The trigger: Unhealthy diet ads
With so many people indulging over the holidays, companies that sell diet products know they’ll have their biggest and most receptive audience in January. So they launch ads on television, billboards, radio, magazines and newspapers, along with new books and programs that they promote on talk shows, and at book signings and presentations.
Now not all of these are necessarily unhealthy, but for someone with an eating disorder, dieting – or even thinking about dieting – can create a vicious cycle of thoughts and behaviors.
The tool: Think it through
It’s likely you’ve already tried lots of diet products, restrictive food plans, and set of rules handed down from “experts” or other convincing people. And while the shiny, convincing ads you’ll be seeing in January may be slightly different versions, the diet mentality that there is a quick fix for your recovery is the same.
“Thinking the bite through” is a recovery practice many people use to refrain from unhealthy foods or behaviors, and it applies to diet ads as well. You imagine the physical, mental and emotional repercussions of whatever you’re about it eat or do.
Since eating disorders are made up of repeated patterns of behavior, you very likely know exactly how things will turn out once you make that choice. If the memories are painful and vibrant enough, it can help motivate you to make a different choice.
Just like you practiced seeing holiday food without having to eat it, you can detach from diet ads as well. Remember how things have turned out with other restrictive diets in the past, either for you or for other people you know. Then turn your attention back to your healthy food plan and movement routine.