In 2019, Dr. Forman reviewed the follow-up results of a larger randomized controlled trial of 190 people, which found that participants who practiced acceptance and mindfulness strategies were twice as likely to maintain 10 percent weight loss after three years compared to those who mainly focused on them. on resisting temptations and suppressing food thoughts.
“Surprisingly, there was a big advantage in people’s quality of life that was somewhat unexpected,” said Dr. forman. “It also benefited their well-being and emotional state.”
How to deal with desires
For this week’s Eat Well Challenge, try these acceptance and mindfulness techniques to focus on food cravings. (Times subscribers can sign up for the Eat Well Challenge through the Well newsletter and receive additional advice by texting the word “Hello” to 917-810-3302 for a link to join.)
Practice ‘urge surfing’.
Cravings are short-lived and some studies suggest they peak around 5 minutes. “Pressure surfing” means “riding the wave” of your thoughts, feelings, and desires rather than acting on them, and it is a successful strategy often used to treat substance use. Follow these four steps.
Identify your desire. Use the phrase, “I have the urge to eat…” and fill in the blank.
Pay attention to what happens next. Notice the urge as it rises, tops, falls, and falls. Notice the intensity of a desire. “I have the urge to eat chips. It started out as a 5 but now it’s a 7.
“Our cravings inevitably rise and fall, just like waves in an ocean,” said Dr. forman. “Trying to fight that wave will never work. It doesn’t work if you want the desire to go away. You accept that it is there, and even that it should be there, and you live with it – surf – with it.’
Q: how little is enough?
There is nothing wrong with eating food you crave unless it becomes a problem for you. dr. Judson Brewer, an associate professor at Brown University School of Public Health who created a mindfulness app called Eat Right Now, told the story of a patient who routinely ate a full bag of chips while watching a favorite TV with her. show watched daughter.
Rather than discourage her from eating the chips, Dr. Brewer her to pay attention to each chip she ate and note how many chips it took to get full. Just a few weeks later, the woman reported that she had slowly weaned off her habit of chips, and now her craving was satisfied after the second chips.
“She can eat two and be done,” said Dr. brewer.
dr. Brewer said mindfulness can help people cope with food cravings without completely giving up a favorite food. “It’s not like we can never have a chocolate chip cookie,” said Dr. brewer. “But when I eat one, I really pay attention. I enjoy it, and I ask myself, ‘Do I need more?’”