[Read the transcript below]
Hi there, it’s Dr. Courtney Raspin here and today I wanted to talk to you a little bit about binge postponement and how you can do a binge postponement trial.
In my last blog, I talked to you about what a binge is, how you can help avoid having a binge and how you can deal with the urge to binge through following a few simple steps.
One of the major steps is about creating a good list of alternative coping strategies. There are some elements that make strong alternative coping strategies and that’s what’s the blog’s about, so click here and have a look.
Once you have your list of good, strong alternative coping strategies, you can start to do some experiments with yourself.
The purpose of a binge postponement trial is to provide yourself with multiple opportunities to delay the urge to binge. What this does is not only gives you a sense of control, it gives you a sense that “okay, I know this urge feels so overwhelming that I feel like I have to binge right now”. What you’ll learn is that you do have some control. What you’ll learn is that bingeing doesn’t have to be inevitable.
The second thing that you’ll learn is that the urge to binge will decrease over time for most people. If you give yourself that space between the urge rising up inside of you and actually engaging in the behaviour, the urge starts to change. It usually decreases and if you leave it long enough, it often goes away all together.
But because the urge is so overwhelming when it comes, oftentimes we just go ahead and do it and we don’t give ourselves that chance.
So, binge postponement trials, again, are about giving you that chance, giving you an opportunity to learn that you can have some control and giving you the opportunity to see how the urge changes when you give it a chance to change.
So, how do we do this?
When the urge arises, when it starts to come up inside of you (and pay close attention to your triggers, so you can start to identify when urges might come), I want you to press the pause button and grab your list.
Have your list nearby all of the time.
I want you to pick a good, strong alternative coping strategy for that particular situation and I want you to say, okay, on a scale of zero to 10, how strong is this urge to binge? Zero being meh, can take it or leave it or 10 like “if I don’t binge right now, I am gonna die, I just cannot deal with these feeling for one second longer”. That’s a 10.
Make a little note. Say nine, eight, whatever it might be.
And then say “okay, all right, I’m feeling the urge, and I’m allowed to binge if I wanna binge, but I’m gonna give it 10 minutes”. Just 10 minutes. Set a timer, look at your watch, set your phone for 10 minutes and do one of these other alternative coping strategies. 10 minutes.
So, you put it off for 10 minutes and then you see how you feel.
I want you to re-rate the urge from zero to 10. Has it gone up? Has it gone down? Has it stayed the same?
Be curious, make some notes about what’s happened.
As I said, for many people what you’ll find is that the urge starts to reduce or it may even go away.
In fact, if you can get up to 30 minutes what you’ll find is that oftentimes it does go away.
But don’t worry if it doesn’t work. This is one alternative coping strategy that you’ve tried.
If the urge is the same, and you feel like you have to do it, go ahead and binge. This isn’t about making you stop or placing demands or shoulds upon you. Again, it’s about giving you an opportunity to try something different.
Now, if you were able to put it off for 10 minutes, try 15 next time and then try 20. As I said, if you can put it off for around 30 minutes, you’ll often find that it reduces enough that you don’t have to go ahead and do it which is fantastic.
If it doesn’t work, have a little think about what didn’t work. Was it the wrong strategy? Was the wrong strategy for that situation? What might you try next time?
Give yourself multiple opportunities to try different things and eventually you will hopefully find something that will engage you enough, that will take you away from that urge long enough you could start to observe the changes in urges and how those affect you and your body and your mind.
And then hopefully you can start to put a stop to your bingeing.
Good luck, and happy experimenting!