Transcript: Hi Food I'm Home! Episode 2: The hidden reason you don't stop overeating: Striving.
Hello hardworking woman! Well done for making it here. You’re totally maxed out and you still managed to find 20 minutes to be here for yourself exploring this juicy relationship you’re having between your emotional work life and your eating.
Oh my gosh, have I got some great stuff for you: Today we’re gonna look at striving, how you push and drive yourself towards goals both with your weight loss and also in life and how that has absolutely detrimental effects on how you eat.
In this episode, you’re going to learn:
- What striving actually is;
- How you know you’re doing it.
- How to recognise striving thoughts when they pop up in your mind;
- Why striving feels so productive, but is actually such a setup for failure. And always backfires.
- Why the way we’re trying to get ourselves to lose weight and eat less is actually similar to how you tried to teach your kids to pick up their fucking socks.
- And ultimately, you’re gonna learn what to say to yourself instead, and the power of self responsibility what that actually looks like in terms of your thoughts.
So let’s go back 25 years. The front door is just slammed and it’s taken me awake. It’s about half past four in the afternoon. It’s pitch black outside, it’s winter. It’s only my bedroom. It was comforting, but now it feels gross. I spent the whole day asleep and I realised I’ve lost the day. Because again, as it’s happening every single day, I have been doing a lot of time, gone to bed and slept off the whole afternoon instead of studying for my final exams.
Every day I tell myself you’ve got to do better, you’ve got to start over. Because this is my way. This is my identity. Ever since primary school. I’ve been the top of the class; I’m so addicted and outside validation that I think if I’m not the best, I’m nobody. And that really results my degree to give me the confidence to know I can go out there in the world. Prove it again and again to myself, and it’s never enough.
So every day, I make myself a plan to myself to the library and I’ve got this list in my head of things we’ve got to do got to read this DH Lawrence from time to cover, and annotate it. I get there early, but by 10 I go out of the library and eat my entire lunch, when I go back in I’m restless. I think a lot of donuts almost like across the roads to the bakery and I’ve done that.
By the time I’ve eaten the doughnuts I think well, maybe I will be better if I’m at home and they go to change of scene and we’re going to go home to our students are interesting because it’s pretty crappy and my bedroom is painted of colour green for me so modern at the end of the year. This category is clothing only because I didn’t have time to go in with my whole bag of avocados a whole bag doesn’t samosas nobody else is at home so I make pita bread off that piece. of bread or stuffing with avocado dressing. Absolutely stuffed.
I’m actually shooting myself in the foot. I’m using overeating things to take myself to relieve myself of duty moving during Exactly. Steven Pressfield describes it in his book Turning Pro.
And so when I wake up, I’m feeling so desperate, so depleted. And I know a cycle because I feel guilty by eight planets that are not silent today. I’m telling myself that as well. Starting tomorrow, I need to stick to my own creator. I’m just going to be like a monk tomorrow. Study I’m gonna be a success with these pressures. With this, my friend is what’s striving.
So chickpea, you might not even know that you’re striving What is it striving? I think it’s striving as being when I get into trying to create a sense of self worth through achievement productivity, using determination to overcome any resistance I have, any self doubt, to doing the work that I wanted to do to the standards that I expect of myself.
You will know you’re striving because you have that thought a lot that I’m trying so hard. And you put in a lot of extra effort and time and you feel very tired.
Now I want you to think about how you talk to yourself about your weight loss are you telling yourself it’s something you’ve absolutely got to do? Are you working yourself into a kind of state of self disgust in order to try and motivate yourself to lose weight or just stop binge eating? Do you get up in the morning and look in the mirror? Look at how fat Your face has got or how fat your tummies got and start telling yourself I’ve really got to lose this weight. I have done it now I’ve got to get on with it. I’ve got to get a grip on this eating. Because I’m trying out, motivate ourselves by force by discipline by determination, using threats, obligations, self expectations, to try and get ourselves anywhere. Then the voice in our head becomes really bullying.
I want you to understand thoughts or sentences in your mind and changing the language of your sentences. that you use to talk to yourself is the start of all of this. But when you do that, you’re beginning something mammoth for yourself. Weight loss begins Weeks, months in the mind before the scale takes its time. It’s already here. It’s already begun since you started listening to this podcast, binges slowed down before they diminish and disappear. Binge behaviours get loose before they unravel. And in order to do that, you need to loosen the grip that these thoughts have on you. pushing you forward pushing you towards success is so mean. You’re always going to want some relief and you’re always going to look for the relief that’s the most readily available, which is food. Easiest drug on the market.
All right, then my chickpea some of my clients like to give this bullying voice a face or character. They might like to call it a schoolmarm or a – man I love…
Have you read that book by Quentin Blake? It might even be written by Russell Hoban. It’s called How Tom Beat Captain Captain Najork and his hired Sportsmen.
Tom lived with his maiden aunt, Aunt Fidget Wonkham-Strong. She wore an iron hat and took no notice of anyone, where she walks the flowers droop. And when she sang the trees shivered.
I think I have Aunt Fidget Wonkham-Strong thinking she knows what’s best for me.
“You do too much playing! It’s not good, and you play too much. You’ll get better stop it, and do something useful.”
“All right”, said Tom, but he didn’t stop. He did a little fooling around. With two or three cigar bands and a paperclip.
At dinner Wonkham-Strong, wearing her iron hat said: “Eat your mutton, and your cabbage and potato dog”. Alright, said Tom, he ate it.
After dinner, Aunt Fidget Wonkham-Strong said “Learn off pages 65 to 75 of the Nautical Almanack, and that will teach you not to fall around so much.” “All right”. Said Tom; he learned them off.
So let’s just talk for a moment about why striving is a problem. I mean, it’s worked for us pretty well so far. It feels like it’s pretty productive, right?
When we strive we need relief. We need someplace where we set down responsibility, but we’re not trying hard anymore, not putting on any kind of performance, when we free not to live up to our own expectations.
And that place tends to be standing by the toaster, buttering slice after slice of jam and toast and then eating it all in a sort of days.
So what’s the alternative? Who would we even be if we’re not going to whip-crack ourselves into change?
And you know, I’ve given some quite mean characterizations of these bullies in our head. But the fact is, that the part of us that is striving isn’t really a bad part of us. It just wants the best for us. It wants success. It wants to know that we’ve got results, which just doesn’t trust us to get those results on our own. So it thinks it’s got to discipline us to get there.
And the alternative is to learn self responsibility and to learn decision making. When you think of your day, we food is actually hundreds of tiny decisions. If you think of the decision to lift the food to your lips as being one decision per bite. Well, let’s say 30 bites per meal, and then all of the decisions you make to put things in your mouth in between could well be more than 100. When you think about how it would be if more more of those decisions were willingly in favour of your weight loss willingly in favour of not binge eating willingly in favour of the kind of relationship you’d like to have your food for the rest of your life.
Then you realise that the skills of decision making haven’t really been offered to you before because you’ve outsourced it all to diets to tell you what to do. And when you haven’t outsourced it to diet, you’ve got this inner disciplinarian, trying to get you to do more and do better.
Let me give you an example from my life of when I have tried to force someone else to do something that they didn’t want to do and the backlash is gonna house what’s up?
Laura: Janet is here with us. Who’s Janet, Elba?
Elba: She’s our Great great godmother. Laura: She has come for half term to hang out with kids for a couple of days is an absolute godsend. What’s the sock situation in this house, Janet?
Janet: The sock situation is that they are littered everywhere, all over. And my approach to them as a visitor is just to leave them and see if they disappear at any stage.
Laura: I got loads on the porch, eight, Janet: And these may be the ones that make up the old ones that we sorted out this morning.
There was a point where the sock situation drove me so completely mad. I just felt like I can’t play with anybody I can’t do anything we’ve got to do is pick stuff up off the floor all the time. So I decided I said to the kids, right? If you don’t pick your socks up, your socks are going to sock prison and you will never get it back. And as he constantly begged me for it until the day you got socks left and then you’d be really sorry. How do you think that that tactic worked out for me? Quite shit. I mean, the kids were quite curious about where the sock prison was. They took my socks prison as well in retaliation, so there was immediate backlash, but equally, they thought of me as being the meaning. And I don’t think I was really teaching them to pick up socks, just to be afraid. I wasn’t really teaching them that they need to care for their socks because they were theirs, because they made them feel good, or was the rest of it.
I just ended up with a really jam packed shoebox full of socks hidden somewhere. And I didn’t have any sort of like that because one of my socks sort of worn and that’s kind of what happens when you try and force yourself to do something. You retaliate against yourself and everybody loses: you, and your results. You end up in war with yourself. Right? We treat ourselves like that. I just want you to follow your rules is so patronising. I mean, really want children who don’t just move out of home and instantly chuck all their stuff on the floor because yeah, you know, I haven’t got fucking mom on my back all the time.
So it’s the same with how are we talking to ourselves and how we talk to ourselves has to be kind of fun, and has to be encouraging and has to be like, Hey, do I choose to do this? How can we lose weight and have fun doing it? Do you want to lose weight? Okay, are we gonna make a decision in favour of that? Are we gonna vote for our future self and do that?
Okay, let’s have a little recap and then we’ll look at the solution. If you want to stop overeating, you need to get to know how you push yourself and are strict on yourself. And it comes down to the language and your self talk.
So this week, I’ve noticed the pushy, pushy language in your head and it is a hard talk about how hard everything is how tired you are. Notice yourself telling yourself you really should do this. You’ve got to you need to you have to just notice it when you’re telling yourself you need to do something or you find yourself saying it out loud. Try it out, say it this way. Instead, I get to do this. I want to because you can use other permissive words like I can. I might. I can choose to I can choose not to, but most of all, I get to do this. You’ve got this.
And stay on, because I have a meditation for you to help it stick in your mind. Again, you gave yourself this time thank yourself for that. Now I’m gonna ask you a favour to review that I’ve never written a review before and I had to fiddle with my phone to do it. It all helps.
I’m going to teach you some of the elements of hypnosis because after all, hypnosis is just a more ritualised and more deeply relaxing process. That’s similar to meditation.
Hypnosis is a process where you actually suspend disbelief as fully as possible.
But in order for you to do that to yourself, because hypnosis is something you do to yourself, you need to bring all of the skills that you already have a focused attention, imagination, visualisation, if you visualise that relaxation, mindfulness are the skills that you’re probably already using to different degrees in your life already.
So why don’t we use each of those skills to find our way into meditation each week, and we’ll be building towards doing a little bit of self hypnosis together.
This isn’t necessarily and eyes closed process today. If you’re working or you’re folding washing, just keep doing what you’re doing. But only listen to this process if you are not frying an egg or changing a nappy. Or driving. Or operating any power tools.
Whatever you’re doing and wherever you are. Just take a deep breath. As you exhale, just imagine tension melting away from different muscles in your body. And you can bring in even a little bit more visual imagination into that if you imagine the next breath you can breathe in that you find really relaxing. As you breathe. Imagine it washing your body filling, relaxing, releasing your muscles, nice car taking you into that relaxed feeling. It’s exactly where you need to be to learn new things. And you can bring attention to your eating today. You can already see yourself choosing to eat and you can sit down when you eat and feel proud of yourself for just taking that extra care of yourself and you can enjoy the food you’ve chosen to eat.
Because even while you’re helping your body to lose weight, you choose to give your body enough fuel for this day.
You can really see in your mind’s eye yourself choosing not to eat foods that you haven’t planned to eat or that your body doesn’t need right now.
You trust that your life will be full of beautiful food opportunities. And if you’re hungry at the right time in the future, you can choose whether to eat those foods again then, when you’re choosing not to eat something your body doesn’t need.
You’re actively choosing to listen to your body. You are choosing weight loss and it feels so good to make that choice for yourself. You are choosing to give yourself the gift of feeling strong in your own decision making and empowered in your own self responsibility.
And you can make powerful decisions. Seeing yourself easily saying “No, I’m OK you for now. Maybe later.” “Alright, for now thanks.”
I’m willing to start deliberately saying kind encouraging things to myself. It’s possible to eat and to be in this body while I lose weight and have fun doing it.
It’s possible to create this relationship with myself and have fun doing it. I wonder what I can do to make that possible. Today.
“What is the meaning of ‘striving’?”
Striving is when you try to ‘earn’ your self-validation.
“I’m good all day, I’m trying hard and doing a thousand things… but then it all just mysteriously doesn’t seem to matter when I get home.”
Sound like you? Striving is behind it, guar.an.teed, says Laura Lloyd.
Or maybe you already identify as someone who is addicted to striving?
But have you ever joined the dots with how striving at work and striving for weight loss or to stop overeating actually fuel each other?
Whether you see yourself as someone who is regularly striving or not, click below for the transcript, and to understand why you eat and eat all evening long.