For instance, the circumstances that prompt smokers to puff on a
lethal, nasty cigarette are: stress and to handle a social situation,
other emotions (anger, depression, boredom), nicotine craving, a
strong habit, and a desire to make a certain impression on others. You
need to ask "why?" you smoke each cigarette.
Also, observe the competing responses and their short-term
payoffs (a relaxing beer or cigarette) that override the desired long-
range objectives (health). Note other payoffs of the unwanted
behavior, e.g. lots of comfortable talk about food, getting attention
while consuming, being able to express yourself, etc..
Recording the consequences of the lapses is also helpful, e.g. what
did you eat and drink? What were the payoffs of the overeating, e.g.
did you get to socialize? Did you get people to laugh and joke about
bingeing and partying? Did you go into depression and withdraw? Did
you have an upset stomach? Did anyone express concern, support,
sympathy or offer help? All this information will increase your self-
awareness and understanding.
10. Disrupt old habits: Chew your food twice as many times as
usual. Take out small helpings on a small plate or leave half of the
food on your plate. Eat one food item at a time. Stop eating for 2-3
minutes during each meal, just to learn you can stop anytime. Carry
your cigarettes in another pocket; smoke them with the other hand,
11. Substitute a new behavior: Exercise during the lunch hour
instead of eating. Drink diet cola and have sugarless gum for dessert.
Have sugarless candy instead of a smoke. Eat salads or a low-calorie
soup instead of fattening food. If you eat because of loneliness,
anxiety, or boredom, call up a friend or get involved in some activity
instead of eating. Most urges are temporary surges, i.e. there is a
strong compulsion to do some habit, but if you resist, the urgent need
fades away. So, you sometimes you can wait it out... or replace the
habit with a healthy, desirable reaction.
Many families use food as a way of showing affection: "Mom made
cookies for you, wasn't that nice?" or "Oh, take some more of my
pasta, I made a lot for you." We are taught that you must have food
or "you'll get sick." "You've got to have your
protein...milk...vegetables..." There are powerful connections between
food and emotions. We must break the unhealthy connections,
replacing food with healthy, reasonable ways of handling the
emotions: "You know I love your pies, Mother, but my health is more
important right now. I know you love me and I love you, even without
12. Satiate behavior; paradoxical intention: Smoking has been
treated by having the smoker smoke continuously inside a box (maybe
a small closet) until he/she got sick; that's satiation (see # 18). Using
paradoxical intention would involve changing the rules about how you