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Urge Surfing.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Did you realize urges ebb and flow like the ocean? I never noticed that. Sometimes my impulse for cake feels so strong; it seems like I NEED TO EAT CAKE, NOW. Then I came upon the concept of ‘urge surfing’ in one of the books (“End Emotional Eating” by Jennifer L. Taitz) I’m reading. This concept tied in nicely with what I’ve been reading about meditation plus it gave the practice a nice name and now I can create a SMART goal rather than have a hazy notion of something I want to try.

In a nutshell, urge surfing is riding out an impulse like a surfer dances in the water. With urge surfing, one simply ‘rides out’ an impulse. Periodically the surfer checks in with the urge and notices that the burning desire for a Snickers bar has dissipated. It might rage again in some future date or time, but the practice of surfing through it will make the next wave easier to handle. After a while, it will become a new habit and the instinct for the old reaction will fade into a memory.

This idea of riding through an urge is not limited to eating. For example, I realized that I’ve surfed through my anxiety with swimming in the deep pool. When I first started swimming, I was afraid of the deep water, but I went in any way. Each time I went in the deep pool my memory for the fear lessoned because I survived each swim. After a season of this I find that I no longer feel the physical sensations of fear. Taitz argues that I’ve rewired my brain. There might be something to that.

Another area where urge surfing comes into play is meditation. I’ve read that I need to experience sensations without reacting. When the author described a fly landing on his face while mediating, he simply let the fly do its thing. The first time I read this it did not compute. I thought I was turning off from the world, but I’m supposed to suspend a reaction to it instead. This is urge surfing.

This concept is going to help me because there is a hole in my understanding of intuitive eating. Learning about intuitive eating has helped me understand when I’m not eating out of hunger, but I am still having trouble stopping the consumption, at times. Most discussions on intuitive eating leave open the possibility of going for that delicious treat, as long as we have tried the delaying techniques and made sure we ‘really’ want it. Too often, I just let myself jump through that opening. Now, I have a reason to ride it out. Now I see that the urge can lesson and I don’t have to answer the call for cake.

These are my goals for week 37 of 2013:
1) Urge Surf when temptation rages (at least once this week)
2) Move for 60 minutes or more at 3x week (MWF)
3) Read 20+ minutes daily
4) Sleep 8 hours daily
5) Strength training 2x week (TuF)
6) Fix county recordings of old residence.
7) Cook for the week.
8) Pack tomorrow’s clothes/food (Su-Th)
9) Journal/meditate 5-10 minutes daily

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MKELLY72
    What a great topic! Very interesting to learn about, and it's something that I think I could find very useful. It's cool to have a term for an action that you want to try :)
    1608 days ago
    Interesting about the urge surfing! and intuittive eating. I've always wanted to try that but never have. Good luck on your goals this week!
    1621 days ago
  • LETHA_
    Great list of goals and I like the term 'Urge Surfing'. Thanks for sharing.
    1623 days ago
    Thanks for sharing. I'm going to try this urge surging. I'm also going to look for the book to read.
    1624 days ago
  • RUDITUDI2000
    I love the concept of surfing, through all the things you shared. I will be trying this out for sure myself! Your goals are fantastic as usual! emoticon
    1624 days ago
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