When weight loss professionals discuss emotional eating, you hear a lot of talk about stimulus control, stress management techniques, and cognitive reframing.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think in those terms. I guess if they don’t sound complicated you really wouldn’t need anyone to explain them and teach you about them. Therefore, they are scientific sounding—maybe what a person with a Doctorate of Psychiatry might use.
Stimulus control occurs when an organism behaves in one way in the presence of a given stimulus and another way in its absence. If we are talking about dieting, and we are, then a negative stimulus would be a cookie. A dieting person acts one way around a stimulus like a cookie, and another way when they are not around the stimulus. The behavior modification would be to learn not to let the cookie be a stimulus to ruining your diet. I just say to stay away from the cookie.
Course we all know that stress is a negative towards dieting. A cookie just seems the answer for stress. It is one way to manage stress, albeit not a good way to diet. So the behavior change is to learn to manage stress in other ways. Stress is a problem for many people. Defining stress is becoming more difficult. If you ask 10 people for a definition of stress, you will get 10 different answers. One dictionary says, stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. Both good and bad experiences can cause it. There are many techniques for stress relieve. For me, it is knowing a God who is bigger than the problems, so why stress over it.
Cognitive restructuring, also called cognitive reframing, is a behavioral technique associated with cognitive therapy. Cognitive restructuring involves learning how to think differently, to change fundamental ‘faulty thinking,’ and replace it with more rational, realistic, and perhaps positive thinking. This is hard to do because first, you want to yell at the traffic even if you know it isn’t rational. Second, you have to know you are thinking wrong. If you have no standard of good thinking, it will be difficult to change your faulty thinking. With me, it is the New Commandment Jesus left with us. Love others as Jesus has loved us. If the attitude does not love, it is faulty and irrational. It is renewing your mind.
So now you know the latest jargon and how us mortals explain it.