Updated: Oct 19, 2020
You are looking for a snack, so you walk to the fridge, open it, and start to scan the contents.
You hear a voice, "Veggies and hummus! A healthy, colorful snack without too many calories. Let's do it!"
You hear another voice, "That brie and sharp cheddar would make a great grilled cheese sandwich. Oh, and I could add some bacon too for the full, luxurious sandwich experience. I deserve something rich after a long day at work!"
Maybe the voices are slightly different, but it's not uncommon to have conflicting thoughts when you think about what to order at a restaurant or what to prepare for dinner. But how do you know which voice to listen to? And how do you quiet the voice you know will lead you down the wrong path?
I may not know exactly what your voices sound like, or what they say, but I do know it can be challenging to control internal dialogue. Nonetheless, I am here to share a strategy that I think can help you manage the voices.
Think about the voice that seems to consistently try to convince you to make the unhealthy choice. Now try to separate yourself from that voice. Think of it as a devil, or a monster, or a nasty bully that wants to sabotage you. That voice will do whatever it takes to try to get you to give in to your cravings.
Once you have personified this voice, you have essentially separated it from the you that you really want to be. The healthy you. This ugly voice now belongs to an entity outside of you and it is not your friend.
Here's another hypothetical for you:
You wake up after not enough sleep and all you want is a soft, sugary, delicious frosted doughnut. And you can hear yourself thinking, "I'm tired and I need a little treat to get my day started." There's that voice again, trying to sabotage your healthy lifestyle.
So, talk back to it! "Sure, I'm tired, but a doughnut won't solve that. A cup of coffee and some fresh air will wake me up and give me energy to go about my day."
See how that works? When you feel yourself being pulled into making the wrong decision, imagine that thought is coming from your enemy. Challenge it, reframe it, and don't give in!
This doesn't mean that you can never eat a doughnut or a grilled cheese sandwich again, but it does mean that you have a tool to stand up to the unhealthy triggers in your life.
Instead of listening to the greedy monster, focus on the voice that is trying to help you stay healthy. That voice will tell you to eat your vegetables, take the stairs, and serve a moderate portion of ice cream.
Think of that voice as your health buddy. Your health buddy has your best interest in mind and will encourage you to make good decisions.
This strategy of personifying your hunger can help you navigate making eating decisions. Be aware of the sneaky ways the monster will try to convince you to make the unhealthy choice and tell it to get lost!
So the next time you are faced with a difficult craving or desire to overeat, imagine the monster and put it in its place. You can do it!