Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just say no!

Tonight I tried some cognitive behavioral therapy on myself. I'm surprised how well it worked.

Earlier tonight I had eaten a nice dinner of a chicken breast with spicy barbecue sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts with olive oil and sea salt (my favorite), and a cup of milk (I'm really working on trying to get the Healthy Eight).

I have a planned snack for later of fresh pineapple and yogurt. My plan is to eat this snack at 11pm, my normal bewitching hour, but only if I'm hungry. I want to be prepared to stop a binge if all my resolve falls apart. I've had two good nights, I'm going for three.

After dinner I was reading some blogs and saw someone had a Kashi granola bar for a snack. It reminded me of the nut & fruit bars we bought a few months ago at Costco. They're mostly nuts and seeds, with a little dried fruit. They're delicious but very high in calories and fat (6 Points each). Earlier today I saw my husband eating one. I remembered how good they tasted. I was leaving for the gym and didn't give it another thought. Until I read about the blogger's Kashi bar.

My mind immediately started thinking about the nut & fruit bars, how good they tasted. I thought one would really be good right now. It would kind of be like a dessert since they're a little sweet, and I love nuts. I thought maybe I'll have one. Forget about trying to lose weight, I feel like having one right now.

Then I remembered reading this in "The end of overeating" (pg. 182):

"Effective intervention draws us away from the conditioning power of a stimulus before it triggers its usual response. It reminds us that it's possible to say no. Intervention begins with knowledge that we have a moment of choice--but only a moment--to recognize what is about to happen and do something else instead.

The cornerstone of treatment for conditioned hypereating is developing the capacity to refuse the cue's invitation to the brain in the first place. That refusal must come early, and it must be definitive. It's only at the very beginning, when the invitation arises that you have any control over it. At that point it's still possible to turn away from the stimulus. Once we get started, a cascade of events--stimulation, response, and more stimulation--is likely to drive behavior."

I immediately told myself NO! I'm not screwing up my entire day by eating one of those stupid nut & fruit bars. I don't have the available Points, I don't even like them that much anyway, and I'm not even hungry. I just had dinner. I told myself to stop thinking about it because I wasn't going to happen.

I refused the cue, the mental stimuli I had in my head. Instead I had a glass of ice water. Easy to do? Not totally. Impossible? Of course not.

I really believe we can retrain ourselves to react differently to food stimuli. The trick is that we have to make a conscious effort to do this. We can't waver, keep thinking about the food, should I eat it, should I not?

Just like we'd be assertive with someone that wanted to do something harmful to us, to hurt us, we need to be assertive with ourselves.

Shut down the thought process immediately. If it's not something you planned on eating and you don't have the Points for it, think about something else. The immediate and temporary gratification isn't worth it. Just say no to yourself.


~ugly girl with a beautiful heart~ said...

omg Diana I've had a night of wanting to eat everything in sight! I haven't had anything since like 5:30ish...but I thought about a big fat juicy pb&j sandwich and a big cup of cold milk and started drooling. I want it, but I don't. Gah! I feel your pain!

Rettakat said...

This is major, huge, excellent stuff. Very similar to the approach I use... maybe just different terminology.
The sounds... weird maybe, but I do have "issues" with food cues. There are some blogs that I have actually stopped following because they posted so many photos of scrumptious food, I would actually feel my mouth water! Talk about food cue and stimulus, LOL!

I appreciate reading this reminder about the power and danger of the stimulus, and that we have a time, right at the beginning, when we do have a choice. Thanks for the reminder, and job well done putting it into practice!

MizFit said...


Im such a believer in cognitive behavioral therapy (types the woman who isnt using her masters in counseling right now :)) as it has truly changed many facets of my life.


Sweety On A Diet said...

I think it will get easier over time!

Kyle Gershman said...

I'm new to your blog...I believe if they just hand out cards with "Intervention begins with knowledge that we have a moment of choice--but only a moment--to recognize what is about to happen and do something else instead.", we wouldn't need millions of books on the subject.

Thanks for sharing this very pertinent section of your reading.

Getting Better and Better

Natalia said...

Glad it worked!! I need to try it too.

A Christ Follower said...

I can totally relate to this post. I often find myself craving something after I have seen it. Like this weekend. My parents bought summer sausage a couple weeks ago and put it in the bottom drawer in the fridge. I rarely go in there, but this weekend I did. I saw it, wanted it, and ate it. Thanks for the reminder that I have a choice and don't have to give into those cravings. ♥Rhea

Anonymous said...

Diana, WTG last night! You're right - it's not easy to say no to ourselves, but we have to. We do it in so many other areas of our lives, too! It just feels harder with food.

The GOOD NEWS is that it gets easier with time. AND, we can have that thing we're craving - on a day and at a time when we've planned for it and it won't represent straying from our plan for the day.

Keep it up!

AP said...

love the post. definitely some great tips to avoid wanting to snack when we don't have the points available for it!

Graciela said...

It's hell when that old binge monster strikes, I'm glad you're finding ways to deal with it.

I meant to comment on your post about your nail weird. I picked out that exact same Opi color for a pedicure prior to New Year's Eve. I actually went back to the salon and checked, because the color looked so familiar.

Anyway, I know that's just a little thing, but you and I seem to have so much in common. :)

antgirl said...

What a great post! That's what I have to say to meyself with the evening noshing. Because I gave up my afternoon snack, I believe it gives me leeway. But, it doesn't. Tonight I will follow your example and tell myself no.

Jackie Callahan said...

Yes, I have used this method before, problem for me is, I often have to do it again and again, because the craving, or thought impetus, comes back. I guess sometimes I get lazy, or give in, or worst of all, get to a point where I don't care. But I find removing myself physically from where the food is, is very helpful, too. Also, giving myself another kind of gift (go practice yoga, meditate, do something creative) often helps alot.Thanks for sharing!