I practiced the habituation technique of savouring the food, smelling it, touching it, really tasting it, trying to be present with it. But then I thought, “oh, I can eat all these chocolates because I have unconditional permission to eat them.” So I had a few more chocolates – trying to savour them and be present as I ate. But then I thought ok, these are really yummy, and I want more, I have permission to eat as many as I want. So I kept taking the chocolates and ate and ate. By the end of the evening, I started to feel very full, and that night I couldn’t sleep very well.
So I’m confused and stuck. How can I process my emotions and also have permission to eat unconditionally. Shouldn’t I do one or the other. If I sit with my emotions but just eat chocolate after chocolate because I have permission, where is that getting me? I’m so confused; I feel I’m going to fail all this because no food tastes as good as those chocolates. I have written the 10 principles of intuitive eating down and put them on my wall. If I ask myself, does this food (expensive chocolates) taste good? Yes, they do; nothing tastes as good as they do. What do I want to eat – chocolates. Do they taste good? Hell yes. Am I satisfied? Oh yes, they taste so good.
And since I bought the 3 boxes of chocolates, I decided to buy tubs of ice cream. And I decided I can eat all of this, and yes it tastes amazing. I’ll stop now because I’m full. But actually, I’m not satisfied. I need more and more, but also I’m starting to feel ill. And now I don’t sleep because I’m too full and have heartburn.
So as I have started Peaceful, my mind has not become peaceful. It has become panic-stricken. Help, I’m stuck.
First thing, great work working through habituation. Rest assured, nothing has gone wrong… all that you described is normal, but yes, scary… Rest assured, nothing is wrong. All is good and expected. You have released the restriction, and the “pendulum is swinging.” (See Peaceful Lesson 4).
When you stop restricting, you will eat more of the restricted food at first until your body can trust that it will never again be restricted. At that point, the pendulum will stop swinging and eating will regulate.
What seems incorrect is your expectation of the process of habituation.
Be reminded that this is a process and a journey… It sounds like you have done 1 habituation process, and you were expecting your body and yourself to get it “right” the first time. Were you expecting years (maybe decades) of diet mindset, restriction and body distrust to wash away with one session of habituation? If this was your expectation, my sister, I’m afraid to tell you that’s “magical thinking.”
Habituation takes many repetitions, compassion, grace and patience.
Habituation is about rebuilding trust and respect with your body. It’s about teaching your body that never again you will restrict the food, that ongoing, when your body demands to eat the food, it will be made available, that there will never again need to feast on it because it will never be deprived (famine). The longer the restriction was applied to the food, the longer the habituation process will be needed.
You walked into the habituation process with false expectation (magical thinking), and after 1 attempt, your brain is “confused” and “stuck”… you need to do some self-coaching here. Your brain is creating confusion and being stuck as a way of keeping you into your current dieting way of life. Go back and listen to Private Podcast #2 -I’m confused & #6 I’m stuck.
You have a lot of unintentional thoughts about C: Habituation
I’m going to fail
no food tastes as good as those chocolates
Work these thoughts in models and see what they create.
Also, we highly recommend working through habituation with one food at a time. You mention ice cream and chocolate. Pick one and stick with it until you have appeased the “pendulum swing.”
The other part is about processing emotions that’s a whole separate process that has nothing to do with habituation. Processing emotions happens all day long, every day. You don’t want to use your desire to process emotions as permission to restrict food… that’s called mental restriction.