This past week, I met Jon socially, at a party. We had known each other slightly. He told me he had read my cognitive therapy books on dieting and wanted me to know which technique had helped him the most. It had been emailing his “diet buddy,” when he was tempted to eat something he wasn’t supposed to. With his permission, I cut and pasted below an old email he forwarded to me.
Okay, I really want to eat the pizza in the kitchen. Everyone (okay, not everyone) in the office is having some but I already had lunch. My sabotaging thoughts are back….It’ll be okay. I’ll make up for it later.
But I really know it’s NOT okay. Not if my goal is to lose weight. I don’t want to fall back in to the habit of eating extra food just because it’s there. It’s what I used to do.
Hey, it happened again. The craving went away as I was typing this email. I’m actually fine. I feel like…it’d be nice to eat the pizza. But I know I won’t. Back to work.
It was important for Jon to email his diet buddy like this. After doing so about ten times in a row (over the course of several days), he really learned that cravings do go away. He doesn’t have to eat. Now he doesn’t need to email his diet buddy very often, either. He knows that telling himself, “No choice. I’m not eating this [food] I hadn’t planned” and engaging in a compelling activity makes his cravings go away, every time.