Questioning where I went wrong

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  • This topic has 6 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 11 months ago by Jane.
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    • #10310

      Hi all and Gillian,

      I think my question might be very apt for this week’s theme of relapse. I’ve just done a few days traveling and before I went I posted how swimmingly everything was going. I had tackled a major bug bear for me and it gave me a lot of confidence. Then there were aspects of my trip that were stressful and I lost focus on stopping picking and started to mindlessly eat again. I actually think I used the vacation and my surly teenager to rationalize my loss of focus and then my eating. Now I am back home I feel a kind of resistance to stopping picking again which raises lots of red flags for me: Isn’t that just how you describe people’s attitude to getting back on a diet, Gillian?

      So I am guessing stopping picking has become a “have to” rather than a choice, and that’s why there is a resistance. I’m losing sight of the fact that I have a choice, and that also, I am only making choices to make life better, not more miserable. If picking and its great aunt overeating actually made me happy in the long run, I can choose that way of life. But all my experience tells me that just isn’t the case!

      So I guess it is about reconnecting with a sense of choice and the benefits and consequences of my choices, whatever they might be. Rationalizations aside, I was distracted by a depressed sulky teenager. That isn’t a rationalization to eat BUT it is worth recognizing how quickly my default pattern of thinking reverts to one of have to and must if I am not thinking about it. I hope to change that default just like I hope, in the long run, to eat less.

      Any insights gratefully accepted!


    • #10313

      Yes, Jane, the resistance you’ve felt is very much like getting back on a diet, the particular denial of choice being the assumption that any choice you now make to eat less will last into the future.

      You’ve established that taking control of mindless eating in the kitchen will continue (for at least a few days?). So pay attention to the “just for now” aspect of choice, so you don’t feel locked in once you’ve begun.

      As for “The Sulky Teenager” mindset, it’s often the case that a powerful mindset trips you up the first time it’s encountered, although it might be better described as something like, “my life’s a mess” or “I’m a useless mother” or something like that? I refer you to Week 5 for working with this – and of course ask any questions.

    • #10315

      I’m glad that you brought up this experience Jane as I have found myself licking the spoon…. And, Gillian, I find your guidance/suggestion to pay attention to the “just for now” aspect of choice to be quite helpful.

    • #10316

      Thanks Gillian and Laurie,

      That’s it exactly – I was making a decision that I wanted to last forever. Ugh, I so want my decisions to last forever – there is such a huge part of me that wants to get this problem over with once and for all. And I had set things up so 1) I tackled picking 2) I tackled overeating after dinner etc etc. so that I don’t move onto 2) until 1) is down.

      But I am starting to recognize that this way simply doesn’t work. Very few things work this way actually. I recognize that each run I go on, I choose whether to run a certain speed, a certain distance and that contributes to long term fitness. Making a choice forever simply doesn’t work.

      What I might do regarding my plans outlined above is spend a few days focused on choosing whether to pick or not, a few days focusing on not eating after one meal etc. That way when I move onto the next behavior I am not assuming that there is no choice in the previous step, if that makes sense.

      No, the sulky teenager was the problem here. Kids are like addictive desire – they demand attention and hijack your brain. When they are little it is constant demands, when they are older it is by withdrawing and invoking worry and concern. I can be distracted once maybe, but once I recognize that, it becomes a rationalization. So, as with all my rationalizations, I need to be aware of them first.


    • #10317

      Quick update:

      Because thinking about “Making choices for now” I just realized that I am doing this in my work also. I’ve made long term choices about the type of work I want to do, the hours I want to work, how much of a role work plays in my life. But nowadays I feel differently than I did when I make those choices and I feel oppressed, resistant and resentful. I need an update in my choices and more flexibility in the way I approach it.

      I never really realized what was going on before!

    • #10318

      The way I think about it is to form an intention to eat less, while keeping in mind that we can only choose in each moment to keep to it or not. So we can let go of knowing, predicting, assuming – and of course feel free to choose.

      And maybe if you aim for developing the skill of Working Through Desire, it doesn’t matter quite so much when and where you put that into practise. The priority isn’t necessarily what you are or are not eating (in the kitchen or at meals or wherever) as much as getting to a place where you can live peacefully alongside unsatisfied desire when it’s there.

    • #10319

      I think I get this now.

      I was going to ask a question around how to plan my progress steps. One hugely helpful thing I’ve found on this course has been the realization that I only need to take baby steps i.e. I don’t need to get it all right first time in every area of my eating and that I won’t be “fighting” the desire every minute of the day.

      But then being a planner by nature, I planned each of those baby steps one after the other (When I get step one down I move onto step 2 etc etc). As I have learned that has led to an all or nothing mindset and a lack of choice.

      Really, for me, the biggest thing is learning to practice working with and accepting my addictive desire – I want to build that muscle. If I understand what you are saying its like I could learn that skill by focusing on one behavior one week, and by focusing on another behavior another week. I get that!

      Thanks, Gillian. There is such an incredible amount of subtlety in all of this choice stuff. Or maybe it isn’t subtle at all but I am not used to seeing where I deny choice in my life. It is like I need someone else to see it for me still at times.

      This course is mind-blowing!

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