I don’t think I’m really choosing

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    • #4674
      Jen R

      Hi Gillian,

      I am struggling and doing a lot of overeating at the moment (lots of binges and lots of sugar). I have been watching some of the videos again and realised that I often feel deprived and resentful whenever I consider not eating something, and so this makes me think I still don’t really understand about choice.

      My motivation to eat less (and particularly less sugar) is that when I eat in this way I feel irritable, anxious, bloated, sluggish, I sleep badly, I have no energy…I could go on! So plenty of motivation.

      I also have experience of working through the addictive desire and seeing how it can ‘lift’ when I do work through it. I have managed to do this for short periods of time but then always lose the plot and go right back to overeating.

      So I think I must not be really choosing, because if I was I would choose to eat in a way that makes me feel good.

      I am very aware of the way my eating affects my behaviour as a parent – when I eat well I have lots of energy and enthusiasm for my daughters; when I eat badly I am irritable, tired, and that affects everyone. So I think perhaps I am feeling like I ‘have’ to stop overeating because I need to in order to be a good Mum. Similarly, I often have thoughts along the lines of ‘I have to stop overeating so I can be healthy and set a good example’, or ‘I have to stop overeating so I can lead a long healthy life and be around for my children as long as possible’.

      A few years ago I had a period of time (about a year) where I almost completely abstained from sugar, felt wonderful, and lost a lot of weight (all back on now of course). My go-to justification for overeating is that the Eating Less method is never going to work for me, and that I will have one last binge and then go back to abstaining from sugar again. Of course I know this will never work, it’s impossible to abstain forever, and then I was just complying for a while. However it is a very effective justification whenever I want to overeat (most days at the moment!).

      I wonder if you have any advice about where to go from here?


    • #4675

      Jenny, it’s a shame you didn’t post this two days ago so I could have answered in the Q&A webinar on Sunday.

      “I often feel deprived and resentful whenever I consider not eating something” – yes, this is a sure sign you are not choosing.

      “I often have thoughts along the lines of ‘I have to stop overeating so I can be healthy and set a good example’, or ‘I have to stop overeating so I can lead a long healthy life and be around for my children as long as possible’.” – this (and you may have more examples) is where your denial of choice comes from.

      I suggest you do the exercise that’s under the Webinar Replay video for Week 5.

      As with any justification for overeating, your conviction that eating imperfectly won’t work will only be effective if/when you believe it, when you buy into it instead of challenging it. This is covered in Week 5: seeing your justifications, and also seeing through them at the time.

    • #4676
      Jen R

      Thanks Gillian, I have done the exercise from week 5 and thought it would be useful to post my answers here:

      I have to stop overeating because…

      …I am ruining my health.
      …I can continue to overeat, and have poor health as a result.

      …I will end up with diabetes/heart disease or other serious problems if I carry on like this.
      …I can carry on eating this way, and will sooner or later develop serious health problems.

      …I want to set a good example to my girls, and bring them up eating healthy food.
      …I can continue to overeat, and set a poor example in my relationship with food.

      …I have poor self-esteem which will only improve if I can take control of my overeating.
      …I can continue to overeat, and will always have poor self-esteem.

      …I am fed up of feeling sluggish, bloated and heavy all the time.
      …I can continue to overeat and spend every day feeling sluggish, bloated and heavy.

      …I am fed up of constantly thinking about food, overeating and how to solve the problem. I don’t want to waste any more time on my preoccupation with food.
      …I can continue to overeat, and spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about it.

      …All the sugar I eat is terrible for my mental health, and I don’t want to lapse into depression again.
      …I can continue to overeat, and suffer from poor mental health as a result.

      …My mood is massively affected by what I eat.
      …I can continue to overeat and suffer the low moods, anxiety and irritability that does with it.

      …I don’t sleep well after overeating.
      …I can continue to overeat and suffer from poor quality sleep.

      …I am wasting so much money on food I don’t need.
      …I can continue to overeat and spend all that money on food I don’t need, rather than saving the money or putting it to better use.

      …I want to start running again but I don’t have the energy or motivation to exercise after overeating.
      …I can continue to overeat and not bother doing any exercise.

      …Stopping eating sugar is the only way to protect my mental health and physical health.
      …I can keep eating a lot of sugar and suffer from the health problems that it will cause.

      …Overeating causes me to feel irritable, have poor energy and affects my ability to be a good mum.
      …I can continue to overeat, and not be the best mum I can be because of my poor energy, low mood and irritability.

      …I don’t want to die young and miss out on all those extra years with my children/future grandchildren.
      …I can continue to overeat and potentially miss out on those extra years.

      …If I don’t stop overeating now I’m going to waste the rest of my 30s feeling miserable because of it.
      …I can continue to overeat and still be miserable because of it in years to come.

    • #4677

      Jenny, you’ve done that exercise as well – if not better – than I’ve ever seen it done.

      I wonder what you got out of it, and which of the two statements you now believe? In other words, did you figure out the “right” answer as an intellectual exercise . or did you let a genuine sense of freedom sink in?

    • #4681
      Jen R

      I did think as I was doing it that it was just an intellectual exercise; that I could figure out the ‘right’ answer by thinking logically about it.

      However, I am delighted with how I have eaten yesterday and so far today. A very small amount of addictive desire which I have been able to work through almost instantly. I am not feeling the strong addictive desire that I normally feel at this time of day, and am looking forward to a healthy dinner (rather than coming up with an excuse to go to the shop to buy rubbish tonight like I normally would!).

      So – perhaps it did sink in!!

    • #4824

      Jenny, I want to encourage you to review Week 2 when you have time, if you haven’t already done so. Take notes, especially on the practical steps I describe in the “Solution” video.

      I say this because it does seem that taking a stand on choice makes a huge difference for you – but perhaps only because you did that exercise very recently.

      What may well be required is being somewhat more proactive or assertive about this concept on an ongoing basis. It’s not a massive, time consuming task – but it does require something.

      My concern is that in time you’ll ‘drift’ back into denying choice and repeat the problem.

      The “Solution” video in Week 2 explains it all.

    • #5368

      Hi Jenny,
      i really like your post! Your exercise notes were a great reminder how much effect the feeling of choice has on us. Thanks for sharing it.

    • #5384

      Hello Jenny
      Well done on being brave enough to share your answers to the exercise publicly.
      I can appreciated where you are coming from too. We probably all feel very similar at times. Good on you for voicing your feelings.
      And thank you for helping me to find insight and not feel so alone.

    • #5385
      Jen R

      Hi Elena and Sian,

      So glad you found it useful. Choice is definitely key to this whole process for me, and I find this exercise very helpful to remind me – when I remember I do have a choice, everything falls in place.

    • #5390

      Hi Jenny
      This is so like me! Thank you. I could have written these thoughts from about the age of 20( though not as eloquently) I am 58 and mourn that I didnt find Gillian’s approach or think I had choices much sooner. I think I have had many years of believing all my eating was to cope with the stresses of life and now understand the variety of addictive desire triggers and the freedom of knowing you can deal with them all in the same simple way
      I think the older I get the more the choice outcomes are easier to identify with ( and the more how you look is really much less of a motivator) , which is great. Good luck on your choices Jenny and thank you for sharing your thoughts. It has really helped.

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