Don’t believe the “I can buy it at any time” idea

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    • #15037
      Joanne M
      Participant

      Hi Gillian, I’ve had great success eating the way I want to at home. I’ve got it totally in the bag, and I stick pretty much 100% to my way of eating with freedom and a solid integration of what we’ve learned here…both in the house, and also out of the house in the local area when I go out to meals with friends or to parties or events.

      However, I recently went camping with my in-laws. My in-laws always have lots of junk food around and I reached the point where I chose to stop working through desire because it felt relentless, and gave in and ate a bunch of the junk. I tried to tell myself that I could buy any of this junk any time I want. M&Ms and Oreos are available whenever I want them, so why eat it now? But I realized that I know I would never actually buy them in reality, and that the “i can buy it anytime” is kind of a lie because I won’t do it…I know to leave it at the shop because if I buy it I’m making the decision to eat it.

      But something about THEM buying all of it and eating it all around me, I for some reason give myself some sort of permission to eat it. I spent a lot of time thinking beforehand and during the week setting my intentions about how I wanted to eat, but I found myself giving in to desire again and again, and it was so disappointing. Do you have any suggestions for making improvements? Thank you!

    • #15038
      Sally G
      Participant

      Great post! Made me realise that I also would try to avoid buying certain foods at any time also!
      I also struggle if I am confronted with desire for a food that is a one-off, i.e. a pop up stand or away from home and I literally couldn’t buy it any time as the opportunity would be gone.
      Interested to see what other people contribute.

      • #15042
        Joanne M
        Participant

        I understand that too, Sally! Something that has helped me with that is reminding myself that I will never get to taste all the things, and experience everything. So sometimes it can feel like if I don’t get it then, I’m missing out, but the truth is that I’m missing out all the time. And to some degree, I’ve also “had it all” when it comes to food.

    • #15039
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      I do have suggestions, Joanne, but first I want to ask you, what are or were the downsides of the junk food eating you did while camping with your in-laws? You’ve said it was disappointing to be eating those things – anything else?

      • #15041
        Joanne M
        Participant

        Gillian, the sugar made me feel nauseous, I had gas I don’t normally experience, I felt bloated, became constipated, and all my clothes fit tighter and more uncomfortably.

        These unwanted side effects are normally pretty integrated into my awareness, so almost all of the time, I choose not to consume sugar and junk. Is it simply that these things were not important enough to outweigh whatever benefit the junk food gave me in the moment? The thought of that scares me a little bit, and it does feel more nuanced than that, honestly.

        I noticed that running through the downsides didn’t stop me for long and when I said to myself, “you’ve had this all before, it’s not that good, and you can buy it anytime you want,” I noticed that my brain said, “yeah but you’d never actually buy this garbage.” So then naturally I think, then why am I eating it here?

        I am wondering how to move forward. An idea I had is maybe that I need to think, well if I wouldn’t buy it for myself, then why would I eat it? Or maybe I need to think more about the situation? Thanks for any pointers. Been pondering this a lot, as I think dealing with these situations would be a huge win.

    • #15040
      Renée L
      Participant

      Following…

    • #15047
      Gillian
      Moderator

      Wow. So much to say.

      What stands out most is that in your first post you say you stick “pretty much 100%” to your way of eating and I wonder if that includes abstaining, for example from sugar or chocolate or whatever, and although you’ve got the phrase “pretty much” in there, maybe you are being a bit too inflexible and perfect? I say this is because of your post title, that “I can buy it anytime” seems to be a lie. So if you actually do eat something even a bit similar to your in-laws “garbage” from time to time, you feel more like you really do have complete freedom to eat anything.

      I’m honestly not insisting you eat M&Ms and Oreo cookies (I don’t eat those items at all) but things that are a bit more off-piste than you are currently taking in? In terms of taste experience, M&Ms are just bits of chocolate, aren’t they? So do you get good quality chocolate from time to time?

      I also want to point out that “I won’t ever buy and/or eat M&Ms” is not the same as “I cannot ever buy and/or eat M&Ms”. And you don’t have to do it to prove it.

      The situation you describe, though, is very tough because of the social context and our entirely appropriate need to belong to a group, to join in and be part of a family. In addition to maybe being a bit more flexible (see videos at 6.2 and 6.3) I have these suggestions for you, to consider all or any of them:

      – Make “all-or-none” choices to eat the in-laws garbage, as it’s so highly addictive that once you start it is going to be difficult to stop, as you know. So as you go through your camping trip, you recall that if/when you begin to eat that stuff you’re likely to continue for the rest of the time there – and of course include those nasty outcomes in the choices you make.

      – Make “just for now” choices, in that it will be better to begin to eat that stuff in the afternoon of the first day, and even better in the evening of the first day, and even better on the second day…. etc. The longer you postpone starting, the more you limit the damage. PLUS, you will get a stronger sense of free choice which is going to make a big difference for you.

      – Take your own off-piste and very enjoyable snacks with you, something you’d prefer to overeat. If they ask why, tell them about the nausea, gas and constipation 🙂

      Please do ask me any more questions about this, and I hope something here helps you.

      • #15054
        Joanne M
        Participant

        Thank you Gillian for your reflections and suggestions. I feel very supported and am grateful.

        I don’t believe I am abstaining in regular life, because there are instances when I’ll deviate intentionally. A few weeks ago I went to a party and my friend made an Argentinian cake I had never seen before, so I had a few bites and I felt no guilt about it. Day-to-day I am clear on what is special and what is not. This was so disappointing because Oreos and M&Ms are not special and they’re not very good either, so that felt out of integrity with my eating plan.

        You reminding me of how addictive this stuff is feels like a big ah-ha. Thanks for the all-or-none suggestion, and I think that will be important for next time. I almost wonder if I kept eating that stuff precisely because it’s so low-quality and unsatisfying, and of course, addictive by design. Reminding myself of the fact that I will endlessly want more may actually be more motivating than “I will get constipated, nausea, etc” for me. I forgot about that element and I think including it will be powerful.

        I do have a lot of communal, join-in-the-party urges in general with food. What can be done about this, in your opinion? I hate that I have this so strongly sometimes, especially when people are indulging in foods that I don’t believe in for myself, so it feels like I need to do some work around this. Thanks!

    • #15051
      Ann C
      Participant

      Joanne:

      I had a similar situation this past weekend. I volunteered at a bake sale for a Canine Rescue group that I work with. Bought some delicious treats to bring home. I chose lemon bars and banana bars, which are my personal favorites.

      I never bake with sugar ( I use Allulose or Monk fruit) and decided I was going to enjoy some sweets since I choose not to eat sugar on a regular basis.

      My goal was to eat one per day and give the other two to my husband. That plan did not pan out and I ate all four in two days. I had no physical discomfort but did notice feeling hungry, much earlier in the day on the following day. But the mental disappointment in not following my ” plan” was very real!

      I decided to forget about it and forgive myself, I enjoyed them and they were every bit as delicious as I thought they would be.

      I wonder if I should feel worse about it?

      • #15055
        Joanne M
        Participant

        Thanks for sharing. Every one of these situations is such a learning experience!

    • #15057
      Jeanette
      Participant

      Hi, Joann.

      You mentioned, “I almost wonder if I kept eating that stuff precisely because it’s so low-quality and unsatisfying, and of course, addictive by design.” When I have had this same situation, I have realized that I kept eating it because I was hoping it would taste better the more I ate it! – and then mentally and physically satisfy me. It never happened, though. It didn’t taste great at first and didn’t get any better, and then I overate something else to get the better taste – and feel mentally and physically satisfied. So, I have begun to only eat the better tasting, better quality foods – and even though it still has sugar in it or it’s manufactured, it tastes great, satisfies me, and usually I don’t eat too too much of it. So, I find that that helps me…

      • #15060
        Gillian
        Keymaster

        Jeanette,

        Very often, when eating addictive ultra-processed food, the desire only feels like it’s satisfied when an aversive state has been reached – or – the supply has run out (i.e. you finished the entire box, which means you no longer have the expectation of eating those things).

        And, there’s some research on food addiction that draws the distinction between “liking” and “wanting”. The point being that some manufactured, ultra-processed foods deliver strong addictive reinforcement in terms of brain chemistry (opioids, dopamine) while not necessarily being consciously enjoyed all that much.

        In contrast, I bet you can think of food you thoroughly enjoy eating that are not at all addictive. For me, salmon is an example.

      • #15067
        Joanne M
        Participant

        That is fascinating, Gillian, and makes so much sense. What an interesting idea.

      • #15075
        Jeanette
        Participant

        Thank you, Gillian. Yes, before starting your course in February, and when I was having “trouble” with my intrinsic mindset for a few months, my desire did only feel like “it was satisfied when an aversive state was reached – or – the supply ran out”. When I started to get back into doing your program in June, I started realizing what I stated above. And lately, and I can’t believe it!, I would actually rather eat the “…food you thoroughly enjoy eating that are not at all addictive.” I, too, love salmon – especially the way my husband cooks it! (We started getting the high quality meat and fish as well, and it is delicious.) And, very recently, I notice that I usually do not want the highly addictive, manufactured, ultra-processed foods, …however…, I am now eating much more of the non-addictive meal. So I now will have the intention of eating a little less of this bigger meal.

      • #15080
        Gillian
        Keymaster

        This looks like really good progress, Jeanette.

        Thanks for posting.

      • #15066
        Joanne M
        Participant

        Thank you, Jeanette. This resonates so much!

    • #15065
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      Joanne,

      “I do have a lot of communal, join-in-the-party urges in general with food. What can be done about this, in your opinion? I hate that I have this so strongly sometimes, especially when people are indulging in foods that I don’t believe in for myself, so it feels like I need to do some work around this.”

      I’m not sure I quite get your question about what can be done about this. Like, what would you like to be done about it, ideally? My guess is there’s still an issue regarding choice for you, in that you really don’t get that you “can buy it any time” as your post title states.

      Knowing my own, healthier treats wait for me at home has helped me in many social events where there really isn’t one thing I feel okay about eating. I’m often shocked at what people eat. But I keep in mind that in my community I’m in a minority not being on any medication in my 70s. But getting to free choice deep down is the key.

      • #15068
        Joanne M
        Participant

        What I was thinking is how can I stop the communal factor from influencing me so much that I disregard my eating intentions? Not that it’s 100% to blame, but it is a factor. I will continue to ponder this. I’m not sure if I simply need to acknowledge it or what, it just feels like it’s sticky, if that makes sense.

        I’m sure you are right about the choice thing too. I tell myself it’s integrated but I’m sure there’s a lot more to go.

        Thanks, this has been a really valuable experience and I appreciate all the thinking and reflecting here.

    • #15070
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      Joanne,

      When you say it feels like it’s sticky, I think of an addictive mindset issue (see Week 5).

      Check this out the next time you are in one of these social settings and about to disregard your eating intentions (or think back to remember the last time). Ask yourself how your addictive mindset is persuading you to go ahead and eat that stuff in that circumstance.

      Take a look at whatever your addictive mindset says, and see if you think it’s valid. It’s your choice to own that – or not as the case may be.

    • #15093
      Sophia G.
      Participant

      Hi Jeanette,

      I too noticed some time ago that a lot of the things I couldn’t stop eating, ie I found them really addictive (eg chocolate biscuits/cookies), really didn’t taste very good at all really.

      I thought this was down to my old bad habits, so I find it interesting what Gillian says above, that the demon food industry have found ways to give us the dopamine and opioid hits despite the same old biscuit-y taste that is really not very good really. I do find the cookies basically unsatisfying on every level so it was strange for me that I nevertheless craved them.

      But as I continue doing this method, obs it helps me resist the temptation BUT also I really genuinely rarely want the horrid things anymore.

      My body has got more sensitive in some way I don’t understand, and my tastebuds enjoy the healthy and home cooked stuff very much. I love my greens! Tbf I always did, but spoilt the good outcome by then having a pack (or 2, at one time, tho I had managed to rein myself in a fair bit as time went on) of the various tempting food-industry baddies.

      My main motivation is staying and becoming more healthy, so that stops a lot of my addictive desire in its tracks including those nasty sugar-loaded cookies.

      It keeps getting (generally) easier and easier. I have odd blips but less and less..

      I’m no saint, and I still weigh myself every week or so, tho perhaps I shouldn’t share that !!? – but my main interest is definitely and genuinely health-related, not weight any more, thank goodness.

    • #15095
      Jeanette
      Participant

      Hi, Sophia.

      You know, I’m experiencing the same thing lately!…(when you say, “My body has got more sensitive in some way I don’t understand, and my tastebuds enjoy the healthy and home cooked stuff very much. I love my greens! Tbf I always did, but spoilt the good outcome by then having a pack (or 2, at one time, tho I had managed to rein myself in a fair bit as time went on) of the various tempting food-industry baddies.”) Interesting.

      I’m so glad to hear that it’s getting easier for you! It’s still not easy for me – not really sure if I’m working through desire properly yet, but my intrinsic mindset is back, and I am thinking and talking to myself more – and listening mostly, too. : ) However, today was my daughter’s birthday, and we cooked some really lovely meals and I went to town! I enjoyed it, but my body is not having great reactions to that! Hah! So my intention is to get back on track again tomorrow so I don’t have these negative outcomes, which I don’t like.

      I used to weigh myself every couple of days. I wasn’t addicted to it (I don’t think), just curious how I was doing weight-wise. But since Gillian’s webinar reminder/discussion again about not weighing – because it’s about weight, I have decided to not weigh myself. I look at the scale and want to, but I don’t. I think it’s making my mindset more positive, but I’m not sure yet.

      : )

    • #15096
      Sophia G.
      Participant

      Hi Jeanette. It really does get easier – several things work in tandem for you (rather than against you as in the past) including of course the biggie of not being enslaved to bad habits so much, plus motivation of wanting to be healthier in whatever sense that applies to you.

      Various ways, coming together.

      Hang on in there! Maybe you just need to re-do the coursework, find the ‘something ’ that you need right now. We’re all the same in that we all have difficulties, a lot of them, or we wouldn’t be here. I find Gillian great at clarifying my misunderstandings / answering my questions. No it’s not easy, but we know it wouldn’t be. But it definitely gets a lot ease-ier.

      You’re doing well! You’re applying the techniques, so you’ll get there..
      There’s always ‘Good Days’ & ‘Bad Days’, isn’t it..

      Perhaps I’ll copy you and give up the scales – ‘just for now’ ..

    • #15115
      Joanne M
      Participant

      Gillian,

      I’ve been thinking a lot about the brilliantly sneaky and persuasive excuses my brain likes to come up with, and it makes sense that the communal eating/bonding reason would come up as very compelling. I had recently justified eating some ice cream with my kids using this reason. I didn’t really want to be eating the ice cream and planned not to, but I told myself that it would be a more enjoyable experience for all of us if we all ate it together.

      The next time, I decided that I would simply sit with them while they ate ice cream. It was no less special. They quite obviously didn’t even notice that I wasn’t eating any. We were still able to bond and they got to enjoy the pleasure of the ice cream, and I was pleased with my decision not to partake in it. I kind of laugh to myself when I think about the idea that eating ice cream with my kids was the important part. No, the important part to them and to me is that I’m there with them, sitting at the table.

      Thanks for helping me work through this. It feels like a win.

    • #15116
      Ann C
      Participant

      Joanne:

      Bravo for you!

      I think that realizing just how sneaky our brains are in regard to our impulses is a great discovery.

      And maybe you CAN eat the ice cream with the kids but only every 4th or 5th time so it doesn’t become too restrictive? Just a thought.

      Ann

    • #15118
      Louise
      Participant

      I love the ice cream story Joanne – what a wonderful learning experience, finding out that you don’t have to eat the ice cream to enjoy the social occasion.

      Over 20 years ago, I stopped smoking using Gillian’s book, and I was reminded by your story of how I used to go upstairs to the ‘smoking room’ at work (yes, we had smoking rooms in these days), with my cigarettes and lighter, and I would sit there, chat to everyone, knowing all the time that I could light up if I wanted to. The funniest thing is not one of my fellow smokers noticed that I didn’t ever actually light a cigarette!

      I always had my cigarettes around for over a year after stopping, because it was all about feeling the desire to smoke, and then making a choice. Absolutely brilliant.

    • #15120
      Jeanette
      Participant

      Awesome, Joanne!

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