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"Eating Less" (Gillian Riley)- CAN you do it if you're not 'addicted' to food?

(35 Posts)
erebus Mon 30-May-11 19:15:10

A serious question.

I am reading the book and can see entirely where the reasoning comes from and how it could result in serious life long better eating, but I am finding a bit that the book does seem to be aimed at people who can easily eat an entire tub of ice-cream; who cannot stop and 2 or 3 biscuits but eat the whole packet, who feel they have no control over what they eat, and so on.

Do you think this is the case?

I have been on a diet, complete with scales watching, for a month and have lost 12 lbs (from an initial 13 stone). Naturally I am worried about the unsustainability of my weight loss. I have done it via a process of thinking mindfully about what I eat, reducing my portions and eating more slowly. However, there's no doubt about it, it IS restrictive in that I don't go near chocolate and restrict my pinot to 2 glasses a week. I am worried that this 'denial' aspect will be my undoing. I'm not sure I am anywhere near recognising eating chocolate, for example, as being entirely my choice- "I can eat as much as I like!"- yet not doing so because of the consequences Gillian wants you to consider, rather than me actually thinking "I'm not eating chocolate because I've banned it".

I, as yet, am still feeling 'looking thinner' as a major motivator, over 'increasing my self-esteem', for instance. My self-esteem is perfectly OK! I am working on 'to promote better health/ a healthier, fitter old age' as motivators but boy, the lure of the scales and the mirror is H-U-G-E!

I am also keeping my diet quiet from work colleagues and I don't even discuss it with DH (obviously he knows I'm eating differently and has recognised I've lost a bit of weight!), something I have been doing anyway, and a tactic Gillian recommends, so I am following some of the advice!

Anyone else having problems finding 'the fit' between Gillian and where they're at?

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SteelTownGirl Mon 30-May-11 19:37:30

Hi erebus
I'm prompted to reply because I've been reading the other eating less thread, I think, started by bumblingbovine.
I'm struggling to get motivated to lose about 10lbs and posted recently needing "kick start ideas".
I know I have the Gillian Riley book in the house somewhere and am going to dig it out and re-read it.
My recollection of reading it before links in with your post in that I think it was directed more at people who are "addicted" to food for want of a better phrase.
I think I do eat too much - I eat healthily most of the time but eat too much - large portions, second helpings, tasting when cooking, eating the DC's leftovers - ugh! Sounds awful when I put it like that....
I'm intending to skim read the book over the next couple of days and would be glad to discuss further

erebus Mon 30-May-11 20:00:43

Yes, steel, thanks for your input. My impression of the book is that it's aimed at a certain type of over-eater.

I know my problem was/is a) enjoying my pinot a bit too much grin , b) reaching for available food without thinking about it at all ie if there are biscuits in the staffroom, say 3 different varieties, I'd eat say two biscuits, not one out of each, and certainly not hoover up a box! I never craved them I simply reached for them and ate them; c) constantly grazing of an evening d) no portion control (I still find DH and my mother put the same amount on my plate as for an adult man!) and e) using fruit juice as a thirst quencher.

FWIW I just know 30 day shreds/ low carb, calorie counting/Points, good days/bad days etc just can't work as a permanent weight loss solution as they do tackle the symptom (excess weight) not the cause (why we have eaten more than our body needs).

Until that has been addressed, 'dieting' is pointless. This is why I am sticking with reading Gilllian- the root premise of her book is completely correct, but the core audience may not include me!

Let me know what you think! I've been sort of skim-reading, too but I found I had to concentrate quite hard to try and extract the meaning of much of what she said- even though I'd be relieved to find she was just repeating a point she'd made earlier but expressed a bit differently!

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SteelTownGirl Mon 30-May-11 20:10:03

Hi again, erebus - just found the book on my self-help shelf, so am going to make a start on it tonight.
My problems are similar to yours re. snacking, pinot, large portions etc. I spend a lot of time on my own and find those times quite a struggle with willpower or lack of it.
I posted on the other thread about my Slimming World history and have vowed never again to go to such a club - it sent me right off the rails.
I don't think diets work; in my case it's all tied up with self-esteem, lack of self-discipline and dare I say, self-loathing at times.
Plus the fact that I'm not greatly overweight and being tall, can get away with a few extra pounds.
So as a bit of a "new campaign" with a view to looking half-decent in August in my swimming costume, I'm going to give GR another go.
Be back to you soon..thanks for replying to me

erebus Mon 30-May-11 20:16:10


I think with Gillian you are supposed to think: 'If I accept I have free choice over what I eat, I can eat whatever I like and how much I like BUT I am also mindful that if I make the choice to drink a second large glass of pinot/eat that doughnut/finish these biscuits I will feel bad about myself later, it will damage my self-esteem and I am doing nothing towards safeguarding my future health' not 'I'm gonna look HOT in my bathers come August!' grin

...which is exactly where I'm still at!

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erebus Mon 30-May-11 20:17:24

PS I'm a bloody long way from looking 'hot' in anything except my bath....!

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SteelTownGirl Tue 31-May-11 14:02:06

Hi e
I'm posting on the other thread too but basically stayed up really late last night reading first few chapters of book - see what you mean she does tend to labour the point a bit and go over things, but I am now getting hold of the idea of choosing what and how we eat.
The self-esteem thing's a biggie with me - see my other post - to the outside world I'm confident, happy and reasonably slim but I have a much less rosy view of myself.
One idea I found in another book once was to look at yourself in a mirror and pick out your best features - nice eyes/slim ankles/glossy hair etc etc and acknowledge those - so I do try to do that regularly. I also try to dress decently (I work p/t from home so there's a tendency to slob around in tracky bottoms and loose tshirt...) and put on a dash of mascara, lip gloss and cologne before I start the day - works for me in that it makes me feel human and a bit more upbeat about starting the day.
I would bet you are being hard on yourself, reading your bath comment, am I right?
Do you like me, have times of the day when you know exactly what the right "choices" would be foodwise but you can't for the life of you take them?
My worst time is around 4pm andI think it stems from the time my DC would come home from school, we'd have a cup of tea and some biscuits together, then they'd race off to their playroom upstairs leaving me "abandoned" whereupon I'd eat more and more biscuits and snacks - alone.
I know part of my problem is too much time alone, left to my own devices, so I'm looking at that as well.
Hope you're having a good day x

foreverondiet Tue 31-May-11 14:11:29

I am finding aspects helpful, eg focussing on how I feel if I do eat a bit much - eg ate a few too many choc-chic biscuits late last night and then had trouble sleeping. Or feel lethargic and have indigestion after big carb rich meal. But for me I think Paul McKenna's point of not eat if not hungry is more useful.

Also habit thing, now my new habit is when I get in from work, quickly make healthy snack, and take it upstairs to eat - so no possibility of having seconds.

SteelTownGirl Tue 31-May-11 14:30:13

Yes, with you on that forever - I'm realising how much my body/metabolism/capacity for food is changing.
Used to be able to eat for England when younger, now for instance a three course evening meal say in a restaurant on a special occasion leaves me almost always leaves me feeling over-full.
Think it's a throwback to clearing my plate when younger as required by parents who'd been children in the war.
Good idea about going upstairs!
I'm going to do that, or take a book upstairs to read on my bed rather than in the kitchen.

erebus Tue 31-May-11 14:50:44

But Steel, with Gillian, aren't you supposed to feel your temptation? Feel, acknowledge, choose. Please understand that I'm not telling you off! grin- really! I'm still trying to get my head around what I am supposed to be thinking and doing when faced with temptation! Personally, I'd be with you, removing myself from the place of temptation rather than face it, but I wonder if we're supposed to be confronting it and overcoming it! Interestingly, 4-5pm is my worst time when I'm at home, too. Not so bad at work as I'm still hard at it til 5.45, but that's only 2 days a week!

I sort of want a meld of Gillian and Paul. Pillian?! The 'face your fears' plus 'feel the hunger'. But Gillian's 'Times and Plans' don't sit with 'Only eat when you're hungry' much, do they?!

As for my bath, well, I wouldn't be looking for my 'best bits' whilst wallowing up to my neck in suds!! My 'worst bits' loom out of the bubbles like distant coral atolls. Without the palm trees.

Incidentally, it's DS1's 12th B/D today- fry up for breakfast and pizza for dinner. Argh! However, I had 2 thin sausages, 1 small rasher of bacon, one oven hash brown and half a fried to death egg. So hardly health food eating but I left a sausage and a hash brown. Lunch was a can of Asda Good For You soup, dinner will be 1/4 of a medium pizza and a big glass of wine.

All in all a bad day for food BUT I have considered it, planned for it and will be more mindful tomorrow. Also, it's TOTM so no weigh in til Friday. Sorry, can't walk away from the scales, either!

How are you going?

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foreverondiet Tue 31-May-11 15:14:02

erebus - but if you plan your day, you'll be hungry at mealtimes! I am anyway.

erebus Tue 31-May-11 17:10:45

Do you mean that as being a good thing? Being hungry at meal times, I mean?

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SteelTownGirl Tue 31-May-11 17:39:34

Point taken! I guess I need to do a bit more reading. Currently I'm combining - I think - the things from various weight loss schemes that work for me - like getting away from the kitchen and distracting myself. I haven't done PMcK but have seen the tv show.
No I can't get away from the scales either - and still viewing the "project" as 10 lbs to lose. I agree with what GR expounds in the opening chapters but after years of being pre-occupied with weight issues, it's hard to detach completely.
Having said that I have tried to be mindful today. Small portion of cereal and lite-soya milk for breakfast; beans on toast with DS for lunch; fresh fruit pack from supermarket this afternoon with some low fat yoghurt; planning a stirfry for tea.
Have been busy at home which helps distract me. Am generally better when our of house. BUT have a lunch date with a friend tomorrow - think I will read times and plans section tonight. But how can I plan when I don't know where lunch will be?

foreverondiet Tue 31-May-11 18:56:23

erebus yes I see being hungry at mealtimes as being a good thing.

Before I lost the weight I was never hungry, as I ate chocolate / ice cream between meals and never felt hungry but ate the next meal anyway. I don't think I was addicted to food though, just liked crisps / chocolate / ice cream each day (would never be tempted to eat 2nd pack of crisps IYSWIM). I wouldn't go as far as Paul McKenna to say shouldn't eat at all if not hungry as if its lunchtime and the family are all eating then I will too but if I am hungry at that time it meant I ate right at the preceding meal. Generally I am hungry at mealtimes. If I am hungry inbetween meals (I'll have a drink.. if still hungry) I'll have a yoghurt or piece of fruit or similar and that will keep me going until next meal.

SteelTownGirl Wed 01-Jun-11 19:50:04

Hi again, I just posted on the other thread that I'd sent off for the Gillian Riley CD to give that a go.
I actually felt hungry last night before my evening meal - that doesn't happen very often. I kept the portion sizes smaller that normal and felt fine all evening - unlike other times when I have felt overfull and bloated.
Pizza and glass of wine with friend today but that was MY choice, so okay with that.
Going to try the times and plans properly tomorrow as I have a day at home.
How's everyone doing?

erebus Wed 01-Jun-11 20:26:12

My 'Plan' of 1/4 of a medium pizza and 1 large glass of wine fell right over blush. The problem was the first big glass of wine which reduced my ability to say no to myself for another.. so I actually drank 2 1/2 glasses, then ate 1/4 of a large pizza...

I tried to 'beat myself up' about it last night but was able to recognise any 'reasoning' whilst under the influence was a waste of time, so I thought it all through this morning, and recognise that obviously the wine was the problem- or rather, with having guests, drinking my 'share' from a 750ml bottle rather than sticking to having only one small bottle (180mls) available. I know it's not GR in that I need to be able to CHOOSE to say no to a second glass rather than avoid having that 'second glass' possibility in the house! But of course it's WINE so one's defences are down after a glass!

So I've moved on from that, been far more mindful today and think I am back on track. My TOTM (sorry, TMI, here!) was far lighter than of late so I may dare weigh myself on Friday because I, too, cannot part from the tyranny of the scales, yet!

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fotheringhay Wed 01-Jun-11 20:29:21

Hi, can I butt in?
I'm towards the end of the book, and I can feel myself delaying following the advice.
I'm just not looking forward to the challenge of facing food I want (but don't need) and resisting. I guess I'm scared of failing. It's just so easy to block out sensible thoughts and keep eating in a bit of a daze.
Right, now I've said that "out loud", I'm going to start trying tomorrow.

erebus Wed 01-Jun-11 20:42:29

I don't know if GR actually suggests this BUT would this work...?

Get a plate of a reasonably 'addictive' food (which would be a personal choice).
When you're just a bit hungry (not ravenous), take that plate out, sit it on a table- and have a conversation with it! Tell it why you find it seductive, what pleasure you'd get out of eating it. Then tell it that it IS just a plate of food, that you know you could eat it because it is your own, free choice to eat it but here are the reasons why, on this occasion, you choose not to.

Be ready even with a pre-written out list of your motivators, if need be.

Then, could you bear to put the plate back in the fridge, the food back in the larder or even in the bin? Not sure about that one.

Maybe follow up with a snack of a better choice food?

I am no expert but I wonder if this might be a useful technique- I used a similar one 15 odd years ago when I became obsessed with a bloke I'd been seeing but who a) was completely unsuitable for me and b) was so laid back about us he was prostate.. One of the exercises was to place a chair in the room and lecture it like it was the object of your obsession. It was useful and therapeutic! The main thing I learned was it was me, not him that was the problem. I had to resolve ishooz within me that I was projecting onto him. I can see the parallels with obsessive overeating in it myself!

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fotheringhay Wed 01-Jun-11 20:52:30

That's a great idea. Although you might feel a bit silly doing it, I think it would put you back in charge - I mean, clearly, we're the ones who make the decision, food doesn't force us to eat it!

Going to try it when I next have something tempting in the house.

foreverondiet Thu 02-Jun-11 16:57:40

erebus I sort of do that anyway. Have been baking biscuits recently, they are all sitting in biscuit tin on kitchen work surface. The DC and DH eat them, and the DC like taking them to school as snacks.

I look at them and think, yummy biscuits, I can resist you (never talk out loud though).

And sometimes, yummy biscuits, I can choose to eat just one as I am a little hungry but one is enough!

But every so often the biscuits get the better of me!

winedog Thu 02-Jun-11 21:33:11

Hi erebus, I think Gillian Rilley is adressing those of us who have been on the same diet merry go round time and time again with the same results-getting nowhere or making it worse. I heard on the radio today that this is a definition of insanity-doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Her book has certainly helped me understand a lot of the goings on in my head around food.

Italiangreyhound Fri 03-Jun-11 00:51:02

Hi erebus hope you don't mind me chipping in (?).

I love the "As for my bath, well, I wouldn't be looking for my 'best bits' whilst wallowing up to my neck in suds!! My 'worst bits' loom out of the bubbles like distant coral atolls. Without the palm trees." Beautiful imagery. I am sure that is not the case! And can I ask erebus what TOTM, is?

I agree with winedog about doing the same thing again and again. I have lost the same stone about three times!

I've posted on the other Eating less thread that I feel I have real problems with food and I am getting there slowly on the New ID course but I do think what I have seen of Gillian Riley makes sense. The last few days have been really bad with me eating very badly. I sometimes thank when you face these fear (foods) it almost as if your body goes into overdrive and you eat very badly, but once you have worked out that you do have a choice, I feel you have the chance to make a difference. I guess feeling you don't have a choice about what you eat is one of the things that makes my eating disordered.

I do like Supersize vs Superskinny as it kind of shows you what can happen when eating gets out of hand!

Watching this, it is very sad, about using food to satisfy emotions.

All the best.

Italiangreyhound Fri 03-Jun-11 00:59:56

Oh sorry, just realised there is a very sad bit in that Supersize Vs Superskinny programme. One lady lost her baby at 5 months. Just to warn you. I would not want anyone to be upset by watching it.

erebus Fri 03-Jun-11 11:29:23

Hi greyhound (do you have an Italian greyhound? DH wants one to replace the whippet we had to leave behind in Oz!)

Anyway! TOTM is 'time of the month' (as in period, though I'm sure you get it! grin). And believe me, the natives on my coral atolls are building Eden projects... the bumps keep growing!

I will watch the programme but thanks for the warning.

And yes, winedog I agree entirely that GR is more or less telling us that the only way to conquer out of control eating is to confront it. And it often takes many fad diets to get us to the point of recognising it!

I weighed this morning and it wasn't the best news- not hugely surprised, a combo of TOTM (though I thought it was sufficiently 'over' to have lost the water retention); eating at a Turkish restaurant last night (didn't go mad but wasn't as disciplines as I might have been) and, again TMI here, the need to 'use the bathroom' (increased fruit and veg consumption!).

I will weigh myself again tomorrow a.m. as I'm sure it will show a loss rather than a 1lb gain, which, of course, is nothing in the big picture, but the psychology will be good. I have decided that I will weigh myself til I achieve 12 stone which will be a 1 stone weight loss, then I will go more GR (ie not weighing twice a week!)

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Italiangreyhound Fri 03-Jun-11 12:52:32

Hi all, I just posted this on another thread, it does explain about the programme I mentioned last night.

There are two programmes. I have watched them both but the one I was thinking of was shown originally on 8PM Tuesday 10 May 2011 Channel 4 and says "Sugar junkie Danni Brooke swaps with 21-year-old Vicki Smith from Glasgow. Episode 7 Danni vs Vicki" If you are interested you have 6 days left to watch it from today.

What was interesting is that Danni meets Angel, an American lady who is very, very overweight. What is interesting is that Angel says something like 'The deliciousness of the food and the taste is not worth all this...(being so fat)" or words to that effect. It's funny because it reminded me of a saying that was doing the rounds about 10 or 20 years ago - Nothing tastes as good as thin feels!

It doesn't really make sense when you are fat because you can't remember what thin feels like! Well, that was my experience!

If interested this website has some thoughts BUT I have not read it all - only the initial post. I am not saying I agree with it all, or the following comments from others, which I did not read! But it does pose a thought about feelings. As I have come to the conclusion feelings are at the front of this food problem business. So actually feeling fat or thin is not necessarily a good gauge!

ANYWAY back to Supersize verses Superskinny (above) where Angel says something like 'The deliciousness of the food and the taste is not worth all this...(being so fat)"

NOW that does make sense (to me). It is not worth ruining your life for food. True she was about 40 stone and I am not, but even if you are a few stones over weight it may well already be impacting your health!

I am about 3-5 stone over my optimal weight, let’s say 4 for the sake of ease! (That is working on BMI which gives my weight to height about two stone ratio - 8 something to 10 something - pretty wide potential!) Anyway, although it is good to focus on the positive, I would like to be slim, have more breath, energy, umph etc - I also think it is wise to take on board warnings from other!

So I know that too much food ends up making you ill, really ill. That is why I do watch this type of programme, Supersize vs Superskinny, it is a kind of warning. I hope I would never get to 40 stone but then I guess the lady in that programme thought that too!

All the best with the ongoing healthy eating.

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