Question for Gillian!

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    • #8757
      Renée L
      Participant

      Hello Gillian and Everyone!

      So sorry I missed the Webinar yesterday, otherwise I would have asked this question as a follow up to Gillian’s comment about AD almost always surfacing after dinner and in the evenings.

      My question is WHY? Is there something about this time of the evening? In all of your research, have you come across anything that might explain why this time of day, especially after an evening meal, most of us experience and struggle with AD?

      I’m mainly asking out of curiosity to know if there is anything else behind this. Now that I know WHAT to do about it when it surfaces is the best course of action, but I still would like to know why.

      Thank you!

    • #8758
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Following

    • #8767
      Liz
      Participant

      Following

    • #8769
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      I’ve not come across research about this, but my guess is it’s part of our circadian rhythm: waking at first light, working through the day, and then preparing ourselves for our next sleep. It makes sense that we see the time after the evening meal as the time for us to unwind, time for relaxation and recreation. It’s when we would have sat around the fire, telling stories. It’s important for our biology for us to go to bed as relaxed as possible, as we’ll get a deeper and longer sleep.

      That inherent need to unwind is the cue, and what got easily conditioned to it is some highly addictive, modern, manufactured and processed food, which often includes sugar. And, of course, alcohol, TV… whatever.

      Alongside and together with this, addictive desire right at the end of a meal can be a direct result of the pleasure you got from that meal. You enjoyed it so much, you want more of it! Of course you do! That’s why some of the “old timers” in OA advise only eating bland food. I find that useful to remember; when I want more I think: I really enjoyed that, didn’t I?

    • #8770
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      I thought it might be good for me to add that overeating in the evening – especially but not only refined carbs such as sugar – doesn’t in fact make us better prepared for sleep. Quite the reverse.

      That is an inevitable problem with any addiction; you create a conditioned association to a cue (addictive desire) and then automatically “make sense” of it (addictive mindset).

      The cue we’re talking about here is: “it’s time to unwind” and the mindset could be: “I deserve it” and/or “I need it” and/or “nobody’s looking” and/or “it won’t matter”… etc.

    • #8773
      Renée L
      Participant

      As always, I appreciate your insight and thank you!

    • #8777
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Revising my post.

      Just read part 1 of what you wrote.

      Firstly, I totally agree that addictive desire comes at the end of my meals, much more strongly at the end of dinner. AND that on days when I lean into desire and work through it, I often say, “that hit the spot!” at the end of my smaller meal, which helps me honor the fact that I enjoyed it and am about to work through my AD.

      I also agree that overeating at night leads to horrible sleep, even though in the moment I may have a conditioned response to doing it as a way to unwind. For me, overeating ALWAYS makes me anxious, uncomfortable, and ruins my sleep.

      So breaking this conditioned association is so important to me, as is the conditioned association I’ve made between eating when stressed or upset.

      Thanks Gillian.

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Julie Mann.
    • #8786
      Jessica
      Participant

      This was a very good question! Love thinking of the WHY behind something!

    • #8791
      Liz
      Participant

      Thank you for this thread. It’s very pertinent to me.
      Gillian, you describe my AD perfectly below.

      “I thought it might be good for me to add that overeating in the evening – especially but not only refined carbs such as sugar – doesn’t in fact make us better prepared for sleep. Quite the reverse.

      That is an inevitable problem with any addiction; you create a conditioned association to a cue (addictive desire) and then automatically “make sense” of it (addictive mindset).

      The cue we’re talking about here is: “it’s time to unwind” and the mindset could be: “I deserve it” and/or “I need it” and/or “nobody’s looking” and/or “it won’t matter”… etc.”

      The sugar and carbs at night PHYSICALLY make me uncomfortable for bed but I admit my mind RESTS (temporarily) because the AD was satisfied. I am working on feeling the desire. It’s getting better but not perfect.
      Last night after dinner, I thought “I need chocolate after that spicy meal.” I gave in, and it lead to a lot of other stuff.
      I do awesome not listening to the AD in the day, but I have 20 years of overeating at night that I need to work through.

      On Sunday’s Q&A I’m grateful when Gillian said that the desire will NEVER go away (or she wouldn’t have a job!), but working through it is essential. This was a good reminder because I keep thinking “oh man I just want to never feel this.”

      I love Gillian’s program. This is the real work for me to do. I’ve spent so many years doing programs that reinforce my Addictive Desire. With intermittent fasting, I’ve made it into “okay, don’t eat all day, and now I can just overeat at night.” When I count macros, I think “okay, just save all the macros for night so I can have enough to overeat.” This applies to calorie counting too.

      But with Gillian’s work, we are getting to the ROOT of this all. THank you.

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Liz.
    • #8793
      Louise
      Participant

      It’s fascinating Liz, all the different strategies we use! I haven’t ever tried fasting – it would send me straight into compliance and from there to rebellion. however, I do eat a bit earlier in the evening now, between 5 and 6pm, and as I now have brunch at around 10.30am, that leaves me digesting for roughly 15 hours. It doesn’t feel like fasting, so far anyway! Maybe your fasting earlier in the day is giving the addictive part of your brain a justification for overeating in the evening?

      I did see that you say you ‘don’t listen’ to your AD during the day. In my experience, not attending to and welcoming the AD whenever it pops up means it’s likely to come back and bite you!. I find myself working through desire a lot during the afternoons, and I believe that has led to less overeating in the evening, because every time I work through it, it makes the pathway to my pre-frontal cortex stronger.

    • #8794
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Liz, what great realizations. I love this thread and your posts.
      And Louise, you always have such wisdom to share. This struck me as super smart: “not attending to and welcoming the AD whenever it pops up means it’s likely to come back and bite you!. I find myself working through desire a lot during the afternoons, and I believe that has led to less overeating in the evening, because every time I work through it, it makes the pathway to my pre-frontal cortex stronger.”

      My aha from this Louise, is that the more you practice in the day, the more you are able to respond with confidence later in the day when it might feel “harder” or the AD is “louder”.

    • #8795
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      Liz, just a thought, but have you – or are you – approaching dealing with your nighttime overeating in an all-or-none way? Either you do all of your overeating or you do none of it?

      This comes from your comment about the chocolate after dinner, “I gave in, and it lead to a lot of other stuff.” Please see Week 6 for dealing with an “all-or-nothing” mindset.

      Have you thought about forming an intention to do LESS overeating at night? How about thinking, when you’re finally off to bed, “I ate 2X, 3Y and a Z (instead of 5X, 7Y, 4Z and a W) and I’m pleased because that’s a good step in the right direction.” How about thinking ahead of time what it might actually look like in order to create that kind of result, where it’s not perfect, but a clear improvement?

      Of course you accomplish this with any tools you want to use: Times, Plans, Working Through. And in time, you move on from there – without, of course, aiming for a permanent state of perfection.

    • #8796
      Louise
      Participant

      Yes, exactly Julie, it does seem to work like that! I don’t get strong addictive desire in the evenings as much as I used to, although in the past, that was when I did most of my overeating. I seem to have broken that particular spell. I rarely think about eating after my evening meal any more: it just doesn’t feature much these days. If it did, I would work through it.

      I remember watching a favourite TV series in the evening a few months ago and really working hard through my AD because it was my habit to have something like a chocolate bar or cake while watching it. Boy, was that tough! But watching that series has never triggered the AD again: it feels as if the association between it and overeating was broken that day and it has never returned.

    • #8798
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Louise, I cannot wait to tell you that I’ve broken the spell of eating extra food in the evening!! That is my dream!!! Huzzah for you!! That is so inspiring to hear. And if you can do it, we all can!!!

    • #8799
      Anne Marie
      Participant

      Thank you everyone for your comments and sharing on this thread. I just finished re-watching and taking notes on the main video for week three… Addictive desire, so I can really relate to what is being said here!

      Louise, you really hit the nail on the head when you talked about “breaking the spell…” I’m a writer, so words really make a difference to me and calling it that is really helping me with this.

      Also, I also have been in the habit/Under the spell of eating well watching certain TV shows and movies… It helped me immeasurably to know that I am not the only one who is limbic system is cued by certain TV programmes! This is something I am working on in the evenings, and I have already broken the spell of doing my paperwork in the afternoon as well watching TV and eating junk! One little thing at a time, right?!

      Anne Marie in MA

    • #8804
      Louise
      Participant

      Great progress Anne Marie! What I love about your post is the way you have kind of corralled that behaviour of doing your paperwork, while eating and watching TV, and seeing it for what it is, and best of all, changing it. Hurrah for you!

      Yes most definitely one step at a time – some of the things I thought I would never be able to stop doing have just evaporated – like eating croissants for breakfast on Sundays as a treat. I thought I would never be able to change that habit, but after one or two powerful encounters with my desire, it just doesn’t occur to me these days to fetch croissants from the shop, which is literally across the road from me. And at some point in the next month or so, I will eat a croissant, so as not to be perfect, and see how that feels. I know that if it sparks up my AD, I will be able to work through it.

      This forum is a great support and I am finding everyone’s posts so helpful 😃😃

    • #8805
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      So good! Love reading this!!

    • #8806
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      I meant to say I love all these images of breaking the spell, evaporating behaviors, unlinking food to other activities. It’s so wonderful to see all the ways our lives are opening up.

    • #8814
      Liz
      Participant

      Gillian, thank you for your brilliant advice and insight into my all/nothing thinking. You nailed it for me and I DO have so much perfectionist eating to work through.
      Last night I took your insight and put it to work and was okay with a little after dinner. It wasn’t ALL or NOTHING.
      I feel hopeful!IMPROVEMENT!
      I’m in the “IN CHARGE” lessons in the course and really taking each one in. I have a goal of one/day (about all I have time for right now!).
      I’m so grateful for the this content and am excited to get to Week 6.

    • #8815
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Woohoo, go Liz!

    • #8816
      Julia R
      Participant

      Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness, which includes the unity of mind, body, emotions, and spirit. Internationally known for her empowering approach to women’s health and wellness, Dr. Northrup teaches women how to thrive at every stage of life.

      In her book “The Wisdom of Menopause” 2001, pages 205-06 she states: “Most peri menopausal women do best when they keep their blood sugar stable throughout the day by eating frequent, smaller meals. I recommend a snack around four in the afternoon, right during the time when blood sugar, mood, and serotonin tend to plummet. This snack can keep you from overeating at night when you get home. (If you don’t, you’re apt to begin your evening meal the minute you get home and then end it when you go to bed, in a desperate attempt to make up for a full day’s worth of deprivation).”

      I believe Gillian has said, we start doing something for one reason, then continue it for another. Those of us no longer in a peri menopausal stage may be continuing to hear the bell ring.

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