When you want to lose weight, you have to cut out some of your favorite unhealthy treats. Although easier said than done, the desire to eat these tasty foods often stems from an underlying desire for something else. According to David Bedrick, writing for Psychology Today, identifying the desire can make dieting a heck of a lot easier.
To illustrate, Bedrick gives an example of a man who had a bad habit of eating ice cream each night before bed:
I say, “Tell me about eating chocolate chip ice cream.” He replies, “It’s the end of the day; my chores and work are over and I just want to sit back before bed. That’s when it hits.” I suggest, “Imagine your day is done and you have a spoonful in your hand. Taste it.” He replies, “Mmm, it is good. The whole day feels good somehow.” I say, “The whole day feels good?” He replies, “Yes, even God rested after the 6th day and looked upon his work and blessed it.” He wanted a time of reflection, acknowledgment, and affirmation of his day. It was more than just a sweet reward; he was hungry for feeling good about how he spent his time and what he had accomplished. As he made time with his spouse to do this, not only did the “hunger” for ice cream diminish but a truer and deeper appreciation for his work and his contribution to his family grew.
Bedrick argues you'll fail if you just try to cut out certain parts of the foods you like (e.g. the bun from a hamburger) because you become accustomed to getting what you like. If you can attribute the feeling the food gives you to something else, however, that underlying desire will no longer cause you to cheat on your diet.