Freedom: a penny-dropping moment (at last!)

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  • This topic has 6 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 5 months ago by Caroline.
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    • #12383
      Caroline
      Participant

      Gillian,

      I found your reply to Carla (in her post ‘Distinguishing times intermittent fasting‘) super-helpful. Huge thanks to Carla for her post. Not that I’m into Intermittent fasting myself; I tried the 5-2 some years ago and ended up actually gaining weight as I ate rebelliously on the non-fast days!

      What I found so helpful, specifically, was when you said ‘You could fast for 22 hours and the entire time you know that it’s your free choice to do that; you don’t have to start or continue with it.’ Somehow as I read that sentence it truly got through to me that taking a decision not to eat at any particular moment, despite my addictive desire urging me to do so, is a choice that I can make at that moment. And that’s all it is. Not a lifetime commitment, not an act of compliance with someone inside or outside me issuing instructions and wagging their finger: just a decision at that precise moment that I won’t eat then.

      And as the penny was dropping, I noticed another amazing thing: I actually felt calm about it, and the whole ‘shall I eat or shan’t I?’ choice felt much less of a big deal than it always has done. Admittedly I’m not being tempted to eat at this very moment, so we’ll have to see how this works when the addictive desire is up and running, but I do feel quietly hopeful—dare I say ‘confident’?—that I’ve finally ‘got’ how freedom works in this area. Tackling my addictive desire doesn’t mean slipping into a strait-jacket; it doesn’t mean getting married to a diet ’till death us do part’; it just means making free, thought-through choices when the desire pops up. With the understanding that it’s ok to make mistakes and experiment.

      So… I’m taking away the liberating thought: No drama, Llama! And yayyy: each meeting with my addictive desire means another chance to choose freely how I’m going to respond, and to contribute to rewiring those neural pathways. One baby-step at a time. Freedom!

      Thank you, Gillian!

    • #12391
      Sophia G.
      Participant

      HI Caroline, It’s great reading your post. Thank you. It’s wonderful that you had that penny dropping experience.

      Hooray for you !!!

      And I’m so glad you wrote this, as it really resonates with me too.
      I’m having the same realisation, a bit different in some details but essentially the same, because I ‘get it’ too.

      You have progressed more than me because it looks like you have got the whole bundle happening at once, and I’m still not quite so entirely relaxed with it yet.

      But almost as much!

      I need to fine tune and experiment now –
      – I’ve got into the habit of applying the Technique every time I think about eating, whereas Gillian said not to do that, and actually I don’t need to actively apply it every time, or it’ll be a burden. Sometimes I should be able to just quickly make my choice. And deciding what to then do. So that’s a mistake I’ve been making, but it’s ok, it’s just a matter of realising and fine tuning. Similar to what you said about mistakes and experimenting.

      I find the videos very useful for things like that. I’ve spent a lot of time re-viewing them and looking at my notes.

      Also, when I read your post, it was really useful, because it makes me realise that I’ve usually not been proactively remembering that it’s ‘just for now’ – despite hearing it a hundred times! Tho I have remembered sometimes. That in itself makes things feel more relaxed. So that’s another thing I’ll address from now on.

      But I’m pretty much ‘there’ which is amazing to me, because since the early days of this course I’ve been eating in a way that I feel good about, making some mistakes which are mainly just practical things, and experimenting a bit.

      It’s been really relatively pain free and getting easier all the time. Completely unlike horrible horrible dieting. Or intermittent fasting which I did in diet mode for a while.

      Everything you say resonates with my own experience. It’s fabulous, isn’t it.

      Lucky us !!! It seems miraculous. It just goes to show that if you persevere, against the odds, and keep going, you can succeed. We have all found our way here which is really great, and we did it like finding a pin in a haystack perhaps. Through sheer hard work, I think, for most of us.

      I will add that I’ve done Gillian’s methods before, on and off over a long time actually, but somehow I couldn’t quite really implement it before. I read her books, and I went on her London seminars twice. But now it’s clicked for me, which I think may be because of this course format (as well as me actually implementing the techniques including baby steps sometimes.) It’s a really useful format, with the videos which she has of course carefully chosen the best, clearest ones. I’ve done courses in the past which were largely video based and they can be remarkable. It’s like the person, the teacher, is right there. Spelling it out and then it seems so obvious once you have taken it in.

      I said at the second week Webinar that I don’t trust it yet, or myself, and Gillian said I should trust myself, and she’s right. I’m working on that now, but I almost trust myself. After so many years of struggling, I can hardly believe it.

      At the end of the day, it’s really very simple. It’s like learning to drive, when you pull some things/ideas together and practise and then it clicks. But more simple than learning to drive actually. It needs a change of mindset.

      I already knew the general idea of changing one’s neural pathways, which helped, though not in such detail. Having the science explained is really good: –

      – I love to have my brain on my side, my PFC, after all these many years of battling my limbic brain. It’s so good to be able to use my PFC to calm down the shout-y psychopath-like limbic brain. And to learn all these practical techniques and detailed theory for doing that.

      Yes, no drama llama. But I’m also pretty excited in a gentle calm way. I know what you mean about that. It just really works, in a way which would I think feel normal if it wasn’t so new to me.

      And there’s still two weeks to go, Caroline, so we’re going to learn much more too. I remember only a little from the previous weekends I did, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of the course. And knowing I can hang around here for a year – or more – for support and solid-inspiration.

      Thanks again for your good news. x

    • #12395
      Gillian
      Moderator

      A wonderful post, Caroline – thank you.

      I know it can be quite exciting when the penny drops about free choice, and it certainly changes everything.

      Some people get it, and then later on they forget. So this post of yours may be helpful for you too, later.

    • #12398
      Carla
      Participant

      Hi Caroline, it’s wonderful to read your post snd to see how our posts and to see how using this forum can help us all do much. I wasn’t sure wether to post as sometimes I’m so unclear but in asking for help and with Gillians replies it hhh we lost us all. I think I too am grasping the concept of choice which is very exciting and also eye opening because once you make a choice it suddenly becomes ridiculously easy! Well sometimes!

    • #12407
      Caroline
      Participant

      Thank you for replying, Sophia and Carla and Gillian!

      Sophia, I’m so happy for you, that you’re finding it all coming together! It sounds like you’ve really put a lot of work into this, and now the rewards are coming through! It’s encouraging, isn’t it, to realise that we don’t have to be perfect at implementing all this. So realistic and human. Hooray for baby steps! And hooray for your discoveries and perseverance, Sophia! Yayyy!!!

      Carla, Yes, this forum is brilliant isn’t it. As well as learning huge, life-changing amounts from Gillian, I’m getting so much from reading other people’s posts, and it’s lovely that we’re all able to help each other. What you say about choice being ‘ridiculously easy — well, sometimes!’ resonates with me. It isn’t easy all the time, I find, and that’s normal. It’s just how life is. I reckon that any change which recognises that things aren’t always easy is much more likely to last, because it’s based on facts and not on illusion. I guess lots of us have tried diets which have seemed easy and perfect at first, for a day or even a week or two, but then became impossible to sustain. Hopefully Gillian’s realistic, baby-steps, take-each-eating-choice-as-it-comes approach is one which we can all hang onto—most of the time, anyway!

      I do massively appreciate how Gillian’s teaching is always down to earth and honest. No magic bullets, just thoroughly-researched wisdom and practical suggestions. Gillian, I’m really grateful for your point that I (along with many other people) may well forget this insight about free choice, as life goes along. So thank you for suggesting that it’s a good idea for me to hang onto this post and refresh/remind myself when necessary. And I think it may well be especially helpful for me to be reminded that this was something that I actually experienced, not just something that someone else told me. So… again, yet more thanks!

    • #12413
      Sophia G.
      Participant

      Hi Caroline, Thanks a lot for saying that. I got carried away and I was later embarrassed at being so very enthusiastic, and also for such a long thing I wrote. And like a walking talking advert. I felt pretty bad for maybe over-sharing too. I hope we are all doing well. I want to hang on to this post too, like you are, to remind myself if and when I slip. I’m sure I’ll have bad times, including when I meet new cues. I expect family get togethers to be challenging, when all this covid crisis is behind us. Cheers.

      • #12442
        Caroline
        Participant

        Hi Sophia! Don’t be embarrassed: it was lovely and encouraging to read what you wrote. And I reckon one of the good things about this course and the Forum is that we can all be honest about things which often feel rather difficult, and which we wouldn’t discuss elsewhere. I find it really helpful to read what people have shared. Your post didn’t feel at all over-the-top to me! Thank you again for writing it!

        Yes, I too can see that there’ll be times when I’ll forget the freedom that I’m discovering here, and especially when there are new cues and particular temptations. Birthday-at-the-end-of-this-month, I’m looking at you!!! 😜

        I’m so grateful to have all the material from this eye-opening course, and to be able to go and re-watch videos, look at the exercises again, and re-read what people have written on the Forum. It’s all inspiring!

        So… yayyy!!! Go you, and Go all of us! 😃 Here’s to another week of discoveries and experimenting with eating and learning and making mistakes and picking ourselves up and learning from them too! 👍🏻

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