It sounds like you have a tremendous amount of awareness around the time of the day where you feel triggered most, which is the first step to implementing change! Yeah Archie!
So, start where you are. If you know that finishing dinner cues you to eat more, then practice sitting with the urge for that night only. As Gillian suggests, you can only address reducing the intensity of desire at the moment it is happening. Something new I have been trying since starting her course is to listen to her MP3 on Desire and to actually practice looking for the desire in my body. In the past all of my other strategies were focused on fighting or resisting the urges (which only worked temporarily or not at all). So I will clear my plate, go sit in the other room and listen with my ear pods. I have four kids and a loud house, and even among the post dinner chaos, I have managed to create this new habit!
Some other strategies that I use are post-its as a reminder of my non weight motivation (I want to feel proud, calm around food, a sense of integrity, feeling in control…).
I also take some time to prepare myself before I eat dinner and review the three themes (motivation, choice, desire). After dinner I practice sitting at the table and breathing. Before Gillian’s course I used to rush away from the table, clear my plate, brush my teeth and drink a glass of water. To some degree these are fine strategies and helped me practice pausing and “buying time” before I got sucked into the unconscious actions of just going straight for the food.
But now I know that real change happens by working through the desire and I all I need to do is practice that when it is happening. I’ve started to view dinner time as a chance to heal. I can predict the urges will come and most days I decide to work through it. I can’t rush the process or be perfect each time, but my aim is to address it directly. I know this is easier said and done because at times (like yesterday) I felt like I was going to DIE, the urges were so powerful, so much so that I can forget everything I have learned here and feel like my mind is blank. When this happens, I just remind myself that the path I am on NOW is so totally different, it will just take TIME to learn these new ways. And then I just try again the next time the desire returns.
In the past I have also set a timer to see if I could “stay with myself”. I would set a timer for 90 seconds and use that as a strategy to practice calming myself and then check in again to see if I really wanted the extra food or if it was the “desire” that really wanted it. Sometimes I would get it wrong and just wait for the timer to go off before I ate… or eat before the timer went off, but I never gave up trying different techniques to help move me in the direction of change! I have also used an urge jar, where each time I successfully processed an urge I put a bead in a jar so that I could see my progress and feel good about the actions I was taking to bring about real and lasting change.
Some things I am doing now are to review the notes for this course each morning; at the end of each module Gillian has notes. I printed out all of the notes and review them each morning as a little refresher. I also have a daily planner where I keep my schedule of the day/to-dos, appointments, etc. In the past my planner was very “food focused” and “weight loss focused”. Now I have changed it so that it includes my intention of the day, as well as a review of the three themes. I also have her main questions there so I see them each day: Am I choosing? What’s in it for me? How am I managing Addictive Desire?
As far as non weight motivation goes, could you pick a few of the ideas that Gillian provides, and practice applying them to you? Maybe you could journal or say to yourself: Losing weight is fine, but I also would like to create additional long lasting outcomes such as…and then pick three from her list that she provides. I often use this technique when I feel stuck in my old ways of thinking and want to practice using a new thought to move my brain in a different direction.
Hope this helps!