Brenda loves going to the movies, partly because she loves movie theater popcorn. In the past, she would get a large tub of popcorn every time she went – even when she was trying to diet. Brenda would say to herself, “It’s ok to eat this because I’m at the movies. Everyone is eating popcorn.” Just as people give themselves permission to overeat at parties or on special occasions (“It’s ok to eat this. Everyone else is, and besides, I’m celebrating”), Brenda was fooling herself in thinking it was ok to eat popcorn just because she was at the movies (discussed on Day 19 of The Beck Diet Solution). After she joined our group, Brenda realized that she had just been fooling herself and that there doesn’t have to be a connection between the movie theater and eating popcorn (Day 26).
A few weeks after Brenda started carefully planning and monitoring her eating (Day 15), she went again to the movies but didn’t plan to eat any popcorn. However, when she got there, she found herself overwhelmed by the smell and the sound of people eating one of her favorite foods, so she gave into her craving and bought popcorn. We looked at this experience to see what Brenda could learn from it and decided that next time she went to the movies, she would plan in advance to have popcorn, knowing that when she got there she would really want it (Day 16).
Brenda went to the movies again and she indeed had planned in advance to have some popcorn. But because it is so caloric, she didn’t get to eat as much as she wanted and still felt vaguely unsatisfied. Brenda realized that she either had to come to terms with the limited amount she could eat, or give it up. Brenda decided on the latter, knowing she’d rather spend her calories on something more satisfying. The next time Brenda went to the movies, she read her Advantages List (Day 1) and although she was tempted by the smell, once she firmly told herself “NO CHOICE” (Day 13) the craving for popcorn passed and Brenda watched the movie in peace.
Brenda was extremely proud of herself for resisting popcorn and gave herself lots of credit for her ability to withstand the craving (Day 4). She has now been to the movies three more times and has easily passed on popcorn each time.