The Junk Food Monologues

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How will I feel after I eat this?

Though your brain may be telling you how blissful it would be to polish off the doughnut holes your coworker brought to the office this morning, you know you'll probably regret that decision. Comfort food is not actually comforting. Think back to the last time you binged on something rich and fattening. Maybe your stomach hurt afterward, or you felt a little sick. And then there was that miserable sugar crash an hour or two later. Do you really want to relive that?

Another thing to keep in mind: "Almost all the pleasure you get from high-fat or high-calorie food comes from the first few bites," says Edward Abramson, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author of Emotional Eating: What You Need to Know Before Starting Another Diet. "After that, it doesn't have the same reward value." In other words, you only truly taste doughnut holes #1 and #2. Why obsess about something you'll enjoy for a matter of seconds?

Is the world going to end if I don't have it?
Obviously not. But when your inner voice is practically yelling at you to taste the cookies you just made for the church bake sale, it can feel like you're in crisis. "Feelings can be very compelling, to the point that people often think that they can't do anything about them," says Dr. Jacobs. "The reality is that you don't have to follow the feeling." The pleas coming from inside your head can drive you crazy, but you do have the power to say no. And as long as you keep resisting, your brain will eventually abandon its demands. Wait it out by distracting yourself, suggests Dr. Abramson. "Anything that occupies you intellectually or emotionally helps," he says. Strike up a conversation, play a game on your phone, or watch cute pet videos on YouTube -- now there's something sweeter than cookies.

Continued on page 4:  You can't tell me what to do!


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