In this chapter, Beck talks about emotional eating. I found this chapter to very similar to Day 13 - Conquering Cravings in that she suggests both Mindset Techniques and Behavioural Techniques to fight back against emotional eating.
To all my Weight Watcher bloggers, does this sound familiar?
"If hunger is not the problem, food is not the solution."
Beck doesn't use those exact WW words, but the premise is the same. She starts by asking us to accept that negative feelings are a part of life and we can't eliminate them. She reminds us that using food to deal with negative feelings will create more negative feelings.
Beck's first piece of advice is to label how you're feeling.
"I'm angry because of.......I'm not hungry."
"I'm hurt because.....I'm not hungry."
"I'm disappointed because....I'm not hungry."
Once we've recognized what the feeling is and what the problem is and that it is not hunger, it seems a logical conclusion that eating won't solve the problem. On the one hand it seems a bit simplistic, on the other hand - simplicity works! I think the biggest step is the first one, learning and training ourselves to STOP and THINK and LABEL before starting to eat. If we can master that one step, then I think emotional eating can be beaten. It won't be easy and we won't always succeed, but the more we practice - like anything else - the easier it will be and the better we will be at succeeding until it becomes the first thing we do rather than the last.
Once the feeling is labelled, make a concious and firm decision that you will not eat. Eating is not an option to solve this problem.
If you're still struggling, imagine how you will feel if you do give in to emotional eating. What will you feel like afterwards? Are those feelings worth giving in right now for a temporary solution?
Lastly, deal with the real problem to the extent that it is possible. We all have situations in our life that are not going to be fixed in one day and can't be dealt with, which is why we probably turn to food in the first place - a sense of no control and frustration.
Of course, she recommends creating response cards to help you remember these steps and using them whenever the need arises.
Her behavioural technique suggestions are similiar to those for cravings; distraction or relaxation.
I think this chapter was a good reminder of the basic principal that food does not solve emotional issues and how to remind ourselves of it when the need arises.
I have the WW mantra written in my Daytimer for days that I know are going to be emotionally difficult, i.e. sad anniversaries, deadlines at work and it really does help to see the written reminder before I actually need it.