Similar to the “cues” key, this is about figuring out, examining, and eliminating your bad eating habits. Like, do you come home from work and munch your way through 300+ calories while you prepare dinner? go to bed with a big snack? eat dinner while watching TV? All of these are patterns that including “eating in places not the dining room table, in an unconscious manner, ignoring the experience of eating, eating simply because of reflex, and eating automatically.”
Dr. Phil wants you first to figure out what these habits are for you. I know what mine were, last year: taking that snack and glass(es) of wine to the couch with me after kiddos were in bed as my way to decompress and forget how bad my body hurt. I did other less-than-healthy things, but that was my “go-to” naughty habit.
Next, you are to “probe your payoffs” – figure out why you do it. For me, it made a wonderful, relaxing transition between the pressures of kidsworkkids to “just me” time. It literally (chemically) relaxed me fast with those glorious endorphins and the depressant effect of alcohol. It was pleasurable, it led to calm and emotional “relief,” it felt like I “was treating myself” to something for making it through another day.
Next, you are to (a) “replace bad habits with incompatible ones” (go for a walk when you would normally eat, knit and keep your hands too busy to eat…); (b) plan how to deal with “impulse moments”; and (c) change your eating style.
I’d say most of my success at the nighttime eating thing has been by replacing my “munch your way till bedtime” with “have a brownie with a little PB and a LOT of hot (herbal) tea.” The herbs in the tea (I like Tazo Rest and Sleepytime Vanilla best so far) both relax me and fill me up. The chocolate/PB combo soothes my “treat” impulse. And I am also going down to the basement and playing computer games with DH a lot more, keeping my hands busy and away from my mouth. 🙂 I got an electric kettle at home for just this purpose, which I use nightly. I splurge on teas to try – and remind myself that you can get A LOT OF TEA for the price of a single bottle of wine, ha!
As to (b) he makes a good point – you don’t really need “willpower” 24/7 – you need it at isolated moments throughout the day/evening. For instance, I have to deal with the urge to NOT get candy off my paralegal’s desk long about 4:00. How do I do this? First, I have all KINDS of sugar free gum in my drawer. Second, I stay AWAY from her office then. Third, I eat my last work Nom packet at 4:30 – a little early after the 2:00 meal, but just right to get me through to dinner and distract me from her candy jar. So in short, know your trigger times/places throughout the day, and make a plan to attack them directly.
Changing your eating style is about (to sum up) not eating unconsciously. or to frame it in the positive, eating consciously. The first or second week on medifast, I was savoring what I thought was the last bite of my afternoon bar, chewing it slowly and (at the risk of TMI) really sucking the last bits off my teeth and enjoying it. Then I realized that there was still a bite left, and a lightbulb went off: I should savor EVERY bite as if it were the last bite. Doing that has really slowed down my eating and (to be trite) I am satisfied with a LOT less food.