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.
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.