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- Choose your buddy wisely. Your buddy should be nonjudgmental and a good listener and shouldn't want to compete with you.
- Think of the person you choose as your soothing sponsor—someone who provides only support, not therapy or advice. Agree to call each other before engaging in emotional eating. As soon as you get the urge to emotionally eat, pick up the phone. Or if you are feeling vulnerable, call before you feel the urge.
- Chose a code word (a neutral word or phrase) to discreetly signal on the phone that you are in need of help.
- You also may want to come up with a motto or a slogan that exemplifies your goals. This can be a motivational quote or a team motto.
- Send your buddy encouraging words randomly by e-mail. Leave a thoughtful voice message. Send a poem by snail mail.
- Be a mindful listener. When you are with this person, let go of everything else on your mind. Try to avoid listening with just one ear or becoming distracted by your own thoughts. Really focus on everything your buddy is saying.
- Buy a copy of this book for your buddy and look through it together. Discuss which techniques might work well for the two of you to do together.
- Make each other accountable. Agree on the number of times you will check in with each other. Be proactive.
- Call instead of waiting for your buddy to call you.
- Meet regularly. For example, go for a walk every Tuesday night, call each other on Sunday evenings, or send a supportive e-mail every other day.
- Set good limits. It's okay to say no to each other when you need to.
- Give positive feedback as often as possible. When you want to do this, always start with a positive comment and follow it up with the issue you want to address. Be sure to give each other an equal amount of time to talk.
Dr. Susan Albers is a licensed psychologist who specializes in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns and mindfulness. Albers conducts mindful eating workshops internationally. She has written many books, including 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food.
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