Coping with urges and cravings
Dr Rebecca Richards gave us a presentation on how to deal with urges and cravings. This is applicable not just to resisting the temptation of biscuits and cakes, but dealing with any unwanted thoughts. The fancy term for the method is ‘cognitive defusion’, which is itself based on acceptance and commitment therapy. This teaches you to accept things you can’t control and commit to changing things you can control.
Some examples of things you cannot control would be the environment we live in, shops filled with high-calorie foods and our genes, that may make us want to eat high-calorie foods and be more sedentary.
We also can’t change our thoughts, feelings and cravings – that tempting doughnut, or that we may be too tired to cook a healthy meal or to exercise, or we may feel anxious, sad or fed up. A reaction to thoughts/feelings/cravings is to try and change them or push them away. This doesn’t usually work in the long run and can cause distress. Instead, we can learn to accept difficult thoughts, urges and cravings and make room for them – allowing them to come and go without a struggle. See them for what they are, just brief activity in the brain.
Becky described a metaphor to illustrate this, showing a character, Chris, having a tug of war across a ravine with a cravings monster. No matter how hard he pulls, the cravings monster pulls back. Eventually Chris realises the cravings monster can’t hurt him, and all he needs to do is let go of the rope. The monster is still there, Chris just has to control his thoughts to accept that. Thoughts are just thoughts. Defusion allows us to de-fuse these thoughts and cravings, to let go of the rope.
Becky recommended a web site by Dr Russ Harris with lots of free resources on this topic – www.actmindfully.com.au .
GLoW – a study in search of volunteers
This is a study – Glucose Lowering through Weight management – that is looking for volunteers. You need to have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the past 3 years and have a BMI greater than 25. You will be allocated randomly to one of 2 groups – Live well with diabetes course, or DESMOND. The Live well with diabetes course lasts 12 weeks and consists of 2 calls with a dietician, and 6 months membership of Weightwatchers. You, your family and friends can apply to join the study at https://www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/research/studies/glow/information-for-participants/
Diabetes & Diet: How much do you know?
Lucie Abadioru, an undergraduate at University of Chester, explained that she is looking at the nutritional knowledge and dietary intake of those recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. She is looking for volunteers to complete 2 questionnaires. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed in the past 3 years do please complete these. Unfortunately, no one in the meeting qualified, so Lucie ran an impromptu quiz based on some of the questions.