Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Overcome Cravings

There is a whole section in "The Beck Diet Solution" that tackles the issue of overcoming cravings, or to go along with the theme I've had this week: making weak things become strong, and mastering yourself.  Just because you are searching for self mastery and trying to gain self control doesn't mean you can't get as much help as you can find.  Cravings are a normal part of dieting and we have to learn to overcome them.  There are a few key points that Dr. Beck makes in her section about overcoming cravings
  • "To weaken the intensity and reduce the frequency of cravings you have to stop giving into them" page 127
  • "Cravings don't usually go away by trying to satisfy them with just a taste." page 127
  • "Waiting out a craving increases your ability to tolerate cravings and also increases your confidence that you can do so.  The more often you wait out your cravings, the less intense and less frequent they'll be in the future." page 127
  • "Once I stop giving into cravings and they become much weaker and less frequent, dieting will be easier." page 134
Then Dr. Beck gives you some different techniques to try and help you deal with cravings.  She details many mindfulness techniques.
  1. Label it (tell yourself it is a craving, it is not an emergency, and you can overcome it)
  2. Stand Firm (decide immediately that you will not give into it)
  3. Don't give yourself a choice 
  4. Imagine the aftermath of giving in (the sick feeling in your stomach and the low self esteem)
  5. Remind yourself you want to learn to withstand cravings
After you run through these five points then it is time to take action:
  1. Distance yourself from the food you crave (for me it's leaving the kitchen)
  2. Drink some water or a no calorie beverage 
  3. Relax- meditate? 
  4. Distract yourself
That last one is huge.  Distracting yourself is key to overcoming a craving.  You have to get your mind off of the craving.  My cravings and mindless eating always comes in the afternoon around 3:00 so from now on 3:00-4:30 is movie time, and I am going to be working on my cross stitch.  Get involved in some sort of activity to take your mind off food.
Overcoming cravings also goes right along with stopping unplanned eating.  Making a food plan the night before and sticking to it and making a rule that you have no choice to deviate from your food plan will help when you are feeling indecisive.  You remember that you have no choice, and stick to your food plan.  Dr. Beck suggests making a few rules that you can live with that will help, these are going to be specific for you and your needs.  I have been really wish washy about desserts over the past year.  I have tried to take them out completely, tried to eat them in moderation all to no avail.  I know I don't want to give them up forever, and every time I cut them out it backfires on me.  But I know that sweets trigger binges, so the rule I came up with for myself is this:

No desserts until after dinner.

That will prevent binges during my most vulnerable time: the early afternoon before dinner.  Plus I won't be hungry from not having eaten anything for the past three or four hours so I am going to give this a try and see how it works.  Hopefully I will be back to making progress!

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