I’m the psychotherapist who discovered Therapeutic Psychogenics, a remarkable method to permanently lose weight, when I solved my own 320 lb. weight problem over 25 years ago. I lost 140 lbs. for good after 25 years of obesity and failure with diets and exercise schemes. Many clients have asked me “when did you stop having cravings and urges?” They think that because I have maintained my 140 lb. weight loss for 26 years, I must have found a way to eliminate the urges to eat.
Not so. What’s happened is that my response to urges and cravings, one of the techniques of Therapeutic Psychogenics, has become habitual, second nature. Now it is my habit to think in ways that reduce and kill cravings and urges. It has become so ingrained to think and act in ways to stay successful that it’s almost become easy. I’d say easy, but there is definitely a lot of work to be done to make success “easy”, and there will always be work to stay successful.
If you read about my method, you’ll learn that I have a “safe house” with none of the addictive snack or trigger foods that would call my name. Also, I have an effective plan every morning of what to eat that day. Now, when an urge pops up, I talk to myself, out loud if I’m alone, or in my head if I’m with people. I’ll say “Stop! that’s not in the plan. That would be overeating. It would cause tight clothes and reflux that I hate. I don’t want that. I’m fasting until my next meal is. I’m fasting, burning fat and losing weight, my clothes getting looser, moving toward my goal weight. If I give in to the urge, I’ll miss out on the good things that are happening. I’m going to hold off and keep burning fat.”
This “self-talk” is actually an application of several very sophisticated cognitive, cybernetic and self-hypnotic psychotherapeutic techniques. It seems childishly simple, but it’s actually state-of-the-art psychotherapy.
I also use “covert sensitization”, an aversive technique related to the self-talk where I associate the overeating with the negative properties of tight clothes, reflux or stretch marks, etc. If I was tempted by a Big Mac for instance, instead of linking it with kids having fun, I’ll remember the workers in the back of the place spitting and piling snot on the burgers before they put the bun on top. Associating something negative or disgusting can kill the craving just enough to get by it and continue on your path to loose clothes and the next healthy meal you’ve planned on. And that’s all you need to succeed, success right now. It can become a habit, and when it does, your success is permanent.