Tolerating discomfort

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    • #9059
      Louise
      Participant

      I thought ELO-ers might enjoy this extract from an article by the journalist Oliver Burkeman. Although his examples of discomfort don’t relate to eating, it reminded me of Gillian’s advice to work through discomfort, letting the desire rise and fall again, in order to achieve our greater ambitions such as better health, more energy, and self esteem:

      The capacity to tolerate minor discomfort is a superpower. It’s shocking to realise how readily we set aside even our greatest ambitions in life, merely to avoid easily tolerable levels of unpleasantness. You already know it won’t kill you to endure the mild agitation of getting back to work on an important creative project; initiating a difficult conversation with a colleague; asking someone out; or checking your bank balance – but you can waste years in avoidance nonetheless. (This is how social media platforms flourish: by providing an instantly available, compelling place to go at the first hint of unease.)

      It’s possible, instead, to make a game of gradually increasing your capacity for discomfort, like weight training at the gym. When you expect that an action will be accompanied by feelings of irritability, anxiety or boredom, it’s usually possible to let that feeling arise and fade, while doing the action anyway. The rewards come so quickly, in terms of what you’ll accomplish, that it soon becomes the more appealing way to live.

    • #9061
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Louise this is so great, for eating, for life! It really is a superpower, one that I’m ever more interested in developing!

      Can we get the link to this article?

      Thank you!

    • #9062
      Louise
      Participant
    • #9063
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      Wonderful.

      Thank you, Louise, and for the link.

    • #9064
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Thank you Louise!

    • #9066
      Renée L
      Participant

      I love this!

      Thanks for sharing, Louise.

    • #9068
      Olina
      Participant

      Wow, what a great column, thanks so much for posting!

      Discomfort intolerance is a major sticking point for me… I don’t know but I think that kindness and compassion might help. I have a shockingly vicious inner voice and am trying to learn how to tell myself nice things like “you can do this, yes it’s uncomfortable but you’ve got this, I believe in you, as soon as you’ve done it we can do something more fun” etc rather than “Come ON, why haven’t you done this perfectly already?”

    • #9069
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Olina what a better way of speaking to yourself!

    • #9070
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      Olina,

      I wonder if it’s significant that your harsh critic demands you do it perfectly?

      Have you ever thought of yourself as a perfectionist?

      The reason I ask is because that would have an effect on your ability to tolerate discomfort.

    • #9071
      Julia R
      Participant

      Gillian,
      I am curious about your comment being a perfectionist “would have an effect on your ability to tolerate discomfort”. Does that mean as a perfectionist (which I am) it is difficult for me cause if I do it right, AKA perfectly, then I have accomplished the task and should not have to deal with it again?
      Appreciate this thread cause I am struggling with Why I have to continue working on this…I have worked thru the desire a couple of times and I am thinking Why isn’t this behind me?

    • #9072
      Olina
      Participant

      Julie: thanks, it’s a learning process!

      Gillian: Spot on, how did you guess, haha? I have a big problem with perfectionism and only just beginning now to realise how MUCH of an issue it is. I’d love to know more about that and discomfort tolerance.

    • #9075
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      Julia, Olina and all,

      I plan to speak about being perfect in the Q&A webinar on Sunday so will leave it to that. Replay on this site on Monday.

      Julia R, if you want to give me a bit more detail about your “why isn’t this behind me?” question, that might be a bit different in terms of an answer and I can speak to that as well on Sunday.

    • #9201
      Louise
      Participant

      Oh good, it had slipped my mind we have a webinar on Sunday, that’s something to look forward to. I am doing ok, but some old triggers are popping up for me, now that I am back at work (I had the summer off),so both work pressure and boredom are definitely things that get me finding justifications to overeat.

      I had a couple of slip-ups, back to my old habits of snacking in the afternoons, not terrible, but definitely not what I want. The great thing is, I remembered how much happier and better I feel when I eat more sensibly (not perfectly!). That meant working through desire quite a few times, but I just kept doing that, fully, every time it came into view.

      Knowing something is an addictive desire, and naming it as such is so helpful to me – it grounds me and helps me see what’s happening instead of going into a fog of overeating.

      My question for Gillian is a bit like Julia’s – whether this ever becomes second nature, in that the triggers are there in the background but do not need so much active attention. I am guessing this does happen, because some of my old habits (like eating in the car) don’t even occur to me any more, although that was virtually a daily habit when I started the course.

      Hope to see everyone on Sunday!

    • #9203
      Julia R
      Participant

      Louise, You are an inspiration! I especially like your statement about naming the AD and having it “ground” you!

      Gillian,
      I will attempt to explain “why isn’t this behind me” comment.

      We did a one on one about three weeks ago. At that moment I was very fearful of embracing my AD. I don’t remember what the fear was but it likely does not matter because it was probably irrational. After our session I had an AD in the evening while watching TV. I told my husband I needed 6 minutes and we paused the show and I did the MP3. And my AD was gone! A few days later, on a Saturday, I had some errands to run. I was visualizing going to the health food store and buying some addictive healthy food (LOL). In my past I always did my overeating on Friday eve thru Sat so guessing that day was an old trigger for me. I asked myself is that what I really want to do? I chose to do the MP3 and I shifted. That was wonderful! Since those two occasions I have had probably two more times when I had an AD but chose not to do the MP3, but instead ate food my body did not need.

      During our session, I heard you say—-and please know, I realize this was my take away of what you said, it does not mean you actually said this: something along the lines that after I work thru the desire a couple of times I will be on my way.
      So here I am with a dieter’s mentality of wanting a silver bullet and thinking it will just be a couple of times and I won’t need to do the MP3. And probably —even though I did not think of it til now— not having another AD!

      This is very therapeutic to be writing this for a couple of reasons: I recognize I do not have a fear of embracing my AD! And also, I am being very childish/tantruming about not wanting to work thru my desire more than a couple of times. It is like you are handing me that Million dollar bill and I am snubbing you about it! And it is unreasonable to think I will never have an AD again or need the MP3. I believe you shared that you have an AD now and then. So this is normal and I should expect it, however the intensity will change significantly over time.

      I feel like the “bad” student, however I tell myself I am the one labeling this as bad. What is most important here, is the learning. I appreciate your asking about my comment! If you need more explanation let me know. Thanks Gillian!

    • #9204
      Louise
      Participant

      Thanks Julia, it is sharing things on here that as helped me a lot, plus all the materials, webinars etc.

      One thing I noticed is that you are working through your desire successfully when you use the mp3,which as you say takes 6 minutes. What I wonder is, whether it would also help if you worked through using your own words for each step? Because although I find the mp3 very supportive, and I do use it sometimes, to really own the process of working through, I need to say it in my own words.

      The words I use vary, depending on what’s uppermost in my mind, but always a variation on the five steps Gillian taught us. So sometimes it will be about where I can feel the desire, or sometimes more about choosing to feel the discomfort of wanting to overeat. And it might take anything from a few seconds to 10 minutes to really feel I am on the other side of wanting to eat.

      Finally, this might make you smile – I am always happy to wear a mask when shopping because I can mutter quietly into it to myself when I see something addictive that I want!

    • #9207
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Louise and Julia you are my comrades for sure!!

      Louise, I LOVE this: “The great thing is, I remembered how much happier and better I feel when I eat more sensibly (not perfectly!). That meant working through desire quite a few times, but I just kept doing that, fully, every time it came into view. Knowing something is an addictive desire, and naming it as such is so helpful to me – it grounds me and helps me see what’s happening instead of going into a fog of overeating.” And how funny about using the mask to mutter to yourself when you have a desire. I’m going to steal that.

      Julia, if it’s any consolation, I feel the AD after each meal, almost always. It’s just that most days it is only a little niggling thought, not too intense. Here’s something else, with practice, I feel like we just get better at calling it out, not that it goes away.

      I noticed upon returning to work after 6 months working from home that I was suddenly MUCH “hungrier” after lunch and dinner, that I had all these great “reasons” for needing more food. I was able to catch myself and saw it was just my AD which hadn’t been activated in that context in 6 months. ALL the things came up – wanting to eat more after lunch (instead of prepping for teaching or sitting in a long meeting), wanting to binge on my way home from work after a very frustrating day of work (just like I had done for months back in Jan/Feb), wanting to take extra food after dinner (well that one I know well). Anyway, in every instance I went “Oh that’s just my AD” and I am going to allow it and move on and I’ll be really glad later. And man am I glad.

      But it does take allowing for discomfort. It wasn’t “easy” in the moment every time, but it was so much easier after not having to live with the consequences of overeating.

    • #9208
      Louise
      Participant

      Wow, I love that Julie, It wasn’t “easy” in the moment every time, but it was so much easier after, not having to live with the consequences of overeating.

      The great thing is, we are getting there ladies, despite the slips, trips and falls! Julie, hearing you say how you observed your old triggers coming back, and you just acknowledging them, working through and moving on is so inspiring! And Julia, working through AD with or without the mp3 is real progress – just noticing the AD and feeling what it can be like to accept it is fantastic, and as we know, no one needs to do this perfectly 🙂

    • #9209
      Julia R
      Participant

      Louise, I appreciate your input on the MP3. I have thought about listening to it, taking notes and pulling out specific sentences. Like you said, making it my own. I will do that. It could be something I could read on my phone, especially when it is not convenient to be alone. And I like the idea of shortening it too at times—fading it from 6 minutes to 2 or 3, etc.

      Julie, I love your statement to “allow it and move on and be glad later!” Wow! I am putting that on a sticky note!

      I do have AD, not just in the evening which is the most difficult time, but often after lunch. Those times are on a scale of 1 or 2 so easy to manage. When the AD is more significant 4-5 or 8-10, that is when I need assistance.

      So grateful for the suggestions and sharing. This format that Gillian has put together allows us to “get there” and she provides the guidance we need; she does not leave us stranded on an island!

    • #9221
      Julia R
      Participant

      I think my perfectionist personality really gets in my way. I am wanting it (T&P, AD) to be done perfectly.

      I recognize my tantruming about doing the MP3 more than a couple of times is just that: a tantrum. Last night I had an AD and used Julie’s statement: “Allow it, and move on and be glad later!” And I made a shift. I am embracing the fact that it takes time and repetition and I will always have AD at times. I also took time and transcribed the MP3. It is another source for me.

      When I think of T&P, I am disappointed. In thinking about my disappointment, I realize it is because I want to get it right all the time. I know this is so unrealistic. And it would serve me so much more, if I saw the opportunity to practice T&P as something to be grateful for (since I eat several times a week)!

      I am so grateful of all the changes I have made. I am making a choice to focus on all that I have learned and accomplished vs. the mistakes. A toddler learns to walk by falling and getting up over and over! We would not have the light bulb or a plane, if the inventor gave up after a couple of attempts!

      Tomorrow’s session will be “perfect” (LOL) since I believe Gillian is addressing perfectionism! Thanks guys for all your inspiration and insight!

    • #9222
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Hi all.
      Tonight I let the AD get the better of me. Returning to teaching during COVID, not able to see my partner, my late husband’s anniversary, my daughter’s new schedule, I’m in a very heightened state of stress/alarm, and I am finding that I’m not tolerating the discomfort, then overeating, then experiencing extreme discomfort.
      I will not be live on the call tomorrow as I most likely will be taking my daughter to the cemetery or doing something with her to help her honor her father.
      I just so wish I could leave this behavior behind me.
      I’m doing a trauma training for all teachers, because the dept of ed feels we are all traumatized in some way by COVID, students and teachers. The most recent slides talked about how trauma leads to an inability to name and process emotions. Gosh I felt like an idiot as I sat with my extra plates of food while watching the training, going, yes, that’s me right now.

    • #9223
      Julia R
      Participant

      I am so sorry for you and all teachers trying to get thru this! Your ability to recognize what you are doing is huge! Remember that! Once upon a time you likely ate unconsciously. And you are always open to choosing—that may happen today or next week. Take good care!

    • #9224
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Thank you dear Julia.

    • #9225
      Louise
      Participant

      Sorry to hear this Julie – with all that to deal with, maybe working through AD was one step too much for you in that moment.

      The great thing is, all is not lost – you can go right back to working through your AD. Thank yourself for ‘not being perfect’, and be kind to yourself as you go through this difficult time.

      Sending lots of positive thoughts, as our teachers and other public service workers have had it so hard during the pandemic.

    • #9226
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Louise, thank you for your kindness and compassion. I’m going back to the beginning of ELO, and the pre-session webinar on willpower and self compassion. And your compassion and kindness here were just what I needed.

      All is not lost, I will go back to all we are learning here, as I always do.

      And thank you for your positive thoughts, everything.

    • #9227
      Mo
      Participant

      Sending hugs Julie. My daughter is a teacher in a high school and it is such a worrying time.

    • #9228
      Julia R
      Participant

      Julie,
      I believe “fear” is the worst thing for one’s immune system. This is what has helped me the most: I have an osteopathic doctor that thinks outside the box. He has recommended supplements to increase my immune system—liposomal Vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, quercetin. He recently had a 79 year old patient dx with COVID. Her 82 year old husband and diabetic son that lives with her were both negative. This doctor prescribed hydroxychoroquine, followed by budesonide. And she did very well, having no difficulty getting thru the illness. That is what I have in my back pocket if I should develop any cough/respiratory issues. This doctor says the medical setting sends folks home and has them come back when they are worse and it is too late. If you want more specific info on the supplements it may be best to do it via email since this may not be the place to share this information. As you probably know, I am not a doctor, I am just sharing what I am doing in regards to my immune system and sharing my doctor’s comments. I have been thru chemo and radiation and my husband is on blood pressure meds so we are both high risk along with our age. That is why I am proactive, making the best plan, and then letting go. Also, please know, I honor your decision if this is not information that resonates with you.

      I am so grateful for all the health care and public service providers. I hope your school system has the best plan possible to keep all of you safe. You are all Heros!

    • #9229
      Julie Mann
      Participant

      Mo, thank you and may your daughter stay safe.
      Julia, I very much appreciate this AND I actually have always taken the supplements you mentioned, so great to know I’m well armed.
      And truly good for you to protect yourself as much as you can, for now and always. Being in the best of health – reducing inflammation via our food choices, the supplements, reducing stress, all of it.
      Deeply grateful,
      Julie

    • #9230
      Julia R
      Participant

      Yes, it goes beyond supplements. Take good care!

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