emergency or firehouse crews rely on a process they’ve planned out in advance.
When a call comes in, staff members immediately stop whatever they’re doing and begin using the countdown for tackling the challenge in front of them.
You can develop a similar “stop everything” response to help you manage your food struggles. From your head hunger and heart hunger lists of things to do instead of eating, select a few that are your favorites.
Examples might include grabbing a piece of gum, taking a short walk or writing in your journal for five minutes.
You might want to create one list for head hunger and a different one for heart hunger. Plan that each of your stop signs will include three items.
Anytime you’re tempted to reach for food, pull out one of your stop signs and do the three things on your list. Carry your lists with you or, better yet, memorize them so you can draw on them instantly whenever the need arises.
Once you decide to use your stop sign, do it quickly, before you change your mind. Don’t let your resolve weaken or try to convince yourself a little bit of food won’t hurt you.
In many cases, the food does hurt you by increasing your emotional struggles or by harming your self-esteem.
1. List three things you will use as your “stop sign” plan for handling head hunger.
Do tasks such as sorting stuff. Take a walk. Wait 10 minutes.
2. Now list three things you for your “stop sign” plan for handling heart hunger.
Play the piano. Make a pot of tea and enjoy it by the window. Read books or catalogs.
3. Copy your stop signs onto a small card to carry with you as an instant reminder. Share your lists with a buddy and agree that you’ll both use them as a set of emergency coping skills. Write some notes about how this changes your patterns of emotional eating.
I printed off a Stop Sign that I will keep in my purse. When we go out to dinner and I’m tempted to order dessert, I’ll pull out the sign and put it on the table. I told my husband I’d be doing this, and he thought it was a great idea for both of us!