Week 3, Desire, Wow.

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  • This topic has 20 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 7 months ago by Mo.
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    • #12020
      Sophia G.

      I’m finding this Week 3 material really useful, amazingly so.

      The ‘technique’ of just noticing my experience, relaxing into and with it, and just really letting myself feel it and look at it and see what is going on, then naming it, and then making a choice. And choosing to put up with the discomfort. All that.

      It seems so simple, after all the fuss and drama and struggles I have had, to see to my amazement that (so far) the terrible monster seems so far to really be far less than I always thought – smaller, much simpler. I’m really surprised that when I look at it, at the stuff in my body including the knot and tension which are from long term anxiety about the monster, actually the monster itself is quieter than I ever realised.

      It’s almost embarrassing that I have been in the grip of this thing for so long and yet didn’t really ever look at it properly.

      In a way I have a long way to go about seeing what is going on, the subtleties of my feelings and my body, but actually I suspect it’s not that complex and difficult really, and grasping the big picture of the hunger/desire/longing/anxiety/tension takes me a long way before I in time get more subtle about it.

      I think this ‘technique’ is a massive key for me, and of course a major part of one of the 3 themes in this work that Gillian is giving to me/us. I’ve done this work before at Gillan’s weekends, and I don’t even remember doing this but I must have done.

      Since playing the Week 3 videos and the MP3, so far I’ve had a number of opportunities (surprise surprise) to try it out, and I find myself excited and keen so that I deliberately think of my fave temptations just so I can practise.

      I am going to do it for now with some things but not all, as Gillian suggests. For now, I’m going to do it at/near the end of my meals when I then want more, and also when I’m shopping. And see how all that goes.

      I’m so happy to have learned this stuff. And have been playing the videos again. Really so pleased – and relieved. Such a relief. I have a handle on it with this relax/breathe/notice/choose/accept technique. How come it seems such a simple method after my years going through hell?!

      Bringing the out of control frightening monster down to a size which so far really does so far seem to be a size I can deal with. I have to remember to keep all of this in mind, so I’m writing it all down, and will keep playing the vids to sink it all into my little brain. SO relieved. As I think you can tell !!!

    • #12023


      Thanks for posting this, Sophia.

    • #12024

      I totally agree, Sophia. I had a bit of a revelation with it all especially linking it to mindfulness, which I do regularly and have been on many courses. I also watched a video with Marc Lewis as I’m interested in the science behind it. It reinforced everything and I’m feeling very positive.

      I also have a different mindset where I don’t expect miracles but will make small changes as situations arise.

      Thanks very much Gillian, and for your comment Sophia

      • #12027
        Sophia G.

        Hi Sian, Glad you had a revelation too ! I’m sure we’re not alone. Real breakthrough for me, definitely.

        Interesting that you say you linked it to mindfulness. I meditated quite a lot for many years, and I wonder why I didn’t look at my strong desire to eat during that time. I didn’t do meditation on the body as a main practice very much, but certainly I often did it at the start of other practices. Guess it may have been fear? as I found my long term lack of control, and the future, pretty frightening etc. Or maybe it didn’t really occur to me. I think really I avoided confronting the demon and would take a right turn if I got too close to it.

        That’s the reason that I said it is almost embarrassing that I didn’t look properly at ‘it’ – at what is going on in my body in the moment of the strong desire. I avoided using the word ‘mindfulness’ as it seems to me to be an over used term these days, with many different meanings.

        I very much like the word ‘noticing’ in this context. It also doesn’t have the sometimes loaded connotations – loaded for me, anyway, for some reasons.

        I wonder if Gillian could suggest any ‘formal’ practices/meditations ie while sitting down quietly, while not actually in the grip of the addictive desire?

        Could you suggest any please, Gillian? Thanks very much.

        • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Sophia G.. Reason: Make one word better
        • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Sophia G..
      • #12031


        I’m not at all sure what you’re asking for and what its purpose would be. By all means fill me in with that.

        I’ve always had the idea that progress is made during the experience of desire, and often say, “you can only learn how to swim while you’re in the water”.

        So I’m not sure what you’d be doing while not feeling a desire to eat – other than watching videos on this site, doing the exercises, posting on the forum, etc 🙂

      • #12036
        Sophia G.

        Hi Gillian, What I mean is, Are there any ‘meditations’ we can do to help us with our mindsets? I use the word ‘meditations’ loosely, to include visualisations etc. Thanks a lot

    • #12032

      I was listening to the video while taking a walk and I literally stopped on my foot when I get to the “the good news is that the limbic system and prefrontal cortex can’t work at the same time” part. Good news, indeed. I wasn’t expecting such good news. I put the technique into practice that same night, and it was just mindblowing.

      I was watching TV after dinner; there was a chocolate bar sitting on the table in front of me. I used the technique, felt uncomfortable for a few seconds, maybe a minute. The next thing I realise is I’m just watching TV and completely forgot about the bloody chocolate! And it’s still there, but the overwhelming desire is gone. All these years of struggle reduced to a minute or less of mild discomfort.

      I also have a history of being compliant, and I’m a natural optimist, so I’m trying to be cautious about my own excitement. But this does look like a light at the end of the tunnel.

      • #12033

        Yes, Marta, that’s it really – and worthy of stopping you in your tracks!

        Even though it may take effort at first, every word in the “Working Through” technique is to activate the PFC and there’s a video in Week 4 where I talk through research supporting that.

        But I’ve found the most significant part of it is that connection with free choice: “I’m the one who is choosing this; I don’t have to and I don’t have to continue.”

    • #12034

      I’ll remember that. Yes, I’m trying to insist a lot on the theme of free choice because I think that’s where my weakest point may be. Thank you!

    • #12035

      And want to add that it may well not be a “it’s gone in 1-minute” experience for everyone, just for others reading this.

      A great part of the difficulty for many is gaining a sense of free choice when their childhood was controlled by authoritarian parent(s). So this is a very new and strange idea for them.

      Everyone’s journey is going to be different.

    • #12037
      Shems M

      Thank you for sharing your experiences Sophia, Marta and Sian.

      I can really relate to your experiences of the lightbulb moment!And how empowering to feel the big bad monster that we would perhaps go to great lengths to avoid facing can actually be something much smaller and more manageable.. Are you all finding that you have so much more headspace now that you are not spending so much time and energy either feeding or avoiding addictive desire? I know it’s early days but it’s definitely a non-weight outcome that I am really happy with.

      Marta, I too stopped in my tracks to take in that particular idea of using the prefrontal cortex this way, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the moment I heard it!

      Sian – Thank you for mentioning the Marc Lewis video I will try to look it up online.

      Sophia – I am also enjoying taking opportunities to practice talking to my addictive desire. It’s becoming quite fun really – tempting it out from hiding, and then talking to it and watching it shrink – all while embracing freedom of choice. A good use of lockdown time I think 🙂

      Gillian – Thank you for pointing out that it might not be a short lived experience for everyone. I have been doing this since Sunday evening and the first day or two it wasn’t easy at all, it was pretty challenging. I felt like I was having an internal tug of war, and I think the first time I did it the process kept coming and going throughout the evening so it was on and off for a couple of hours perhaps. I am finding the experience is becoming shorter each day, and today each time I’ve dealt with addictive desire it has been just a minute or two so far, like Marta described. I wonder if it will continue like this or if it will sometimes take me by surprise and be much stronger? I suppose I can only wait and see!

      • #12038

        Yes, Shems, I think wait and see is the way to go, as it’s so different for everyone.

    • #12184

      Some very positive comments about working through your AD. I’m still fighting it. I’m afraid to deal with it. I keep giving in to my AD. I can’t quite work out why…what am I afraid of? Something to work on now for me.

    • #12185
      Renée L

      Hey Mo,

      Hang in there!

      From my perspective, it seems like you are half way there in that you can recognize your AD and you also see that you are fighting it. But fighting it keeps it alive and never gives your PFC a chance to get in there and help you really choose.

      Maybe before this course you never even had the awareness of what AD was, or that you could heal it by allowing it. Instead, in the past, (as was true for me) you ate to quiet the urge and satisfy the Limbic System so that the “screaming” would stop. I was caught in this endless cycle because I didn’t know any other way to move out of it, so I did a lot of “eating to quiet the urge” out of habit and lack of other solutions.

      Some other ideas I had when reading your post were these: perhaps pick one time to work through your AD, maybe during a time of day when you are feeling stronger and less vulnerable? Working through my post dinner urges took more effort and concentration because those were the strongest. So I started during the daytime when I felt more “right minded” and had a better chance for success.

      If you decide to “invoke AD” and work through it, there may be some steps you could take to help you become successful. Some techniques I used was to keep track of my progress by using an urge jar; every time I was successful I put a glass bead in a jar so I could visually see my successes despite having setbacks as well. Then I could remember by seeing “oh yes! I did this before and I can do this again!”

      I also anticipated my urges and planned ahead: what was really effective was that I left the kitchen, sat in a comfy chair in the other room and listened to Gillian’s MP3 until the urge really passed. I have a loud house and 4 kids and was able to do this successfully despite the chaos!

      My main point is this: you can take small steps even if you are afraid because you have the ability within you to work this through. There is nothing different or special about me, and if I can do it, so can you!

      I tried a lot and failed a lot and it got easier as time went on. I wanted it to be a quick and easy magical solution, meaning that it required no effort on my part whatsoever, but that is not what Gillian is teaching us. Her methods do work!

      Keep us posted. You can do this!


      • #12198

        Thank you so much Renée for your response. First of all I love the idea of an urge jar with the beads. This is very doable for me and I like visual aids. Secondly, you’ve highlighted what I keep dismissing – the limbic brain and the PFC. I know all this and yet I conveniently forget about it when I’m in the throws of my AD. I will hang in there. Thank you so much. I love this forum and I really need to make it a daily habit to engage.

    • #12186


      Right from the start, when you began this course, you’ve been reluctant to acknowledge your freedom of choice about what you do or don’t eat. So, my guess is that you have difficulty with unsatisfied desire because you still don’t get that it’s your own free choice to feel it. Does that fit for you?

      Your answers in the “Exploring Desire” exercise contain a number of reactions that would come if you had been forced or made or coerced into feeling it:
      “I feel desperate. I feel like I’m going to explode if I don’t get my fix. It feels unbearable and intense. I get snappy and irritable.”

      • #12199

        Thank you Gillian for your response.
        You are so right. I still have the should and should nots going through my brain. This comes from fear of weight gain and getting fatter. I’m not allowing myself to trust the process – I still believe I’ve not got a choice. I keep trying to believe and I give it lip service, but to actually believe is taking so much longer.
        My responses to the Exploring Desire are so true. This week I was in a frenzy. I’d not bought any treat food when shopping. I’d deliberately made the choice to leave it and not buy it. But my limbic brain was going overboard craving sweetness. So my knee jerk responses I shared in answering the questions. I have to surrender to this eating less and move away from all Facebook ‘diet’ and ‘food’connections.
        I’ll keep going over the course material and keep engaging in the forum with you and everyone else.
        One thing I have got and that is the motivation – it’s mostly non-weight. Very much to do with my health. But there is resentment there – I still want to have my cake and eat it so to speak.

    • #12201


      I was responding to your comment above about the way you are with your addictive desire,

      “I’m still fighting it. I’m afraid to deal with it. I keep giving in to my AD. I can’t quite work out why…what am I afraid of?”

      You cannot build a positive relationship with the feeling of unsatisfied desire while you deny your free choice in the matter. That’s why. What you’re afraid of is losing your freedom to overeat, and any time you don’t overeat it looks to you like that’s what has happened.

      • #12204

        Thank you Gillian.
        That does explain it. I can see it clearly now I AM afraid of losing my freedom to over eat. I will work on this and explore my feelings and thoughts. What I’ve found also is that I’ve deliberately not bought treats so I can’t over eat. Which to me is denying my freedom to over eat and is more about complying to rules. The ‘not buying treats’ that I’m talking about is where I’ve NOT worked through my AD in the shop. I’ve just said “no I can’t have this or I’ll eat the lot” – denying my freedom of choice.
        It seems so much clearer to me and has pointed me in the right direction. Thank you.

    • #12205

      Good, Mo.

      I want to emphasise the idea of working through your desire in the shops and making your choice either to leave them there (for now!) OR buy them, take them home and eat them all.

      So buying them means you’ll eat the lot – and that’s a choice you’ve got for now and in the future.

      It’s likely you’ll feel a desire for them later on when you’re at home as well, and you can recall why you didn’t buy them, that it was your own free choice to do so AND that they’re still in the shop for you tomorrow if you prefer to overeat them.

      • #12270

        Thanks Gillian.
        That helps. I’ll experiment and see what comes up.

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