Tam­ing those high-calo­rie temp­ta­tions

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Diet -

IT’S THE di­eter’s tug-of-war: the need to lose weight ver­sus the urge to eat high-calo­rie foods. Sci­en­tists say the easy avail­abil­ity of sweets and other treats has made the de­sire for them stronger over time. Cou­ple that with a seden­tary life­style that burns fewer and fewer calo­ries, and battling the bulge is that much harder. To win the war, your di­et­ing strat­egy has to in­clude a way to man­age food urges, es­pe­cially when eat­ing for rea­sons other than hunger.

At the top of that list is stress, a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult hur­dle to over­come be­cause per­sis­tent stress may al­ter the brain’s re­sponse to food in ways that lead to poor eat­ing habits and, in turn, over­weight. Just telling your­self to re­sist food urges is rarely ef­fec­tive if you’re in the habit of reach­ing for un­healthy treats. In this case, “just say no” is more of a non-strat­egy.

A help­ful tool for di­eters is a men­tal health tech­nique called Ac­cep­tance and Com­mit­ment Ther­apy, or ACT. Through ACT, you learn not to ig­nore trig­gers, but to ac­cept and counter them by de­vel­op­ing a stronger set of life goals and mak­ing a com­mit­ment to be­hav­iours that lead to reach­ing these goals. ACT also stresses mind­ful­ness and helps you recog­nise when you’re tempted to eat be­cause of emo­tional and en­vi­ron­men­tal cues.

ACT teaches:

- That urges don’t need to be acted on even though deny­ing your­self a treat is an un­pleas­ant feel­ing. - How to cope with thoughts and feel­ings re­lated to weight con­trol.

- To be more aware of how and why you eat.

Learn­ing ACT with a trained psy­chol­o­gist can be ben­e­fi­cial in many ar­eas of per­sonal growth. Con­sider this op­tion if you feel that your food urges are too hard to tame on your own.

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