to believe the utter drivel it says. For example, some of my addictive mindset statements relate to overeating a lot of something because I am not allowed to eat something else, or because I haven’t been allowed to have it in the past (hinting at a fear it might become prohibited again). But I truly am free to eat what I want, and I now absolutely acknowledge that freedom, so when addictive mindset comes up with these suggestions I can calmly recognise them for what they are – a last ditch attempt to satisfy addictive desire.

      I feel I can perhaps set boundaries with my addictive mindset with a wry smile on my face, an unruffled attitude. I feel the conversation could go something like this – “Oh hello again dear, you seem to be trying to tell me something important and urgent – what is it? I’m listening! OK, I hear you, you think maybe that would be nice to keep eating? Oh you think it’s really ok for me to keep eating and that I shouldn’t stop now even though I’m full? Ok that’s interesting. Oh and since this meal isn’t particularly delicious I deserve to eat more of it? Hmmmm Yes its a shame this meal is not my favourite, Oh yes, I know it has really been a tough day, thank you for caring for me. Oh and I know it’s healthy food too, and so it wouldn’t be too ‘bad’ – gosh you’re so right about those things. The thing is, of course I can eat all the food at this table and go and get more from the kitchen if I wanted to, but I just don’t want to right now, because I don’t want to feel bloated and I really like feeling light and floaty after meals, and having a bit more of an evening after dinner. It would be nice to have the energy to phone my friend/fold the washing/watch my film without zonking out half way through. And I’ll sleep better too and that will help me with what I need to do tomorrow. Thank you for your concern though, I do appreciate it. Until next time! ”

      For anyone interested here were my actual answers:——–>

      Why do I keep overeating almonds?

      – These are a ‘healthy’ snack.
      – Eating these will help me avoid snacking on other things that are less healthy.
      – I’m not having crisps, must every pleasure be removed from my life?
      – They are delicious AND healthy, what’s wrong with that?
      – They are good for my skin and eyes.
      – Healthy foods are not addictive really, not like crisps or biscuits!
      – I’m not addicted to almonds, they are just delicious and I can’t stop eating them.

      Why do I keep having too much curry on Saturday evening?

      – Because part of the curry experience is having a lot of curry.
      – I am not even eating rice, now do I also have to worry how much cauliflower I am eating?
      – Veggies are healthy, I don’t need to worry about eating too much of those
      – I only get to eat food that I truly love like this once a week – I want to savour it and eat loads
      – So coconut was unhealthy, now its healthy, and I still can’t have as much as I want?
      – I’m not addicted to coconut milk curries, they are just delicious and I can’t stop eating them

      Why am I leaving my evening meal so stuffed many nights this week?

      – I’ve been ‘good’ all day – fasting/low carb etc. Now I get to enjoy a hearty meal! I can’t fast all the bloody time!
      – Its mostly healthy food
      – You can’t eat too much veg
      – It’s a lot less than I used to eat
      – These meals are not that delicious, so they are not really addictive, its fine to keep going.

    • #12738
      Gillian
      Moderator

      Wonderful, Shems. I especially love “part of the curry experience is having a lot of curry”. Of course!

      I thought I’d just add that this all arises from the limbic desire, and as the limbic system isn’t capable of upgrading itself, it assumes it lives in the Stone Age, with a dreadful famine arriving at any moment.

      It’s just trying to keep you alive, and so it’s appropriate that you respond to it with kindness, compassion and good-natured humour.

      I look forward to seeing what others add.

    • #12751
      Louise
      Participant

      Those are wonderful Shems – I recognised some of them from my own thinking! It’s good to laugh at them too.

      Here’s one of the silliest reasons you could have 🙂

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=TXVoVcZ7UwA

    • #12754
      Caroline
      Participant

      Shems, that’s a wonderful post! As well as being laugh-out-loud hilarious in places, you really hit the nail on the head with the addictive desire’s shenanigans and I love the way you deal with it firmly yet compassionately. So much of what you said really resonated with my experience too.

      You invited us to share insights about our own addictive mindsets; well, here’s one of mine! Bearing in mind that I’ve found Gillian’s analogy of the Two Pens incredibly helpful, a real penny-dropper (of which there have been several during this course), my addictive desire doesn’t like that one bit. So… when I’m reminding myself that I am absolutely free to choose to eat right now in a way that will support my health and self-esteem and leave me happier afterwards OR to eat right now something that isn’t even proper food, and will leave me feeling bloated and unhappy with myself—but that I can’t choose both simultaneously—the good old addictive desire pouts and stamps its foot and says ‘WHY NOT?!?! I want BOTH PENS NOW!!! I don’t want just one or the other: I want them BOTH at the same time!’

      This is still work in progress, of course, but I’m getting much better at recognising what my addictive desire is up to. So (not always, but more often) I’m smiling and saying to it ‘Yes, wouldn’t that be nice? I wish I could have both pens at once, too. But I’m afraid that life ain’t like that! It’s no good blaming me; sometimes I just have to make a choice, and at this moment I’m going to choose what’s going to leave me feeling happier afterwards. Don’t worry, I’m really not going to die of starvation. And you know what? I can always make a different choice later. This is just for now, so don’t panic. Because, you know, I do prefer feeling energised and comfortable and getting a good night’s sleep. So… see ya next time round!’

      • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by Caroline.
    • #12756
      Sophia G.
      Participant

      Oh that’s completely fabulous Shems, and also really insightful, thanks 4 saying it all. I love about viewing your Addictive Mindset as a sneaky teenager. It makes it look like fun, not a chore, for us to check out and see what’s going on with us, proactively. Thanks!

      And your observations about not being addicted to almonds & coconut curries, just that they’re delicious & you can’t stop eating them.. ha ha, 🤣 so funny 😂 !

      Really useful about keeping a good sense of humour about it and about investigating our Tricky sneaky mindsets with humour.. Brill x
      (Who was it who said something about – Some things are too important to be taken seriously. ?? Oscar Wilde ??)

      PS I too can relate to the curry experience as involving eating a lot of curry. Oh yes, how true! (Wry face here !)

    • #12817
      Lizzie Rockman
      Participant

      Hi, Gillian and Shems this example of my addictive mindset still has me laughing at myself (in a kind way I hasten to add) and I thought I’d just share it.
      I’d been looking forward all day to a ‘nice piece of birthday cake’ when I dropped my granddaughter home after the school run on her 5th birthday last week (I realise now I had even cut back from eating too much earlier in the day to compensate). We are in lockdown so no party or extended family get together but I’m in a childcare bubble With them. The plan was for me to be there when she opened her presents after school BUT it was my own expectation/addictive mindset that stoked the fire of addictive desire when I was given ‘a lovely mug of peppermint tea’ but no hint of cake or even a biscuit! (The exclamation mark was how I felt inside at the time) Suddenly I was in inner turmoil; feelings of disappointment, crossness, being hard done to, resentment, indignation (you name it, I felt it) coursed through me and I felt disconnected from my surroundings as I fought to cope with it all. Intellectually I knew they were going to have a little kitchen disco when my son returned from work after 7pm so would have nibbles etc then but my limbic brain screamed WHAT ABOUT MY CAKE! I spent most of that evening feeling really uncomfortable with my thoughts as they made me feel silly and inadequate for having such a response but I persevered and accepted them as I worked through the DESIRE. After a while the feelings subsided and I started to giggle and then laugh to myself about how ‘brat like’ my initial reaction was. I’ve held onto the humour of my experience and it’s helped me again this weekend work with addictive mindset and desire when faced with food disappointment after expectation.

    • #12876
      Georgia H
      Participant

      Thank you Shems for starting this thread. I got a good laugh out of, ” I’m not addicted to almonds, they are just delicious and I can’t stop eating them.”

      My addictive mindset has been listening to the ELO lessons! It told me to go ahead and have that big bowl of keto ice cream (Rebel brand) because this can be part of not being perfect!! sigh….

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