A few nights ago I wrote something that I want to share. I wrote it in a moment that is probably similar to one you’ve experienced yourself. I wanted something sweet, anything sweet. (If you’re not a sweet person, compare this to whatever it is you find yourself wanting to binge on). When I used to be stuck in my struggle with binge eating I would simply just think of junk food and that was it, I was bound to binge. But now I’ve done the work to change how I think about eating, cravings, urges, binges, and all that goes along with the struggle.
What I’ve written below is a Thought Download I did to clear out my head and get my thoughts on paper. (Well, I actually typed it into my phone, but same thing!) When you have a thought, or thoughts that are bothering you, this is a great way to see what exactly they all are and work through them. My TD here shows what I was thinking in the moment and what I truly believed. If you do one for yourself while you’re feeling a craving or urge it will probably look different depending on how badly you’re struggling right now. You’ll probably want to focus more on why you want to eat or binge since that’s the first step towards not doing it – understanding why you want to in the first place. Then look at the reasons why you don’t want to, which is what I mostly focus on here since I’ve already done the work for myself to clearly understand why I’d want to.
So here it is – what’s in my head currently that causes me to not follow through when I think about eating something sweet:
A thought popped into my head.
“I want something sweet.”
Then I thought about all my options like a cupcake, Starbursts, ice cream, all sound great.
I could stop at the 7 Eleven near my apartment on my way home and get something. Plan set. Easy.
Then I remembered that I don’t want to do that and now I’m writing about why I don’t.
I’ve allowed myself to splurge a bit recently and I’ve been eating a lot of junk food, pretty much daily. I decided yesterday that I’m not having any today and for the rest of the week.
I want to take a break.
I don’t want to eat junk food everyday. I have many reasons why I don’t want to, but one of the big ones is that I know that the more I eat it, the more I’ll crave it.
If I want to ease the cravings and the thoughts about it, I have to not eat it.
So I’m not going to.
I had a thought that I wanted something sweet, and after I entertained that idea for a minute, I remembered why I don’t want it.
Truth is, I don’t want it more than I do want it.
The reasons why I don’t want it are more important to me than why I do.
Having a thought about wanting something sweet isn’t enough to make me do it.
I’ll probably have many more thoughts tonight about eating something sweet and I’m expecting that. I know it’s a strong possibility and any time it happens, I can remind myself why it’s not a good idea. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. I don’t have to get upset when the inevitable thought comes into my head because those thoughts mean nothing.
Our thoughts mean nothing unless we give them meaning.
My brain thinks sugar is a good idea because it will be chemically rewarded.
But I don’t think it’s a good idea because I have goals I want to achieve and that quick reward in my brain is not aligned with them.
I can find something else to make me feel good. I can find something else to do that will give me the pleasure my brain is seeking.
Or I can just carry on and let the thoughts come and go.
Either way, I’m not going to buy something sweet because even though I want it, I really, honestly, truly don’t.
The next time you’re craving something, whether you’re having thought swirls or you notice a single “I want it” thought, write about it. See what comes up. Explore why you do and don’t want it. Find what’s true and follow it.
When a thought pops into your head you don’t have to immediately buy into it. You can question it and dissect it.
Think before you act.