A few months ago, I heard some girls on a Weight Watchers message board I frequent singing the praises of Dr. Judith Beck’s book, “The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person,” a self-help guide which embraces cognitive therapy (her father coined the phrase) as a method for overcoming emotional eating issues. I got my hands on a copy as quickly as I could.
As this topic fascinates me, not surprisingly, I devoured the whole book in one weekend … I literally spent 48 hours gorging myself on her words, going through all the exercises, diligently jotting notes in my journal and on various response cards (i.e., notecards). Note to self: It’s not the way one should go about such a book, but it’s how I chose to do it, especially since a lot of her exercises were things I’d already been doing for four years, anyway.
That said, of all the things I learned, the phrase that resonated best with me is “No Choice.” It’s the process of setting up certain parameters ahead of time to mitigate a flop. For example, “I will not eat a snack unless I am seated at the table. No Choice.” Or, “I will not have wine at the staff party today. No Choice.”
It can also be applied in an proactive way: “I will do cardio and weights after work. No Choice.” Or, “I will eat at least two servings of whole grains today. No Choice.” And though we’re talking about emotional eating issues here, “No Choice” can really be applied to anything in life.
As an emotional eater, however, even keeping “No Choice” index cards on the fridge, on my desk wall at the office and in my purse isn’t always enough. Last night, I tried to tell myself, “No Choice” when I found myself raging the fridge mindlessly at 2 a.m… and it didn’t work. I didn’t flex what Dr. Beck calls my “resistance muscle” and I woke feeling guilty and defeated.
Still, today’s a new day, and hopefully if I wake in a twilight stupor tonight, I’ll have enough willpower to listen to my gut, which is telling me, “I will not succumb to a midnight incident tonight. No choice.”
How about you? Are your food struggles more of a physical or emotional challenge?