When failure is not a setback

Valentine’s day, and with a new baby we celebrated at home with an assortment of nice foods: cheeses, pâté, dips, and so on.

I ate more than I think I should have, and I’m regretful for not adhering to my diet. I’m still overweight of course, but while eating I “forgot” and just enjoyed the food, with the excuse of it being a special occasion.

I remember this happening last time. I mentioned in my book that I came up with one simple rule to follow…and immediately broke it.

I broke it many times back then. And that doesn’t sound good. I don’t feel good about failing to follow my rule now either.

And yet failure is not a setback. Observing myself honestly during this failure reinforces the lessons I’m learning.

Because now I can see for myself that yes, I did enjoy the food, but that enjoyment was so brief and fleeting and now I feel bored and empty.

I feel physically full, and it doesn’t feel good. I don’t need the energy for anything, so why did I eat that much? I enjoyed the food but surely there’s more for me to enjoy?

Failure is not a setback because it only demonstrates the truth of our situation. You can break the rules as often as you like, but it will only provide more evidence that overeating is a very meagre short-term source of happiness.

5 thoughts on “When failure is not a setback

    • How is your mood usually? I do get tired after a while (Im tired right now) and I have less patience as a result.
      I’m going to go right now and eat something so I have energy to keep going. I’ll eat a small amount and see how I feel.

      If you feel moody and you think it might be lack of food, try eating something small and see how your body and mind respond.

    • I just ate a couple small pieces of homemade pizza. Straight away I feel better. Relief and my mind feels clearer. More relaxed and therefore more patient.
      But I didn’t eat anywhere near enough to fill my stomach. And I didnt persist in eating for the sake of the pleasure of the taste and the enjoyment of the eating. And it only took one or two minutes, and I’m back here replying again – doing something enjoyable or stimulating that isn’t about eating.
      Does this sound relevant to your experience of mood swing?

  1. I think my experience with dieting is very skewed, additionally I tend to go all out, and last time I probably took it too far, it reminded me of fasting and I have been binging the past few days. Mood swings and stress start way before, because lately, no matter what I think, I cant seem to get myself in the same mindset I had at the beginning of this approach, it just feels like deprivation, always.
    I struggle with binge eating disorder, and relapse quite easily. I tried to tell myself to eat a little bit today, and later see how I feel, but ended up eating a riceball and a corndog, went on to Mcdonalds and downed a set meal with additonal kitkat icecream, then went on to the convenience meal, bought extra two riceballs and stirfried meat and vegetables type of dish. know the way out of this is not through self hate and judgement, but at this point I have a complete disconnect from my body.

    By mood swings I mean feeling like your full and fine for a few minutes, only to suddenly feel very hungry and angry/pissed of the next, making it quit difficult to know whether or not your are really hungry. Each time I try to eat a little bit I need to eat a whole meal, and sine I have been comparing to the ideal of only eating a “spoonful” of something, each time I fall short of that it just results in a binge. I will have to mold this approach to myself, and move out of “this feels like fasting” mindset, somehoow. However, still love to read how you are doing, update often!

    • “I will have to mold this approach to myself, and move out of “this feels like fasting” mindset”
      Yes! Very wise!
      Honestly I think it’s enough that you are paying attention to how you feel before, during, and after eating.

      When I first began this approach I used the idea in my book “if I starved to death I’d be thin before I die” to give myself clarity that losing weight is very simple. But obviously starving isn’t the answer. So I found this middle-ground between starving and overeating, based on how my body feels and my sense of when I actually need food vs wanting food.

      But we are all dynamic beings. We are always changing and evolving, and you are learning to connect to your own body, mind and circumstances.

      My suggestion would be to keep paying attention to your own experience of eating. Is it pure enjoyment from start to finish? What are you enjoying when you eat? Is it the taste, flavours, textures, mouthfeel, the fullness of your stomach, the repetition of using a spoon or fork to bring food to your mouth?
      If you do it mindfully like this, how does that feel to you?

      Regarding the mood swings and how to tell if it’s real hunger or not, if you’re not sure then look at it more objectively in terms of how much you have eaten recently. Like, if I’ve just had some pizza for lunch but I feel a need for more immediately, it must be craving rather than real hunger. Sometimes I might think I’m hungry but I know I just ate something. Other times I might not feel hungry but I feel a bit weak or tired and I remember I haven’t eaten at all today, so I should probably eat something to give myself energy.

      Also, you said previously that you’re about 8kg overweight, which is not a lot. Imagine if you just gradually eat less, and your body stops storing surplus energy, and gradually uses up the stored energy. Since you’re only a little overweight it won’t be an enormous difference in your food intake. What you call binging…pay attention to it. If you can gradually decrease how much you eat, that’s a really good step.

      Do you feel like you’re learning more about yourself and your relationship with food? It sounds that way to me.

      I’ll try to post more, thanks for the encouragement! We’ve just had our third child so I’m a bit more busy at the moment 😄

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