Friday, November 2, 2012

Thought Restructuring

Today is my one year anniversary with my boyfriend! We're going out to eat and to an art museum to celebrate, so wish me luck! I'll post about it tomorrow.

This week in the study we learned about though restructuring. 
Thought restructuring is meant to help people resist the urge to engage in behaviors in reaction to certain thoughts. For example, last week my friend said he couldn't eat dinner with me because he needed to sleep. Immediately I thought he was just trying to be nice and ditch me, which gave me an urge to binge. If I restructured my thought then I would have less of an urge.
The pattern goes like this:
1. cue
2. unhealthy thought
3. bodily response
4. feelings
5.  unhealthy behavior
6. Short term positive consequences
7. Long term positive consequences
8. Short term neg consequences
9. Long term neg consequences

10. Same cue
11. healthy thought
12. bodily response
13. feelings
14. healthy behavior
15. ST positive
16. LT positive
17. ST neg
18. LT neg


1. My cue was my friend telling me he didn't want to eat dinner with me.
2. My unhealthy thought was that he was saying that because I was a waste of time and he didn't really like me.
3. My bodily response was to frown and have that feeling of disappointment in the pit of my stomach.
4. I felt disappointed, resentment, and sad
5. binge
6. the positive consequence would be that I would numb my feelings.
7. there are no LT positives.
8. For short term negs, I would still feel awful, I would purge, and I might be mean to my friend
9. as for long term negs, it would continue the cycle of bulimia, and my friend and I might lose closeness over time.

10. same cue
11. my healthy thought was "Oh, maybe he actually does need sleep! He never lies about this kind of stuff. It's not because I'm worthless."
12. bodily response was a frown
13. feelings were disappointment and understanding
14. The healthy behavior was to eat normally
15. A short term positive is that I would feel pleasantly full and not be mean to my friend. Also I would not be reinforcing my low self-esteem.
16. Long term positive is that I wouldn't give in to bulimia and I would have a better relationship with my friend. I would possibly even have better self-esteem. 
17. Short term negs are... none? Maybe still feeling disappointed.
18. And there are no long term negs.

SO. What is the point of all this? 
It can work. If you try to use it in order to actually stop yourself from binging, it can be an effective tool. Why? Because it takes a little bit of time to think through all those steps, and it helps you to think about the long term consequences of things. In this instance I had to admit to myself that because of the long-term consequences it didn't make sense for me to binge, and I was able to stop myself. Also, restructuring the thought made me feel a little better, because it meant I wasn't telling myself that I was uninteresting and worthless.
This also helps you think about the negative things that you're doing to yourself when you binge and purge. 
I know it won't work for everyone, and it won't work all the time for anyone. But if you've never tried it give it a go. Make a pretty chart for it and have a place to write it down. Do it after you binge and purge to help give you perspective for the next time you face the same cue (although before is better). 


  1. Wow! Congratulations! I'm really happy for you both. An art museum is a great way to celebrate :)
    Wow... That's really awesome! I will definitely try this! Thank you so much for posting this for us.

  2. Congratulations! I really liked how you explained the thought restructuring it seems like something I can actually do, day-to-day.
    love always,

  3. This is great Emily and I'm glad it is helping you


    I hope you and your boyfriend have a lovely time, you are lucky to have each other x

  4. Yay, I'm glad this is helpful to someone. :)


Thanks for commenting! I appreciate it :)