February 2019

Riding the wave of temptation

If you’re on a weight loss or healthy eating campaign and find yourself fighting the temptations of foods that could jeopardise your success, it might be time to do a bit of Urge Surfing!
Never heard of this phrase before? – neither had I until a few weeks ago, although I was already familiar with part of the principles.

Years ago one of my roles as a PT was presenting workshops for an organisation designed to give practical solutions to family’s dealing with obesity. Part of the course provided ways to manage the cravings that adverts on TV or in magazines for snacks, confectionary and ready meals induced. One of the solutions was to create a distraction for at least 20 minutes with some other activity to avoid acting on the impulse to eat junk. In theory this time frame was enough for the desire to fade and eventually pass.

‘Urge Surfing’ is a similar idea. Attributed to the late Alan Marlett, Ph.D. A pioneer in his field of Psychology, he used the method for the treatment of addictions but the principles can easily be transferred to managing food cravings as well. The idea is that urges are like waves, they rise in intensity, reach a crescendo and eventually crash. Managing these urges by ‘surfing’ them, helps you to harness and override the desire and ultimately eliminate it altogether.

To fully understand and practice urge surfing a more in-depth study is needed than I can provide here but as a very simplified overview, urge surfing involves focusing on the sensations felt throughout the body as you experience an urge, then, by concentrating on the breath you move through the sensations until the wave passes, once you reach this stage you have successfully surfed an urge and swerved a potential diet catastrophe!
Keep the technique in your healthy lifestyle kit bag and see it as another way to get a step closer to your 2019 goals.

– This article has been published in the February edition of Life Magazines – http://www.lifemagazines.co.uk