Thursday, January 01, 2009

Food Rehab

A few essential principles lie at the foundation of Food Rehab as outlined in The end of overeating by David A Kessler:

Conditioned hypereating is a biological challenge, not a character flaw. Recovery is impossible until we stop viewing overeating as an absence of willpower.

Treating conditioned hypereating means recognizing it as a chronic problem that needs to be managed, not one that can be completely cured.

Every time we act on our desire for sugar, fat, and salt, and earn a reward as a result, it becomes harder for us to act differently the next time. Effective treatment breaks the cue-urge –reward-habit cycle at the core of conditioned hypereating.

The loss of control that characterizes conditioned hypereating is magnified by diets that leave us feeling deprived.

New learning can stick only when it generates a feeling of satisfaction. We can’t sustain a change in behavior if it leaves us hungry, u7nhappy, angry or resentful.

Restoring control over eating requires us to take a comprehensive approach, one that has many interlocking steps. To gain the upper hand, we need strategies that address the multiple behavioral, cognitive, and nutritional elements of conditioned hypereating.

Lapses are to be expected. Most of us are never fully cured of conditioned hypereating. We remain vulnerable to the pull of old habits, although , with time and the rewards that accompany success, they do lose some of their power. With practice, we can find ways to use “slips” to our advantage, as tools for recognizing where we might stumble and reminders of the need to develop new learning.

Eventually, we can begin to think differently about food, recognizing its valu7e to sustain us and protect us from hunger, and denying it the authority to govern our lives.

How to confront Conditioned Hypereating:

Replace chaos with structure
Eat “just-right” amounts
Choose food that satisfies
Eat food you enjoy (and can control)
Rehearse mentally
Seize control
Interrupt habits
Stay alert to stress
Develop rules
Get out of the Path of Cues
Figure out what leads to overeating
Refuse what you can’t control
Have an alternate plan
Limit your exposure
Remember the stakes
Direct your attention elsewhere
Learn active resistance
Deal with Urges
Stop (obsessive) thoughts; Change the channel
Condition cues with negative associations
Talk down the urge