Reflections on Abstinence and Follow up From Yesterday

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    • #8194
      Renée L

      Hello everyone!

      I was only able to catch the last 10 minutes of yesterday’s webinar and wanted to follow up with my comment about abstaining from foods and following a VERY structured food plan for over a decade. The point I was trying to get across was that the act alone of abstaining from certain foods and/or eating a certain way (portions, etc) did not heal my Addictive Desire. I can’t remember where Gillian references this in her modules, but she states quite frankly that the only way to heal the AD and change our brains is to work through the desire (allow it and not act on it) and that the passing of time will NOT resolve this for us. So take it from me and my own personal experience of not having eaten certain things for 10 years, (and eating in a certain way) that white knuckling/avoiding/distracting myself never brought me peace of mind, balance or the self-trust that I was looking for.

      I decided to leave and look for other solutions (not quick fixes or fad diets but real healing) and this has also been a process for me because other things I tried never really got to the heart of the problem, which was what to do about the craving? Like many of you have also shared, years of therapy helped me in many ways, but never helped in the moments I needed most: when the desire overcame my rational mind, despite “knowing better”.

      Needless to say I am so excited that I found Gillian (oddly enough through reading a book review on Amazon…not about one of Gillian’s books, but a different book about intuitive eating; the reviewer actually recommended Gillian’s book over the one I was considering…so happy I listened and bought “Eating Less”). I can only speak for myself and say that for me, someone who has been searching for ways to heal myself (I’ve known for years the problem lies in my brain between my ears!) I feel so relieved knowing there is a different way to live.

      I have a lot of learning and practicing to do, and have had some emotional ups and downs since starting this course (fear/doubt) but I am taking Gillian’s suggestion to take this leap of faith and test it out, just one eating experience at a time. I have had great success when applying her technique while my desire is present (mostly at dinner) and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the urges passed and the desire faded.

      Last night I did not honor Times and Plans; I did not overeat but I did engage in eating behaviors (grazing) that left me feeling disappointed in myself. But upon reflection, I was able to spot where my “fleeting thoughts of AD” came into my mind and how not taking a stand on choice (choosing/not choosing to work through them) put me back into “unconscious autopilot eating mode” that left me feeling badly about myself. Instead of a knee jerk reaction of perfectionism (thinking that I made a mistake and didn’t do it right or perfectly), I visualized myself on the “mountain” and asked myself where I thought I was in terms of degree and where I’d like to practice going in terms of progress.

      Despite what happened at dinner, I did have many victories yesterday; in the past I would have let those post dinner feelings throw me into “F-it Eating” where I would let my perfectionism devolve into uncontrolled eating and bingeing. I did NOT do that last night; huge win for me!

      And earlier in the day, we were at my MIL’s where I have always done a lot of overeating. I prepared myself for meeting my AD while there, because it typically surfaces in that situation, applied Times and Plans and worked through my desire. That was the first time for me, so I left feeling confident and excited!

      I know it will just take time to practice the concepts of choice, motivation and desire and to bring these new ideas into my relationship with food and my body. These ideas are so new and so very different from my diet thinking that it will just take time and patience to learn this new way.

      Looking forward to being on this journey with you all! Can’t thank you enough for this ground breaking work, Gillian.

      Renée from Wilmette (near Chicago)

      p.s. I heard from the people who did eat my wedding cake that it was delicious…but now I know that I can freely choose to eat or not eat the cake, not because of someone else’s rules and restrictions, but because I AM MAKING THE CHOICE FOR ME!

      • This topic was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Renée L.
    • #8200
      Julie Mann

      Wow Renee I could have written this post myself, though I think I’d take the 10 year number and perhaps make it 30+ years.
      And such huge breakthroughs.
      I love seeing how you had a little “slip” and were able to move on, rather than saying what the hell and full on binging. That has been HUGE for me of late. In fact, I would say it’s my biggest area of continuous growth. I have a “slip” from my perfectionistic way of eating and instead of beating myself up and freaking out and overeating more and more, I just move on and get on with life. I also notice that I don’t feel so well after overeating and that it doesn’t give me any benefits, but in a more loving and curious and open way instead of in a very mean and militaristic way. And as I mentioned in another thread, the kinder I am, the quicker it all eases and the faster I get right back to feeling well.

      Anyway, thanks so much for sharing all of this.

      Oh and bravo on preparing for AD before going to your MIL and using Times/Plans to help you there.

    • #8202
      Renée L

      Thank you, Julie!

      I do love your use of curiosity and kindness; if anything I could use more self-love, curiosity and kindness rather than less. I plan on adding your techniques to my daily practice, too.

      I think using kindness as a framework is such a powerful way to re-frame your perspective… I never really considered that the degree of kindness equals the degree of “recovery of self”. I’m stealing your idea, too!

    • #8203
      Julie Mann

      I’m so glad Renee. I think (forgive me for assuming) we’ve been beating ourselves up for long enough and it hasn’t worked (for over 4 decades for me…). I see so clearly that as in all other areas of my life, when I use/cultivate kindness and curiosity and humor, it all goes so much more smoothly and is much more pleasurable overall.

    • #8214
      lara w

      Wonderful post and share, Renée. I have been a part of OA since 1996, in and out of the rooms. When I stayed and “worked” the program, all went well, but it just was never sustainable for me. I love Gillian’s method: so freeing! And it goes right along with the Mindfulness meditation I’ve just started doing. Beautiful stuff!

    • #8215
      Julie Mann

      That is beautiful Lara, I love the connection between mindfulness meditation and brain change…

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