Psychological Self-Help

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underlying hunger. Attend to your physical and safety needs, your
self-esteem and need for friends, and your need for love. Without
these needs being met, you will find it hard to pursue higher missions
in life. 
Positive addiction was discussed earlier; did you know that people
who exercise (a little sweat please) at least 4 or 5 times a week lose
weight three times faster than people who only exercise 3 times a
7. Guard against self-deception: Some people do not realize
how overweight (or underweight) they are; believe your scales and the
weight charts. Don't excuse your fat by saying "Oh, I'm big boned."
Many smokers don't think they are addicted, but if you smoke within
30 minutes of awakening or if you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, you are
addicted to nicotine. Fishbein (1980) found that smokers
acknowledged that smoking was harmful to other people's health but
didn't believe their smoking would hurt their health. This is a self-con;
it's living a lie. Smoking contributes to 18 or 20 serious, often deadly,
diseases. Confront yourself with the facts--the health hazards of
smoking, drinking, overweight or drugs, the unsightly roll of fat around
your waist or on your thighs, the importance of vigorous exercise
every day, etc. Get angry at the cigarette, alcohol, and food industries
that harm your health. You were probably enticed into your habit as a
young person; of course, you have to take some responsibility but so
do the merchants of death. 
Self-help methods, continued
8. Observe and record Behavior: Every problem can be
measured. Count the frequency or duration of a behavior; rate the
intensity of an emotion. Record the number of calories, beers,
cigarettes, minutes of exercise, or whatever concerns you. Also, rate
from 1-to-10 the intensity of your sadness or anger. Do this every day
and make a big chart of your progress. Self-monitoring leads to self-
evaluation which is necessary before self-praise or self-reinforcement. 
As mentioned in chapter 2, after making the changes you want
(say lose 15 pounds) it is very important to monitor your weight every
week. As soon as you gain just a pound or two, immediately go back
to the weight loss program that worked for you. Losing one pound is
fairly easy; losing 10 is hard. 
9. Record circumstances: Note and record the antecedents,
especially how you feel before overeating, drinking, or having a
cigarette. Also, note the time, prompting cues, and general situation
you are in. This will help you identify your high-risk situations and the
basic needs or emotions that need to be taken care of by some means
other than eating, smoking, or drinking. This is very important (see #
11); remember, the environmental cues control much of our behavior. 
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