Brenda has been having a bit of trouble lately with “nighttime demons” – those voices in her head that around 9 or 10pm every night urge her to eat, even though she’s already finished her planned food for the day. Brenda has been able to figure out that what she’s feeling at this time is not actually hunger, because by that point in the evening she’s already eaten a substantial dinner and snack. And because she doesn’t usually want any one food in particular, Brenda knows that she’s not really having strong cravings either. What she is experiencing is the desire to eat (discussed on Day 11 of The Beck Diet Solution), and we helped Brenda brainstorm ways in which she could combat the demons.
First of all, having Brenda label what she is feeling as “desire” instead of “hunger” makes it easier to resist eating. What Brenda needs to say to herself is, “I’m not hungry. I just have a desire to eat. That’s not a good reason to eat. In fact, just because I feel like eating doesn’t mean I should. No choice; I’m not eating.”
We also discussed with Brenda the fact that the moment she definitively decides not to eat, the desire will begin to diminish and the struggle will significantly decrease (Day 13). Brenda made a Response Card to read every evening at 9 pm that reminds her that the desire to eat doesn’t last, that it always goes away, and that she certainly can tolerate it. Last, Brenda decided that she will read her Advantages List every evening after dinner to keep very fresh in her mind exactly why it’s so worth it to her to withstand the desire and stick to her plan.
With this arsenal of tools, Brenda is confident that she will be able to effectively and permanently fight off her nighttime demons.