Weight-loss Wednesday – The Urge Jar

Urge Jar

I’ve been learning so much about myself since I started losing weight 18 months ago.  One of my favorite tools  I’ve been using is called “The Urge Jar”.  I love It because my brain is a sucker for shiny objects.  I’ve been filling my jar with pretty pink marbles for a couple of months. I want to have jars full of marbles lined up in my window by the end of summer. 

Let me explain how it works for me.  I discovered that one of my persistent habits is to sit down at my desk and in a couple of minutes, run into the kitchen to get something to eat.  I was having a hard time focusing on getting any work done because I kept distracting myself  getting food from the kitchen when I was supposed to be writing. Not only was I not getting any work done, I was eating so much I wasn’t losing weight.   Jumping up and going into the kitchen to get food is an “urge”  (a strong desire or impulse).  When I would have an urge to run and get food from the kitchen, I would set a timer for 10 minutes, then I would sit at my desk and “allow” the urge.  I didn’t resist it or tell myself that something was wrong.  I was kind to myself and said things like “I know you want some chocolate, but we don’t do that anymore”.  Usually the feeling would go away in about 2 minutes. Sometimes a little longer – especially if I wanted chocolate…  After the timer rang and I had not gone to get food,  I would line a bead up on my desk and go about my work until the next urge hit, and I would repeat the process.  At the end of the day I would dump all my marbles in my jar on the window sill.  My brain went from having two-year old temper tantrums – like full blown throw yourself on the floor and kick and scream, to quiet sneaky thoughts like “a little chocolate sure would taste good about now.” To finally saying – “Oh yeah, we don’t do this anymore – do we?” Some days there would be 5 or 6 marbles lined up one the desk.  It took several weeks to de-condition the habit.

Marbles I’ve earned.

 It’s so nice to be able to sit at my desk and concentrate, and get some work done without being distracted by food.  That doesn’t mean that I never feel urges any more, it just means that when I feel them – my brain goes along with me when I tell it “that’s not how we roll any more”.

The urge jar works so well for me that I am using it other places I feel urges.  I use it to manage time, money and of course food.  Check out this link to the podcast where I learned about The Urge Jar. 

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