A Major Roadblock...Or A Phase - You Decide
The Great Fire of London in 1666 was at the time a terrible calamity for the capital of England. However, as Stephen Fry points out in this clip, it was historically a blessing in disguise.
Success Disappointment (SD) can be likened to The Great Fire of London - it is a blessing in disguise.
It is something that I have noticed some people go through when they take a more sustainable approach to their eating issues.
It can either be a signal to fall off the wagon and revert to your old self-sabotage. Or it can be an opportunity to recommit to your goal, and accept yourself more - both of which bring The Effortless Tipping Point closer.
You decide which you want.
What Is Success Disappointment?
It looks like this:
I’ve done everything right and worked really hard for ....... days but I don’t feel as great as I thought I would.
After a week off the junk, all I can say is I didn’t realise that sugar was such a crutch for me. What am I going to do without it? I feel lost.
I’ve managed a day. You mean to say I have to do another.... days?
I gave up drinking once. Worst 8 hours of my life! - Patsy, Absolutely Fabulous
P.S. I'm delighted to tell you that Patsy's very words are immortalised here right at the start of this video:
Success Disappointment is what happens when your fantasies about the end result of changing your eating collide with the reality that it takes time to stop wanting the sugar high, or feeling of comfort that overeating gave you.
The truth is that there is a process of getting used to not managing your stress or feelings or indeed your life with food, ie managing those things yourself. It is uncomfortable.
Why Does It Happen?
At the start of any big change, you are fuelled by what we can call End Result Motivation: you mentally leapfrog the hard work of weaning yourself off sugar, or comfort eating, or whatever - all you can see is the prize at the end of the road. How great you will feel when you no longer have to manage those cravings.
We need End Result Motivation, or we’d never get anything worth doing done in life. We’d never set any exciting goals, or start anything.
However, on its own it is not enough.
Success Disappointment can quickly replace End Result Motivation, depending on how dependent you have been on food to manage your life up to this point.
SD can feel all the more powerful because for some people they only just realise what a crutch food has been when they take it away.
How Can I Stop Feeling Success Disappointment?
I can sit here and tell you that if you are consistent, you will get used to feeling your feelings instead of eating them, and SD will fade away.
We both know that is true - but I know how unhelpful that advice is right now when things feel quite raw. I can see you rolling your eyes and groaning “But I don’t want to wait that long!”
The truth is that SD does fade, but doesn’t happen overnight.
The following ideas will help you cope in the meantime, and probably speed the process up.
#1 Find A Bigger Why
I’m not a fan of soap operas, but I remember one storyline years ago in Coronation Street where an alcoholic finally managed to stop drinking when his son went to prison. (In true soap opera fashion, the son was innocent).The man’s thinking was: if my son cannot have a drink in prison then neither will I.
He had found a bigger why.
Doubtless you too can find a bigger why for changing your eating.
Why do you want to reclaim your life from food? If it is just about feeling better, then Success Disappointment will really stop you in your tracks.
I remember the fear I had when I started coaching, put out my first blog post, ebook and then started my podcast. What kept me going was I knew that this problem people had with food was bigger than me. My message was bigger than me, and therefore more important than my fear of failure.
Here are some deeper reasons for changing your eating. Which can you connect to? Which make Success Disappointment more bearable?
#A Being a role model to a child or someone less fortunate than yourself
#B If you can do this thing you have wanted to achieve for so long, just think what else you can do in life? Financial changes. Other health goals. Changing the world, if only a fraction of an inch.
#C A life unfettered by useless guilt and shame. Freedom. Now see #B above.
#2 Stand Up To Sabotage You
You can identify the energy behind your self sabotage as a character living in your head who sometimes tries to take over.
But they are not all of you.
I used to call this character Sabotage Harriet.
When I felt the urge to self sabotage, I would say “Sabotage Harriet is coming out to play. Well, she’s got another thing coming if she thinks I’m going to just fall in line with her bullying tactics.”
We can discuss in sessions if this character is useful or not for you.
I found it quite powerful because it took the spotlight off my cravings and elevated my saying no to the junk from miserable pleasure deprivation to a brave and noble act, my own heroine’s journey.
Instead of hoping that End Result Motivation will pull you through your resistance, you accept that your motivation will wax and wane, rise and fall. This is part of the cycle of change.
And so you are constantly recommitting to your new way of eating.
See this page for more on that
Instead of fighting Success Disappointment, decide to embrace it as part of developing Uncomfortability. See
#5 Relaxation Audios
These will support you because when you feel Success Disappointment, you are in a state of stress.
Here is The Path, which is about accepting things you cannot change...like Success Disappointment. There are others I will give you as we progress with your coaching.
A Final Thought
Success Disappointment is inescapable.
If you do those magic pill programmes that give you temporary results, you still have to experience Success Disappointment when you fall off the wagon and revert to your old ways. (Oh look, fitting into those skinny jeans didn’t actually save my failing marriage.)
Only you don’t know that this is Success Disappointment - you think you have failed AGAIN.
So instead I urge you to be ready for Success Disappointment and do everything suggested above. In this way it will become an expected phase in your sustainable success, and a great training programme for the other disappointments that life will inevitably serve up for us. We learn to be humble, to turn the volume down on our own discomfort, to develop resilience.
And THAT is the gift in disguise of Success Disappointment.