Friday, September 5, 2008

Thanks to bloggers with food addictions

Thank you Lisa, Adrienne, Franc, and anonymous for your comments and good wishes. And do tell your friends about this blog.

I'm looking forward to reading questions from people struggling with food addiction.

My problem seems to be dinner . . .

A participant of The Program writes:
Overall, I am experiencing great results. My problem seems to be dinner, when I want to have a bigger meal. Its not what I’m eating, its portion size, and I find when I’m out with my wife and we split a single meal –its great. When I order my own meal I tend to eat more. Also, I’ve learned that I MUST put my entire meal on a plate – and that’s it. If I have “family style” meals, where I can keep digging in, I seem to keep digging in too much.

My response to him:
Most important is that you're identifying the areas that need work such as your dinner meal when you're eating "on your own" . . These are skills you can learn. The first being awareness. . That when with your wife, the amount you eat is enough. . Not small or big but enough. And when you are not with her and eat more it might be more out of boredom or anxiety or any number of things but not hunger because you've proven you don't need as much as you used to eat. You're smaller. Your portions should be smaller too.

The goal is to find ways to cope with the discomfort rather than eating to relieve the discomfort caused by not eating.

You might always ask for an additional plate as soon as a waitperson puts down your entree. Do not pick up utensils (take a deep breath) until food is transferred to your plate; either ask the waitperson (wp) to remove the original plate or to pack it up so you can take it home (and have it two or three days from now (remembering to skip and scatter) . . freezing is best; I don't even take it out of the bag . . just shove it in the freezer). If that is not appropriate then after you've transferred food to your plate (from the serving plate) then build a waterglass/salt&peppershaker/flower/candle wall between you and it.

And c) leave the table 15 minutes into your meal . . find a phone, a bathroom, a front window, a door . . calm yourself down and then when you return ask if you're still hungry? You'll most likely eat two more bites rather than twelve more bites.

And lastly, think about all of these things BEFORE you put your hand on the restaurant door. Remind yourself that you want to weigh _____ pounds. Envision putting food on a second plate. . Consider having an appetizer or two instead of an entree. . Understand that you are a smaller person and you do not need as much food as the bigger you used to eat. Getting used to these things is your goal, to do these things again and again and again and again until the new way becomes the comfortable and preferred way. Repetition is the mother of skill.

These are some of the things you can remind yourself of when you review your notes. . Or, you can read and re-read this email after you've printed it out.

Hope this is helpful.
Enjoy your day,
Onward and downward,

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Went to dinner and blew it. .

A participant wrote this morning that he was doing so well but for the first time in weeks his scale went up. He went to dinner last night with several friends and couldn't say no to anything including free dessert that came with the meal even though he wasn't hungry. What you fail to realize is that every food encounter has a ritual of its own. And each ritual has an established (and very entrenched) frequency and portion size of the food and the ferocity with which you eat. Rather than overeating to the point of remorse, it's helpful to create and practice new ways to cope with the abundance of food found in most places. Otherwise you end up reinforcing a behavior that has an outcome which makes you unhappy.

Most of you end up eating not because you're hungry, but to relieve the discomfort caused by not eating. . If you find new ways to help the moment pass -- leave the table, move you or the object of your affection, make a waterglass-candle-flower-candle-salt & pepper shaker wall, push chair back. Anything is better than nothing. Take a deep breath. There. Ah. The moment passed. If you practice these things when you don't need them, you'll have them at the ready when you do need them.

Onward and downward,

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Food Addiction

What do all these things have in common? Eating, smoking, gambling, drinking, shopping, spending and negative thinking.

Answer: These are all habits gone haywire

I teach a behavioral approach to weight loss. I have found that many people are cross-addictive which is why the above list have many things in common. Any questions regarding these topics and why they are so hard for you to break I'll try to explain so you can begin change.