Imagine a cinnamon roll (or whatever food or beverage craving you want to diminish). Imagine all the sensations associated with eating that food. You can smell the cinnamon, sugar and the yeast. It’s still warm and the frosting is slightly runny. Your fingers are sticky and your mouth bursts with sensation as you taste the dough, sugar and cinnamon.
Now imagine sitting down at your computer and finding an image of that food on your desktop. Notice where it is—is it in the upper left, lower left, upper right, lower right or center of your screen? Is it bigger, smaller or the same size as your other desktop icons? What does it look like?
Now think about a food that you absolutely hate; for me, it’s canned green peas. I can’t stand the smell, the taste, the texture, the look or the memories associated with canned green peas, (though I do love fresh peas). Again, imagine that on your computer desktop you find an icon of canned green peas—is it in the upper left, lower left, upper right, lower right or center of your screen? Is it bigger, smaller or the same size as the other icons? What does it look like?
For me, the cinnamon roll is big and in the center of the screen; the peas are smaller and in the lower left quadrant of the screen. Now imagine clicking on the food you want to stop craving and dragging it down to the icon of the food you hate. The closer it gets to the hated food, it takes on the look, smell, taste and texture of the food you hate. Now the desire for whatever you were craving is gone. You can use this with any food or beverage (imagine pouring a glass of Green Pea wine!)
Finally, imagine healthy foods that you want to eat more of, that you’d like to increase your desire for. What do you see? Again, imagine that on your computer desktop you find an icon of whatever food you want to increase desire for—is it in the upper left, lower left, upper right, lower right or center of your screen? Is it bigger, smaller or the same size as the other icons? What does it look like?
This first version of the exercise is one you can do anywhere, because you are just imagining the computer screen. Now I’ve made it possible to actually do this exercise. First, right click on your desktop and select NEW / FOLDER and call it FOOD, then simply click here to download this small file of food images into your new folder.
Next, double click on the zip file to unzip it, which should open all the images inside your FOOD folder. (You may have to select Thumbnail view in order to see them all.) Now minimize the size of the folder so you can still see some of your desktop. Then right click on your desktop and select NEW / FOLDER. Label this one YUM, then make another one and label it YUCK. Drag the YUM folder to the area of your desktop where you first saw the food you want to increase desire for. Then position the YUCK folder in the area of your desktop where you first saw the food you want to decrease desire for.
Now you’re ready to make this exercise real. Scroll through the folder of food pictures and whenever you see one that you have a connection to or strong feelings about, simply drag it out of the photo folder and into either the YUM or YUCK folder. (You can click the above image to enlarge it for an example.) If you want to work with certain foods and there are no images of them in this folder, simply do a Google image search and save them to the FOOD folder on your desktop, then you can add them to the appropriate folders.
Later, whenever you want to reinforce your desire for the healthy foods, you can open the YUM folder and view it as a slide show of goodness.
Here’s a video a client of mine made showing how she uses this exercise to maintain a 93-pound weight loss.
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