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Cognitive Therapy,festival eating and trying to exercise the Resistance Muscles.

Posted Oct 31 2010 12:00am
When my blog posts linger lonely in the desert air; sans any feedback, I use Cognitive therapy (CT)to keep myself happy.CT, says “that the way we perceive situations influences how we feel emotionally,and how we act.” It is not the situation which directly affects how a person feels emotionally, but rather, his or her thoughts in that situation.
So instead of saying –“ is Wholesome not witty,scholarly,interesting enough?" Or “is Wholesome getting too much of a pain in the ass preachy, pedantic and pious”? I change tack. I take heart in the steadfastness of my readers if not their responsiveness! I acknowledge the joy of putting down my thoughts  and being able to share them with a larger world(God bless technology)!.I celebrate the new friendships and the new world that blogging has led me to.
Similar, principles can be applied to eating. I am going to risk alienating my dear readers by talking about eating behaviours just ahead of Diwali (*ducks the brickbats*).And about using CT to change your ways of thinking about eating especially social eating.I have talked extensively about foods which don't sate your hunger but fuel it ( salt/sugar laden foods and processed stuff ) and of foods (good fats,proteins and fibrous carbs) which help in  whetting  genuine hunger.I can hear your very loud thank yous for not delving in to that again.
 For, who wants to think of all this when company of friends,conversations, festivity and endless supply of snacks and sweets beckons? I grant that all of us need cheat days once in a whileThe thing is our eating behaviours are only to a very small degree moulded by knowledge.By not knowing what is good for us.
How else can you explain the  two Gulab jamuns I popped in yesterday (just to taste) as I was frying them for Diwali? BTW they were perfect-just like my granny's.This when I virtuously swear off sugar and snort at sweets!! Really there is no rationale for  self-inflicted dietary carnage seen during times like Diwali!
Now is anyone holding a gun to our heads and telling us to try Mrs.Chatterjee's luchi-pulaav-payesh, Mrs Khannas pinni-ghevar and the Rao's  Mysore pak? And yet this is just what we do. I say this authoritatively because all through my childhood,pre-Diwali,Diwali and post Diwali days were when one had meals comprising three principal food groups: gujiya-sev,laddu-gulabjamun and kheer-poodi.
Coming back to CT,I think it is a fancy term for “mindfulness”. I don't really think that assiduous meal plans and reminder cards are a solution as Judith Beck proposes.They are obsessive and most of us can manage without them.
However,I do believe that  recognizing your desires, being aware of them and accepting them, acts as a great force in tempering them.The  psychological factors -the thoughts and feelings which fuel your eating activities provide interesting food for thought. For me home-made gulabjamuns and gujiyas are the stuff of childhood memories. A little introspection (without your hand in the mithai ka dibba!) is always useful.
Some pointers: Recognize your favourite self-sabotaging thoughts.
That looks so good. It’s okay to eat it, even though I shouldn't because....
I’m hungry/ I’m tired/ I’m upset/ I’m happy/everyone else is eating it/no one is watching/it’s only a little piece/it’s free/I can’t waste food/I hardly ever get to have it/I’ll make up for it later/.I’ve already exercised today.I’ll exercise later/.it’s a special occasion/.I can’t resist…… and so on and so on and so on.
Learn to separate emotional signals from genuine hunger signals.
when was your last meal / snack?Just 40 minutes back ? A pav -bhaji with cafe latte'? Understand  when and how to exercise your resistance muscles. Two GJ's and three gujiyas for dessert is over the top-even for Diwali! Remember we all fall down,we must get up and move on all the same.  Learn to distinguish between hunger and  cravings. After a 24 hour fast one finds plainest of foods delicious-for hunger is the best sauce!Hunger does not specify gooey confections,chocolate and anjeer barfi !Or maybe it does say Gulabjamuns ,but you are smart enough to see through that fibbing,aren't you?
Treat treats like treats, not like Meals!!

Practice the Zenhabits of mindful eating                                                

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