July 20, 2020 at 2:08 am #8743Anne MarieParticipant
I am truly enjoying this class and am so glad I found you all and Gillian of course. The community aspect of this course is extremely powerful for me because I feel like I’ve been “doing this alone” for so many years and now I’m surrounded by people who really “get it.”
So my husband went to Chicago on Thursday to visit his son and his family for 5 days. He comes home tomorrow night, and yes we will quarantine/stay away from each other for 14 days or until he gets a COVID test, because he got on a plane!
Here’s the thing… usually when he goes away and I am here alone (it doesn’t happen a lot really) OR when I go away by myself on retreat (this does happen more frequently), I get myself into this strange alternate universe of eating and eating and eating. It’s so strange because he does not care one whit what I eat, he’s not controlling my food. In fact, he is legally blind so I am the one doing all the shopping and cooking (with input from him, of course). But when he leaves or when I go away by myself, it’s like something in my brain goes, “Vacation! Time to eat what we want and who cares!” And I would start the time away by going to the grocery store and stocking up on all kinds of binge foods- cookies, cake, salty foods, you name it. I would get take out most nights from all my favorite places.
BUT… this weekend since he’s been gone, I haven’t done ANY of that. I’ve had simple, light meals and very little snacking in between. And the difference is this course. I went thru all 6 weeks in May/June but I only just watched the videos. And these last two weeks I have rewatched all the videos related to weeks 1 and 2- motivation and choice- and did all the exercises/journaling, and even read the chapters in Gillian’s two books about motivation and choice, taking copious notes, and then notes on the notes (LOL), absorbing it as best as I can.
And I have taken a stand on putting these things into practice. I haven’t done any of it perfectly, but it is starting to be something I turn to more often than turning to food and my AD. I can’t begin to tell you how surprised and delighted I am about this!
And I cannot say loudly enough how AMAZED I am! I didn’t even set out for this to happen. I felt anxious on Thursday when he left, because I thought about what has always happened in the past when I am here alone. BUT I kept doing what Gillian has been telling us to do… Focusing on my non-weight motivation many times a day. How will I feel after I eat this? I’m wanting cookies but there are no cookies in the house. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have cookies. I CAN have as many cookies as I want… I can drive 1 mile to the grocery store and get as many bags of them as I want. …. but do I really want them? Hmmm… you know what? I really don’t because I won’t feel good a few hours after I eat them and my acid reflux will come back. But I can get some tomorrow if I want them then. Brilliant! This went on all weekend, and not necessarily about the cookies, but other foods as well, and even my addictive desire to get in the car and drive to the grocery store (less than 1 mile) and “Stock up” on junk.
I don’t know if this makes sense or if anyone else ever has experienced this Vacation Mode Eating Syndrome (for lack of a better term!)… but I am telling you, Motivation and Choice have made a huge difference for me. And it’s happening naturally more and more as I practice what Gillian is teaching.
I feel so happy and excited!
July 20, 2020 at 2:24 am #8744
Wow Anne Marie, that’s HUGE. Bravo to you and thank you for sharing it here. You are truly making a very big change and your excitement is palpable.
I’m inspired by the new commitment you have made to non-weight motivation, to returning to that question about how will you feel after eating something, and then back to choice…
I overate emotionally tonight and am suffering now – regret, physical discomfort, etc. And I know how that simple question, asked at numerous moments before I chose to overeat, would have resulted in a very different outcome.
July 20, 2020 at 9:57 am #8746GillianParticipant
This is great, Anne Marie, and thanks for telling us about it.
I love that you called it Vacation Mode Eating Syndrome. Many people have that, usually when staying in all-inclusive hotels, but it’s nothing other than another conditioned association.
Get your husband to go away maybe a couple more times and that conditioning will have faded away, because it’s a) being experienced and b) not reinforced.
I often hear that people are surprised when the technique works, and it always brings a smile to my face. Just like any other tool, it works when you use it. I love your comment, “I kept doing what Gillian has been telling us to do.” Yes, truly AMAZING!
July 20, 2020 at 3:58 pm #8755Renée LParticipant
Thank you for sharing your insights and amazing experience. What I found especially helpful in what you shared is that there was no “magic” change that helped you. What helped you and has been helping you is perseverance, patience and repetition with Gillian’s concepts.
This was so helpful for me to read because even though I know better, there is still part of me that is searching/hoping (actively or not) for a “magic quick fix” to this problem. Even if I don’t act on it, I think to some degree I will default to this way of thinking.
I have experienced your Vacation Mode Eating Experience (love the phrase!) but it comes in the form of excitement when my husband takes the kids upstairs for bath time after dinner. My brain will say, “Yippee! Now you are alone and can reward yourself! Let’s go to the snack cabinet and find something naughty and delicious to unwind with…and you can sneak eat it which will give you the thrill that you are looking for!”
However, after staying with this feeling and not acting on it, I can see that what I really want is to relax. But the association is still there with the events; the cue for this pattern is that once they leave and go upstairs to start the bedtime routine, my brain sees this as an “exciting opportunity” to eat highly rewarding foods as a “treat” for my long day…and searching for the food in the snack cabinet is “thrilling” and I think I am “getting away with something”. I should change my name for this to Bath Time Mode Sneak Eating Experience…ha ha ha.
The good news is that I rarely act on this anymore but the cues/triggers are still there. Sometimes I feel “caught off guard” by my AD when these feelings surface, but just like you Anne Marie I have been practicing techniques to stay with my AD and let is pass, and it does! And now, when my husband rounds up the kids for bath time, I can prepare myself for the feelings and work through them, reminding myself that this is what I really want: to feel in control and lessen the grip of AD in my life.
Yesterday, I too, had a huge victory. We were celebrating my niece’s birthday and I had every intention to NOT eat the ice cream cake because I wanted to wake up feeling energized and with a stable mood. I had very little conflict about this decision because I was able to stay with myself and remember my motivations. Happy to report that I woke up feeling great physically and mentally as well as so proud!
Here’s to a great week to everyone and THANK YOU Anne Marie for sharing your insights and experiences. I need to be reminded of what really works so that I can focus my precious energy on real solutions!
July 20, 2020 at 4:04 pm #8756
Renee that is so powerful to read. Again I love that you are expecting the AD to come, and you work through it with intention, because you are focusing on waking up feeling energized and in a stable mood. And I love especially this from your post, “What I found especially helpful in what you shared is that there was no “magic” change that helped you. What helped you and has been helping you is perseverance, patience and repetition with Gillian’s concepts.”
As I shared above, yesterday I had the AD and chose to act on it and I had a terrible night and woke up with low energy, mood, and out of my integrity.
And reading both of your successes here is helping me remember that my WHY – sleeping well, feeling in alignment, waking with energy…I can give that to myself tonight!!
July 20, 2020 at 4:54 pm #8762LouiseParticipant
Oh I loved your post Renee. I am a ‘secret eater’ too, and have been known to stockpile chocolate in my bedroom when visitors are due so that I can eat it in secret rather than when my visitors are present. You are so right that the secrecy and ‘getting away with it’ is so much a part of the addictive desire.
Sorry you have had it tough Julie. I am struggling a bit today,and I know this is because my compliant mind has interpreted some of the nutritional advice on last night’s webinar as ‘instructions to follow’. My AD has been savage today, and I haven’t always managed to work through it, so I know how you feel.
July 20, 2020 at 4:59 pm #8763
Louise thank you for that compassionate support, and may we both be self compassionate and just return to that path of choosing health, working through AD, etc. Big hugs from Brooklyn NY.
July 20, 2020 at 10:57 pm #8765LizParticipant
Thank you, Renee, Louise, and Julie.
Renee, I loved this:
“However, after staying with this feeling and not acting on it, I can see that what I really want is to relax. But the association is still there with the events; the cue for this pattern is that once they leave and go upstairs to start the bedtime routine, my brain sees this as an “exciting opportunity” to eat highly rewarding foods as a “treat” for my long day…and searching for the food in the snack cabinet is “thrilling” and I think I am “getting away with something”. I should change my name for this to Bath Time Mode Sneak Eating Experience…ha ha ha.”
I completely relate to the relaxation eating once the kids are out of the way. It’s like a huge sigh… I’m just habituated that once they’re down, I’m relaxing with food. Wouldn’t it be awesome to just lay on the couch and NOT get up and down for food, though? 😉
Louise, I totally get eating chocolates when visitors are in town, and not in front of them. I’ve done SO much “getting away with” eating, that I’m finally noticing.
Julie, I had a night like yours last night. Horrible sleep and headache this morning.
I just had a late lunch, will be going out with friends for dinner, and shutting it down thereafter.
We deserve the benefit of sleeping well and feeling refreshed and proud the next morning!
July 20, 2020 at 11:46 pm #8768
I’m so sorry Liz and yes, we deserve to sleep well, feel amazing and proud in the morning, and sounds like you have a wonderful plan for tonight!
July 22, 2020 at 9:45 pm #8800Anne MarieParticipant
Thank you, everyone for your comments and support… I really am grateful for this community, because there really aren’t any people in my life that I can talk about this with so openly, nor are there are people in my daily life who struggle or who have struggled with overeating.
At the same time that I began doing the work on this with Gillian’s guidance, I started reading a book called “ Love yourself like your life depends on it“ by Kamal Ravikant And I find that the activities he suggests are simple and are helping me to put Gillian’s principles into action (but not all the time because I’m letting go of all or nothing thinking!)
PS Gillian suggested that I get my husband to leave a few more times so that I can practice facing the addictive desire to over eat when I am alone in the house! Which would be a really good idea except for the fact that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and it was pretty scary for me to let him get on a plane in the first place! But next month I am going to my favourite retreat centre for three days and nights by myself with lots of time for my writing and solitude… Going on retreat like this is also a time when I am by myself and the addictive desire to eat more comes up whenever I am there, so I will have a chance to work on that and I am actually looking forward to it instead of fearing it like I would have been before this course.
July 22, 2020 at 9:49 pm #8801
Anne Marie, brilliant – all of this. So glad about the book, I have it on hold from my library. And awesome about the retreat and chances to practice 🙂 Way to go.
Agreed about this community.
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