When Mark sat down in my office this week, he said, “Before we start, can I just tell you how relieved I feel?” When I said, “Of course,” Mark told me:
“I finally get it. I do. Cravings go away. I don’t have to eat to make them go away. When I’m tempted, the more I say, ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to eat again at ______ o’clock, the easier and easier it gets.’ ”
I asked Mark to give me an example.
“It happened again late yesterday afternoon. A vendor brought some cookies—really big ones—to the office. I really started craving one but I said to myself, ‘No, you’ve already had your snack and you’re going to have dinner at 6:30. So no choice. Get back to work.’ I had to make a phone call and by the time it was over, the craving was gone. It was like, “Well, it’d be nice to have a cookie but I know I’m not going to have it.” I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know that I can make a craving go away, that I don’t have to give in to it. I know, I know, you’ve been telling me this all along but somehow it really clicked yesterday.”
I asked Mark if we should write something about this on a Response Card that he could read regularly to really cement the idea in his mind. This is what he wrote:
Cravings really do go away. I don’t have to be at their mercy any more. Remember the March 30th cookie situation. When I finished the phone call, the craving had gone away.
Mark is typical of the dieters with whom I work. It makes sense to them intellectually that cravings go away, especially when they turn their attention to something else, but they don’t really believe it in their gut—not until they’ve had repeated experiences of finding this out for themselves. And when they do, like Mark, they tend to experience a profound sense of relief.