There was one other time when I attempted to fix the psychological side of my eating issues. I attended a weekly group counseling sessions to overcome my emotional eating. The group counselor plugged the principles of eating only when you are hungry, and eating only what your body tells you to eat as outlined in Geneen Roth’s books, “Why Weight? A Guide to Ending Compulsive Eating” and “Breaking Free from Emotional Eating.” Great theory. Great ideas. And very difficult to implement and maintain (for me at least).
Before attending this group counseling sessions, I was very stressed/depressed and overcome with feelings of guilt for eating “bad” foods. At the time, my cravings for "bad" food was very strong. I deprived myself of these foods to avoid the inevitable guilty conscious. The new principles broke down the guilt factor. Today, I only “eat when hungry” and “eat only what your body needs” when it suits me. So now, I routinely give myself permission to indulge in chocolate, baked goodies since my guilty feelings have softened over the years.
Chapter four: How to Use the Beck Diet Solution outlines how the program works. Basically there is a new task each day for six weeks. Some tasks are a one-time event; others are completed on a regular schedule (daily/weekly). Dr. Beck also recommends a 14-day wait period before starting a diet plan to help get in the right mindset. (Yikes, how many miniature Skor bars and chocolate wafers can I eat in fourteen days?)
What I like about the Beck Diet Solution (as opposed to the eating-only-when-hungry ideology) is that it’s a process; I’ll focus on one new task or lesson per day and build from there. I’m not overwhelmed with being perfect starting from day 1. The rules for the eating-only-when-hungry were few and simple, but I found difficult to implement especially for specific situations such as food in the office kitchenette or keeping temptations at bay after watching a Dairy Queen commercial.
After completing the Beck Diet Solution, I should notice the following things:
- Diminished cravings (yay!);
- No panicking when hungry (no time to panic, I eat long before hunger hits);
- Automatically plan food to eat each day (no a fan of food planning);
- Consistently follow the plan, even on special occasions (we’ll see);
- Feel proud about turning down food instead of feeling deprived (yay!);
- Feel proud of yourself (makes sense);
Time will tell if this program works for me, but I’m hopeful and positive and will work diligently on each task. I realize that it will take longer than six weeks to change my thinking permanently; I do think that this is the beginning of the end of my weight struggles.
So how did I do today? My first thought of food came on the train to work, when I realized that I wasn’t thinking about my morning snack (food bender). I was worried that I might begin dreaming about junk food snack, but the sabotaging thoughts didn’t escalate farther than a passing thought. I even managed to buy a diet coke at the dollar store without a visit to the chocolate aisle.
It felt good to feel free from constant obsessing about food. I was scared to think about the fact that I wasn't thinking about food. I immediately tried to think of something else since I thought that I would start thinking about Reese's peanut butter cups or skor bars. I shouldn't avoid these thoughts, I need to experience them to practice controlling them. I've been eating/snacking automatically for years, so it will take time to not eat automatically.