In Part I, we looked at some simple tools we could use to help combat the impulse to overeat: being mindful, changing your triggers, making a list of situations you cannot control and formulating alternatives, and creating new habits.
In Part II, we addressed additional helpful alternatives for combating the urge: Be cautious of your environment, remind yourself of how crappy you feel, disengage to reengage, and get mad instead of sad or happy — at the advertisers of course.
In this article, we will add to those tips to give you more tools for your arsenal, focusing more specifically on handling those urges.
Practice “Thought Stopping”: Coined by Richard Rawson of UCLA (who specializes in working with recovering drug addicts), you literally change the channel in your mind of what you are focusing on.
Turning off the thought must happen immediately. Rawson states that, “You’re not helpless about this; you can make a decision, but you have to make the decision quickly.”
David A. Kessler, MD, echoes that statement, “The more seconds you spend thinking about what to do in the face of an urge, the greater the chance that you’ll ultimately give in to it. Once you begin to debate, ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’, you’ve lost the battle.”
Counter-condition your thought process: This works by associating a negative thought to an appealing trigger food. For example, when you see those cute dessert trays at a baby shower or spicy buffalo wings at a cookout, see hundreds of calories wrapped up as fat and sugar that will stick exactly where you don’t want them to for everyone to see: gut, butt and thighs. Or, try putting an unflattering picture of you at your unhealthiest on the fridge to make you think twice before opening the door.
Talk it out. Tell yourself out loud why you don’t want that food. Say things like:
“I don’t want to be soft and squishy like that donut.”
“I’m not a garbage can.”
“If I don’t control myself now, I won’t be able to next time either.”
“It’ll make me feel so awful later. It’s not worth it.”
“I’ll be mad at myself if I eat it, but I will be happy if I don’t.”
“I’ll weigh less tomorrow if I don’t eat that.”
“I’m healthy inside and out, and I make healthy choices. I don’t eat junk.”
Don’t forget to exercise!: Not only does it help make you stronger, leaner and more fit, it also helps keep your weight in check and boost your self-image. It’s great at busting stress and combating cravings. You try going for a run and then facing a donut! I guarantee you’ll think twice.
This concludes my three-part series on “No More Overeating!”. I hope that it helps you to fight the urge and make healthier choices.
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com. She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com or www.PinkIslandFitness.com and (239) 333-5771.