“Giving in” to overeating

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    • #7956
      Erin H

      I want to start by saying how revolutionary this course has been for me! I was on a path towards recovery when I started and I think I was just completely ready. Over the past few weeks I have experienced some overeating but nothing to the degree it used to be – I have been able to stop before it was painful, which may not seem like much but has really improved my quality of life.

      Choice has been so meaningful. When I have fleeting desires I’ve been able to talk to myself and remind myself “You CAN have those chocolates, etc., whenever you want and as much as you want!” and that does the trick sometimes, without even bringing in the outcomes. If it’s a stickier thought then I remind myself of the outcomes…

      Anyhow, I have a problematic behavior that I’m particularly struggling with. As much as I tell myself I have a choice, and keep repeating it while I’m overeating, I notice there’s a feeling of “giving in” when I do overeat. For example, yesterday after dinner, I intended to have a dessert that I knew I’d feel okay about, but instead I found myself drawn to eat directly from cereal boxes, then trail mix containers while standing in my kitchen. I reminded myself that I CAN have them whenever I want, as much as I want, but that I wouldn’t feel very good the next day. I felt the desire to keep going, though (and I did). I don’t know if it was necessarily rebellious but it felt like I’d been holding back and could finally just eat the way I wanted to.

      I wonder if it’s an issue of giving lip service to choice and that I just need to keep practicing until I believe it more? I’m curious to know your opinion Gillian. Thanks so much!

    • #7957

      Hello Erin, I noticed you said that your desire is sometimes just ‘fleeting’ and I related to that as mine is just the same, whereas I expected to be overwhelmed by desire.

      I don’t know if it will be useful to you, but when I get that fleeting desire, it is sometimes for something quite innocuous such as a second helping of a healthy salad, or a piece of fruit. For me, recognising that as addictive desire has helped. I have stayed with the feeling of wanting, and taking deep breaths, telling myself it is ok to eat it, but also that I will make more progress if I decide not to eat it, just this time. Just because it is healthy, doesn’t mean I have to eat it!

      I don’t know why, but this practice on low-level craving has helped me when faced with a very strong desire too, for something that is unhealthy or that is a habit, such as eating peanut butter from the jar.

      So The deep breaths,and saying the same things to myself, giving myself permission to, but also knowing I don’t have to eat it, often work for really addictive food as well, I think because of the practice on imperceptible desire.

      I hope this helps, will be interested to hear what Gillian has to say.

    • #7978

      Erin, I wonder if the overeating you are doing is only a problem because you think it should all be perfect now?

      Is it possible to see your current overeating as mistakes maybe, but not much more than that? You were in the kitchen with some readily available and highly addictive substances; I’m not sure that means you have difficulty with choice.

      Sometimes it can take a while before you really take a stand on any one type of behaviour.

      Please let me know, Erin, if I haven’t quite understood what’s happening for you.

    • #8001
      Erin H

      That makes sense. Perfection could definitely be at play here.

      I guess I was thinking that if I truly believed I could choose to eat those items whenever I wanted, that I wouldn’t feel compelled to do so. Wishful thinking that I could skip the part of feeling unfulfilled desire!

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