Working with desire, motivation and choice- food shopping (long post)

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    • #14677
      Cyndi B.

      Hello Gillian and forum members, Comments are welcome.

      I had an idea to apply the three course themes to scenarios where I feel especially vulnerable to over eat. I realize this can be done short hand or in your head.. but the grocery store is such a lion’s den of addictive desire, I want to consider it closely. I know that impulsiveness when shopping makes absolute sense; from paint to packaging, grocery stores are designed to ENTICE. Miraculously despite this, ninety-nine percent of the items are not a problem for me for over eating… but there’s a small crew of items that are predictably problematic; we have history. Also significant, the grocery store is a key location point for where my “off the rails periods” (rebellious eating) have kicked off in the past, or as I now understand- where my denial of choice is strong. Before the course, even when I did not buy the health problematic foods, it was more from white-knuckling through, speeding by with the cart, feeling denied and harshly pushing away rather than allowing with understanding.
      So this is a look at considering and applying the core themes to addictive desire when food shopping…

      DESIRE: a) Perhaps even before entering the store pausing to consider that beyond these doors, A LOT of creative brain science / marketing and $$$ have gone into seducing and convincing me to purchase processed foods, the products with the highest profit margin. b) Acknowledging that I will have addictive desires while shopping- these are normal and to be expected. My past experiences directly influence why I feel strong desire here; this is the exact and ONLY place I CAN significantly address this issue. BREATH.

      MOTIVATION: I can recall or have my motivations written on paper or in a phone app so I can easily consider them before and during shopping. I deeply relate to MOST of the example motivations given on a Week 1 course graphic; just looking at a screen-shot of those can be quickly and personally centering. The ability to THINK clearly and feel happiness are priceless. “To buy this is to eat this.. how will I feel after?”

      CHOICE: In this shopping scenario, a unique snag to recognizing and owning choice is knowing that when I get home or before, I likely (predictably), will again desire that processed food, let’s say, corn chips; they’ll haunt me, and choosing not to buy the chips in the store FEELS inversely like a decision to deny choice in the very near future, in the car or at home, when I want to eat them. The reality IS that I ABSOLUTELY CAN return to the store to get them even later that day; I really can. But precedent says I won’t return, and this knowledge undermines my sense of freedom and internal assertion that I’m only choosing for now.
      So in the spirit of Course Week 5, this is what I propose to work with in the moment when next in this food shopping / chip situation. If triggered, I can consider whether to purchase the corn chips and if I decide no, then commit to return and buy them later that day. This way I can demonstrate to myself that I can AND WILL return, that I actually have returned- so bolstering my internal credibility that shopping choices truly are just for that moment.
      Another option to consider literally in the moment, is that- that is a fine experiment, but do I REALLY need to buy the chips to prove my freedom and agency in the matter? Do I NEED to prove it to fully own it? It feels central to truly consider these options IN THE STORE. I want TO BE experiencing the desire AND the sense of choice in real time to understand if I actually FEEL freedom and agency… and if something else is there to notice.
      And here’s a week 5 check-in from me in learning a middle way…
      I feel really good about this course and the improved health I’ve found already this month. I’m QUITE happier, more at ease, less puffy, have clearer thinking, more ENERGY and more confidence. I’ve not eaten any wheat but I’ve had some desserts, wine, chocolate, bowls of buttered popcorn, CHIPS, and plenty of whole foods.. all while eating less at meals, between meals and overall. I’ve gone from needing several Tums antacid chews each week to none this month because I had zero symptoms. Yes, I know that ups and downs are normal and to be expected, but I won’t let that understanding flatten my appreciation of really positive results I’m experiencing now.

      Lastly, the client stories videos have been a favorite segment each week.. and a couple of clips this week felt ESPECIALLY supportive.

    • #14678

      Wow – great post Cyndi, especially that last paragraph with the benefits you’re seeing.

      May I suggest another strategy for the corn chip purchases at the store, and that is to buy them less (and less) often. I did that with my pizza-once-a-week habit. As the time period in between eating one grew, I made a point to notice that my life seemed the same, that eating a pizza was just something I did for around 15 minutes. Yes, enjoyable, but that was all it was, and there are many other things I enjoy, including other foods.

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