Exploring Freedom Exercise

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  • This topic has 8 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 4 months ago by Gillian.
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    • #14409
      Penny E

      Hi everyone. I found the exploring freedom exercise enlightening. My got to statements were so believable and convincing to me when I first wrote them a few weeks back. Then today when I added “because” to them and finished the sentence I had to think further and deeper about my initial statement and then to write a new sentence with “I can” made me realise that that is actually what I normally do, as in I make the first bold statement about how to lose weight in my head and then do the opposite without ever seeing what I do. Then rateing each one out of 10 was a lightbulb moment. My first two statements were I
      8 and 2 but then I realised that I believe each statement. I feel that I am on my way to recognising black and white thinking and seeing how often I make bold statements to myself. I am feeling remarkably calm after doing this exercise.

    • #14410
      Cyndi B.

      Really like how you describe the process.. sounds like you’re coming into your power and agency. Well done!

    • #14423
      Angela G

      Hi Gillian, I am working on the Exploring Freedom exercise but I’m not sure how to work through one issue:
      I want to stop/limit my binge eating on chocolate/sweet foods and I have got lots of reasons why, but I also quite like the initial what I can only call ‘sedation’ and comfort that eating these foods brings me. Maybe this is just an issue of how much of these foods I eat so I can get the ‘comfort’ and stop before I am overstuffed, but currently I find it difficult to stop once I start.
      My question is how to I talk through with myself that I have the freedom to binge on chocolate so long as I accept the unwelcome consequences, but also that I will have to forego the pleasant sedation effect?

    • #14424


      First of all, there’s still some denial of choice in the way you’re thinking about this:

      “I have the freedom to binge on chocolate so long as I accept the unwelcome consequences…”
      – You have the freedom to binge, even if you don’t want to accept the unwelcome consequences.

      “…I will have to forego the pleasant sedation effect.”
      – You don’t have to forego the pleasant sedation effect.

      With that in mind, your question expresses your conflict between positive benefits – both to overeating and to eating less. Yes? You get a “pleasant sedation effect” from overeating and there’s also a benefit to you in not overeating.

      Working through this sort of conflict is common to all addictive behaviours. There’s no need to have black-and-white, all-good vs all-bad choices. Many choices we make are between mixtures of things we prefer and other things we don’t. The idea is to evaluate your options and make the choices you want to live with.

      To put this another way, if or when you eat less chocolate, you’ll get less of the pleasant sedation effect. You’ll experience this in the form of unsatisfied desire, and which way you go will always be your choice.

      Let me know if this confuses you – and maybe it will help if I speak about this on Sunday?

    • #14435
      Angela G

      Hi Gillian,
      Thanks, yes, I see what you are saying and recognise the conflict in my own mind. I know that I have tended to go for all or nothing choices – either banning chocolate or accepting the unpleasant feelings after a binge – typical addictive behaviour, as you say, which I would like to have more control over.
      As a scientist, I am really curious about the ideas in the course and I am enjoying exploring the research and the concepts – thanks for explaining the material so clearly; but as an overweight, chocolate addict, part of me suspects that this freedom of choice is going to come between me and my chocolate somewhere along the line!
      If it fits with your themes for the next webinar, it would be helpful if you could address this issue of conflicts on Sunday – so far I have not been able to watch the webinars until the Monday after, but I’ll try and join in this Sunday evening.

    • #14439

      Yes, Angela, I’ll speak about conflict in the webinar.

      And, some things about chocolate too!

    • #14448

      I think I have very similar issues, so I also wold find it helpful if you talk about it on Sunday.

    • #14449

      Gillian & anyone,
      I think the most honest ending I have to the ‘I have to lose weight because…’ question is to do with shame around being overweight and overeating; being judged by others, especially if I regain lost weight, as being greedy and lazy, no will-power, a failure etc. Is this something you touch on somewhere?

    • #14451


      Of course you don’t HAVE TO lose weight because you always have freedom of choice. The HAVE TO phrase denies this freedom and, as we’ve already covered, that gets you into a lot of trouble.

      But let’s say you express this as, “I want to lose weight so that I don’t feel so ashamed and judged by others.” My view is that this is consistent with low self-esteem (self-worth). I don’t know, of course, if that fits for you.

      You ask if I touch on this issue and I certainly do, but not, perhaps in the way you might expect. The entire content of Week 1 directs you towards motivation to eat less that would (if you use it) build and strengthen your self esteem/self-worth by encouraging you to pay attention to what YOU think of YOU. Not what others think (or might think) of you.

      I encourage you to return to Week 1, and see what you can learn there. I wonder if developing a stronger sense of self-worth is something you would want to do, and if you understand that eating less could certainly be part of that.

      Let me know what you think?

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