Struggling at the supermarket

Home Forums ELO Forum Struggling at the supermarket

Viewing 8 reply threads
  • Author
    • #12466
      Karen W

      To Gillian
      I understand and can see the sense in all I have learnt about -:
      Addictive Desire
      Neural Pathways
      Times and Plans
      Mindset etc
      And I get that the changes I want to make are not going to be instant and I have to keep working on this but I struggle the most when I am in a shop. Yesterday for example my eye fell on a packet of creamy toffees that I know I love to eat. I stood for a while considering if I should buy them or not. I told myself that I could buy them or leave them, it was my choice and if I bought them I could eat a few per day or eat them all in one go.

      My brain tells me that if I leave them in the shop I’m being prohibitive and Im restricting myself and that’s not helpful. So I bought them and decided to eat 4 whilst walking home. I did this but once I got home I wanted to eat another 2. I considered the outcomes and decided that as I’d burnt calories walking, eating the toffees wouldn’t make me put on weight, because of the time I was eating them it wouldn’t affect my appetite and spoil my evening meal and they wouldn’t affect my digestion system. I also considered the fact that sugar isn’t a healthy thing to consume but I rarely eat sugar because I prefer savoury food and this relatively small amount of sugar wouldn’t have a negative effect on my body.

      So I ate 2 more, then 2 more then 2 more. I didn’t eat them all which is unusual for me so that was a positive but saying that, today I feel that if I’d eaten them all yesterday, I wouldn’t be thinking about them today and if I eat the remaining toffees today I will have that lovely taste in my mouth and I will want more today and feel deprived because there will be none left in the house.

      Before I bought them I considered that the outcome of eating all of them would be regret but I suppose at the time (in the shop) I am able to convince myself that I’m strong enough to just eat a few.

      I get that the more I fight this, the more opportunities I have to create new neural pathways in my brain and have better control but choosing not to buy them feels like I’m restricting myself and just avoiding the root of my problem.HELP.

    • #12467

      Hi Karen, just catching up on the forum in my tea break and your post caught my eye.

      I so recognise that struggle in the supermarket! I have had many occasions where I have actually put my favourite addictive food in my trolley while still facing my addictive desire, just to prove to myself that I can buy it. I found the MP3 player that Gillian has recorded very useful, and had it on my phone, so I could listen to it when shopping. I always felt under pressure to make a decision quickly when shopping, and Gillian’s calm voice helped me to slow down and think it through.

      Consequently, I had some of my biggest breakthroughs in the supermarket, standing next to my favourite addictive food and really thinking through my choices. The choices are for now, of course, but I was really aware that this was food I didn’t need. Once I took that phrase on board, I found it easier to accept the uncomfortable feeling of really, really wanting something, rather than finding rationalisations for buying and eating it – so for example thinking you can compensate by exercising. I would say for sure that is your tricky addictive mindset finding a really good reason to buy and eat the toffees!

      I think that remembering it was your choice to buy and eat the toffees is also useful. You exercised the choice to eat them, and how do you feel about that now? Are you ok with it, or would you rather make a different choice next time? That’s how I look at it if I have eaten something addictive.

    • #12468


      “…choosing not to buy them feels like I’m restricting myself and just avoiding the root of my problem.”

      The key for you with this is recognising the addictive quality of the ‘food’ in question, which tends to keep addictive desire going, rather than satisfied. In addition to this, it’s tough to find any good motivation not to eat the 2 more (and the 2 more… etc). What’s at stake, really, when you’ve had 2 and you want 2 more? And then 2 more?

      My suggestion is for you to make an “all or none” choice at the shop, either to eat them all after purchasing or to leave them there on the shelf. This is acknowledging their addictive nature: when they are in my house I eat them all.

      A big part of your difficulty is seeing this as a potential restriction and feeling deprived if they are not in your house. I have two suggestions.

      First of all, whenever you fear restriction and deprivation, you address that by asserting your freedom to do whatever you want to do with your own life. (Although having sugar not be highly addictive is probably not an option.)

      And second is to approach this problem by buying them less often, and especially looking for non-weight motivation based on your “all or none” choices (i.e. one option I have is to eat them all and if there are a few left they will continue to call out to me even the next day, and that’s what I’m choosing along with the great taste and texture of them).

    • #12469
      Sophia G.

      Hi Karen, thanks, and thanks Louise. I loved your idea to put your best most terrifying goodies in the trolley to prove u can buy them. I’ll do that next time I go shopping ta ! Also for the last paragraph you wrote. Something about the way you said it made its way thru my thick skin. Ta! 😺

      • #12472
        Jasper G.

        But, remember Gillian said “you don’t have to do it to prove it”

      • #12475

        Good point Jasper – I should add that usually, once I have worked through the desire, the product goes back on the shelf, but it helps that it is a conscious choice on my part 😊

    • #12699

      Excellent thread. I can relate to what Karen is saying. I’ve done that a few times during the course of this programme. Sometimes buying the treat foods, “proving” to myself I have free choice. At these times I know I’ve had a rebellious nature to buying them. Then promptly eating them when at home and regretting my decision and suffering the constant pull of the treat in the cupboard/fridge.
      Yesterday I went food shopping and walked down the biscuit aisle. Almost like a deliberate act – I can eat biscuits if I want attitude. But this time I reminded myself of the consequences of buying them. I didn’t want to feel regret, anger and a foggy head after eating them and I knew that the addictive nature of biscuits would leave me wanting more. When I got home after my tea I really wished I bought them! But again I just reminded myself of why I didn’t. I think it is all trial and error. You do the best you can in that moment. Some days you will buy the treat and some days you won’t. Hopefully the majority of the time you will freely choose to leave them in the shop. I’m still working on that.

    • #12707

      I think Mo what I find useful in these situations is to actively choose to experience the uncomfortable sensation of desire, as an alternative to satisfying it. So I say to myself, ‘ I am choosing this uncomfortable feeling of craving, instead of eating the addictive food, which will only reinforce the cue and mean I am faced with this all over again next time I encounter this cue.’ I find that works better than saying ‘I am choosing not to eat it’.

      Like you, I used to walk down the biscuit aisle, telling myself I could have anything I wanted, and really believing that and taking it on board. Over the months, I stopped needing to do that, and in fact I’m surprised how few aisles I go down at all at the supermarket because so many of them are just irrelevant to how I eat now. It certainly saves a lot of time (and money) too!

      • #12721

        That’s a really good suggestion Louise. Thank you. I’ve noted down what you have said and will try to remember to use it next time my AD surfaces.

    • #12710
      Judith K

      Thanks to all for this thread. Louise, I did a copy and paste of your last reply to Mo, the paragraph about choosing the uncomfortable feeling of craving. Yes, we’ve heard that before (and we’ve heard a Lot of wonderful, pertinent info of course) and this one just hit home for me. I’ll have that on my phone to refer to when that AD surfaces again, especially in the store. Thanks for posting.

    • #12713
      Sophia G.

      I found your paragraph, Louise, about actively choosing the uncomfortable desire very useful too. Ta!

      When I’m in the grip of my addictive desire, I remember the regret I will later feel about it if I do eat the tempting thing – and also I remind myself that it probably won’t be just that tempting thing, but a whole load of other tempting things too (many of which I don’t even actually really like that much.) But that I definitely can have it if I want, which is just a plain true fact of life.

      And then I look at the way I am getting away from the neuroplastic well-worn groove if I choose to do without, as well as how good for my health.

      I try to actively consider both those two main choices/options in order to proactively activate my PFC.

      And then, or almost simultaneously, I do what seems to me like an additional choice in a way, or major-ly reinforcing my ‘good-choice’, or a second way of doing it – by recognising that I therefore will be also choosing and accepting the desire as I will still want the tempting thing for a while. (Altho sometimes in reality the uncomfortable desire then drops away quickly, after I chose to not have the tempting thing. But I do the choosing while assuming it will be uncomfortable.)

      But you say it very well, a helpful way. Ta!

    • #12725

      Gillian’s MP3 recording is brilliant for that – I have it on my phone and still sometimes play it, going through each step of acknowledging and accepting desire – and knowing the reasons for my choice.

      It’s so great seeing everyone’s progress, especially you Mo! You have stuck with this throughout and you’re pretty amazing in what you’re doing, as is everyone who is taking a stand.

Viewing 8 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.