June 23

don’t think about polar bears

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When we try really hard to not think about something it tends to become the only thing we think about.

 

If we are asked to not think of a polar bear then that is immediately what we think of.

 

Most of us know that trying to push away negative thoughts and feelings is rarely successful.

 

 

The polar bear example is used in training therapists in CBT – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

 

I am currently training towards a certification in CBT to help me be a better coach.

 

We need to come up with a more effective method than just trying to squash down or ignore our negative thoughts and feelings.

 

Constructive behaviours and problem solving skills are important in order to overcome them.

 

The goal is to ‘notice’, ‘name’, ‘process’ and ‘let go’.

 

This same process can be applied to food and drink.

 

When we try to resist certain foods we find we want them even more.

 

If we tell ourselves we can’t have chocolate then we can find ourselves thinking about it all the time!

 

Trying to deny ourselves bread because we believe it ‘makes us fat’ often leads to us eventually binging on it.

 

This all goes perfectly with what I was talking about yesterday – not being restrictive!

 

We need a constructive mindset rather than a restrictive mindset.

 

A constructive plan to allow ourselves to eat all foods in moderation.

 

How do we come up with a plan to have our favourite ‘naughty’ foods without going overboard?

 

It can be very scary to start with.

 

If you are someone who doesn’t keep certain foods in the house because you ‘can’t control yourself’ around them, the idea of including them in small amounts might seem impossible.

 

Re-introduce a food on a very gradual basis.

 

Gradual ‘exposure’ is used to help people with phobias and we can use the same method.

 

Have a small portion of your ‘danger’ food included in one meal on one day and really enjoy it.

 

Challenge the perception that it is ‘bad’ or ‘always causes you to lose control’.

 

Start gradually, most foods can be bought in small ‘individual’ portions

 

You do not necessarily need to suddenly keep large stocks of these foods in your cupboard and ‘resist’ them.

 

Buy enough for one meal at a time.

 

As you challenge your perceptions and gradually expose yourself to eating them you will reduce the fear

 

As you break the fear and guilt you will increase your control.


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