Dec 14, 2009

Day 13 - The Beck Diet Solution

In Day 13 Beck addresses conquering cravings with an exercise to measure the intensity of cravings, some mindset techniques and some behavioural techniques.

I found this chapter really interesting because she doesn't recommend giving in. Her plan of attack is to conquer the craving completely and to practice this, like any skill, so that eventually it will become easier and easier.

Personally, I've found that when I am eating properly, sleeping enough and doing some kind of exercise regularly, the cravings are virtually non - existent and those I do have are so mild that they are easily conquered by distracting myself.

Here's a quick overview of the anti-craving strategies she suggests:

Mindset Techniques 
  1. Label it. Decide this is a craving and its not an emergency.
  2. Stand firm. Remind yourself you want to practice not giving in to cravings.
  3. Don't give yourself a choice. Giving in and eating what you're craving is not an option.
  4. Imagine the aftermath of giving in. Remind yourself how you have felt every other time you've given in to a craving, the feeling of loss of control, the feeling of self-sabotage, the feeling of weakness. Remind yourself how terrible it felt.
  5. Remind yourself why you want to learn to withstand cravings. Pull out the response cards and read them and remind yourself what is more important, this "food" or your ultimate goals.
I've never tried anything like this before, so I've printed this out on yet another card and will try it next time a craving hits.

If the mindset technique doesn't work, then she recommends trying the following:

Behavioural Techniques
  1. Distance yourself from the food you crave.  Move the food out of sight or get rid of it.
  2. Drink a no calorie or low calorie beverage.  Sometimes thirst feels like hunger and sets off a trigger to eat.
  3. Relax. Focus on breathing slowly or other meditation techiques.
  4. Distract yourself. Go for a walk, read a book, do your nails, do a craft, brush your teeth...etc.
Number 4 is usually my "go to" and works most of the time.

So, how do you fight cravings when they hit or how do you avoid them hitting at all? I think Beck's plan to conquer the craving looks great on paper but like she says, will take alot of practice to make a reality, but I'm up for a challenge so like I said, I'll give it a shot next time a craving hits and the time after that and after that - until I get it right!

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