Last week, I explained how we can become addicted to food, and why it’s so difficult to break the habit. Now I’ll show you some well-researched ways to rewire your pathways.
Step 1 Acknowledge the issue: You will never be able to beat an addiction unless you first acknowledge that there is an addiction. Write it on a piece of paper: the act of writing and the tactile sensation of pen on paper reaffirm what you write.
Step 2 Visualise the positive outcome: Do this daily, because you need to replace the old addictive pathways with new, healthy pathways. See yourself as a healthy, happy and confident person. Write down the positive outcomes of breaking your addiction and link them to positive emotions such as joy.
Step 3 Identify the triggers and make a plan: If you are able to identify the triggers, it will help you beat the addiction because then you’ll know what to watch out for.
But knowing the triggers is not enough. You need to plan how to deal with them because, as all addicts know, moderation is meaningless. You have to give up the food you’re addicted to completely because you need to bring your unconscious behaviour into the realm of the conscious.
For example, if you need your tea at 4pm, set your alarm for 3.45pm, get up when the alarm goes off, walk around, chat with a colleague, sip some nimbu pani – distract yourself before the trigger is activated.
If you drink coffee and snack often during boring meetings, chew saunf or elaichi, and tell the pantry staff to give you green tea or hot water.
Step 4 Get a support group: Non-judgemental friends who understand the issue can offer help and distractions, and help you break your addiction.
Step 5 Enjoy small victories: Change takes time, and to sustain the momentum, it’s important to enjoy and take pride in your achievements, however small they may be. So celebrate with a spa day or a movie or shopping. Don’t celebrate with food.
(The series is now concluded)
From HT Brunch, October 18
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