Today's exercise is why I really love this book. It talks about the self-talk that needs to happen to talk yourself down from the ledge or out of the drive-thru. According to Beck, cravings start to diminish the absolute second you decide not to stray from your plan. Cravings will increase if you are undecided and that indecision creates tension that feeds emotional eating (for me).
One of the skills to learn is to think not about the feeling of enjoyment that you WILL receive when indulging, but think about how you will feel AFTER eating an unplanned thing. Do you feel heavier in your body or more heavy-hearted? Dear lord, how many times have I stepped onto this self-loathing merry-go-round? More times than I care to count. No one deserves the kind of beating that we heap upon ourselves if we make some bad choices.
This is actually part of why all of this is so emotionally fraught with danger, I think. In some ways, it sets up some perfectionist thinking - I must not eat this thing - I must be perfect because if I "fail" again, I will feel like shit. On the other hand, I do recognize that it is easier for me to completely avoid some foods than to try to moderate. Obviously, this is an area which will require work in the future.
This book is filled with practical advice as well, including the four steps to overcoming a craving. 1. Distance yourself from the siren call. 2. Drink a diet soda - sometimes you really are just thirsty. 3. Relax. Breathe. Learn to self-calm yourself. 4. Distract yourself. And the book gives an actual list of distractions for you to try and rate as being helpful. I KNOW this technique works - I used it successfully to quit smoking - I know that I did enough crossword puzzles that I think I wore out my eyesight! The other really helpful piece of advice was to pre-assemble the things you would need to distract yourself so that they would be available at the time of need. Practical, useful and potentially brilliant advice. Planning in advance for the obstacles. Making the decision that I will follow these steps when faced with a craving. Makes all the sense in the world to me.