• Monika

How to deal with urges & temptations?


As I was thinking about writing this article, I was walking around various stores and supermarkets on empty stomach for about 2.5 hours....

I should have known better but hey, I thought it wouldn't take me so long to do what I was supposed to do, so I didn't come prepared.

Lesson no.1 always come prepared.

Long story short, anything in sight that had TONS of sugar looked super tempting.

I also thought about stopping at Starbucks, Chipotle, Panera Bread, Bagel Man and a dozen of other places...about a hundred times...

When I was at CVS I almost bought multiple bags of M&M's (which I don't even like).... I had no idea they had so many flavors!

Have you ever experienced anything like this?

Experiencing temptation and trying to fight your way through it?

I'm sure you have.

Today, I want to teach how to deal with temptations and urges and show you exactly how my own thought processing allowed me to come home without buying anything but Kombucha tea.

Here are 3 steps in dealing with urges:

1. Thought stopping & reframing - when you experience a cue, switch off the associated thought. No ambiguity, no maybes, no debates. Work on absolute and rigid responses to cues, that leave no room for doubt.

How I did it?

Whenever I had the urge (which was pretty much in every store I visited) to buy something from the junk food category I tried re-framing the situation.

I actually replaced

CANDY (cue) = DELICIOUS (associated thought)

with

CANDY = MAKES ME FEEL LIKE CRAP

or

CANDY = I DON'T EVEN LIKE THESE

or

CANDY = SUGAR CRUSH (I.E. NOT A HAPPY MONIKA)

2. Conditioning cues with negative associations - undercut the rewards value of food, and cool down the stimulus.

How I did it?

When I wanted to stop by Starbucks or Chipotle to get something for lunch I reminded myself that they use tons of fats, artificial ingredients and preservatives in their foods and that's not exactly what I like to put inside my body.

3. Talking down the urge - "eating this food will satisfy me only for a bit", "eating this will make me feel bad and keep me trapped", "I will be happier if I don't eat this".

How I did it?

If I was still struggling with being tempted I told myself that I felt that hungry because I was also really thirsty. As soon as this hit me I bought myself a cold Kombucha Tea at Trader Joe's and everything started to make sense again. I no longer felt the urgency to eat right now and was able to come home and make myself healthy and satisfying lunch.

I don't know if you've experienced this in your life but overeating, with its power to take us hostage, can be deeply demoralizing.

But when you gain the upper hand, by practicing the steps described above, the opposite effect can also occur.

The satisfaction of breaking the cycle that leads to the pursuit of unhealthy food can be reinforcing and it's own right.

You will gain a new sense of competence and pride.

Practice these 3 helpful steps and hopefully you will less tempted each time around.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me.