by Jack and Lois Trimpey, Co-Founders, Rational Recovery
There is enough information on this
sheet for many people to completely recover from chronic
With Addictive Voice Recognition Technique® (AVRT),
the game of weight control is rigged heavily in your favor.
Regardless of whether overeating is a disease (most unlikely!),
regardless of what genes you have inherited, and regardless
of what earlier problems you may have had, your food addiction
may be understood as a natural function of the human brain.
The sole cause of your overweight is your Addictive Voice.
In effect, you have two separate "brains" within
your head. One is primitive, similar to the brain of a dog
or a horse. This we call the midbrain. It is basically the
brain of a beast, and its only purpose is to survive. The
"beast brain" generates survival appetites that
drive the rest of the body toward what it demands, such
as oxygen, food, sex, and fluids. In some people, the midbrain
is convinced that starvation is just around the corner,
demanding more food than survival requires. The body then
stores energy in the form of fat for later use to prevent
But another brain sits on top of the beast
brain, the cerebral cortex. This "new brain,"
or neocortex, allows human beings to be conscious, to think,
to have language, and to solve problems. Your neocortex
is "you," and you can override any appetite, even
for oxygen. (Anyone can stop breathing until unconscious;
starving oneself to death is not difficult.) In AVRT, you
will use your neocortex, your human brain, your self,
to override the appetite for unnecessary food. By taking
independent action, you may avoid "treatment"
or diet programs that are costly or disagreeable, and harmful
entanglements with the recovery group movement.
If you have tried many times to lose weight,
but continued to overeat against your own better judgment,
you may think that you are unable
to control your eating behavior. This is an example of the
Addictive Voice (AV), removing your resolve to eat correctly.
The Feast Beast, your desire to eat too much, is ruthless
in getting what it wants. It can "talk" to you,
in your own voice. For example, if you wisely decide that
you will eat less and avoid fatty foods, you will soon hear
that old, familiar voice telling you why you should continue
eating abundantly and/or enjoyably. You may imagine a picture
of what you want to eat, and see yourself eating enjoyably
to relieve "terrible hunger." That is your AV.
Though you made a wise decision to eat correctly, your Feast
Beast has enlisted your language and visual centers to seduce
you into overeating. AVRT allows you to override your midbrain,
and seize control. If you compete you will win; beasts by
nature are short on intelligence.
There are two parties to your overeating problem - you and
"it," the addictive voice. "It," the
addictive voice, is simply any thinking,
imagery, or feeling that supports incorrect eating ever.
With your intelligence, you can easily recognize
your Feast Beast's thoughts and feelings.
The structural model of addiction shows
that the Feast Beast has no direct means to get what it
wants. It must appeal to you to get the amount and kind
of food that it "needs." It cannot speak, it cannot
see, it has no arms or legs, and it has no intelligence
of its own. But it uses your thoughts, sees through your
eyes, creates strong feelings, and persuades you to use
your hands, arms, and legs in order to obtain unnecessary
Addiction Diction (sm)
Your Feast Beast's favorite pronoun is "I." When
you hear the thought, "I want a snack," you may
recapture "I" by adding a "t" to the
"I." Then you will hear yourself thinking, "It
wants a snack." After you have recaptured "I,"
your Feast Beast will resort to the pronoun, "you,"
and you will hear, "You have been good; you can splurge
a little. It won't really matter much, especially if you
exercise." Sometimes, it may speak for both parties,
you and it, by saying, "We need a little something.
Let's go get some donuts." Recognizing the Feast Beast's
use of pronouns is part of Addiction Dictionsm, a potent
way to tame your Feast Beast.
Once started, AVRT is practically effortless.
When you recognize the primitive origin of the Addictive
Voice, it will usually fall silent, and then return later.
It may whine a lot, but you arc in control. Beasts have
feelings, so when you have stopped eating fatty foods for
a few days, and reduced the amount that you consume, you
may feel physically uncomfortable. This is a normal, harmless
phase when your body is adapting. Within a week or two,
your appetite will go into the background and you will have
more energy to pursue your real goals in life. But your
Feast Beast will lunge at you and tell you that any
discomfort you feel is a warning that you are harming yourself,
and that you had better eat more, especially "nutritious"
(fatty) food. Your Feast Beast, unable to tolerate hunger,
will enlist your ability to reason, using any warped logic,
to find new reasons to eat incorrectly. For example, it
will tell you that you eat for reasons other than the pleasure
of eating, such as anxiety or loneliness, or it will say
you are congenitally defective. When you confront your Feast
Beast, it may generate strong feelings such as anxiety,
depression, or anger. When you recognize those feelings
as your Addictive Voice, they will fade.
Instead of struggling one-day-at-a-time
toward a weight goal, you may make a five-word Big Plan
to never eat incorrectly, "I will never eat
incorrectly." To the Feast Beast, a permanent plan
for eating correctly is frightening because it appears to
threaten survival. Therefore making a Big Plan may trigger
feelings such as anxiety, sorrow, or anger, and endless
reasons to postpone the decision. Those feelings are not
truly yours, but only those of a frightened animal. Your
old enemy is on the run. Your Feast Beast is just a beast,
and it will finally accept you as its master.
Play Taps For Your Beast
As you vanquish your old enemy, play TAPS for it. There
are four axes of a dietary Big Plan: Time,
Amount, Place, and Stuff. Because AVRT is simple
and effective, you may be tempted to make a Big Plan that
you cannot stick to over the long run. TAPS allows a progressive
approach, one axis at a time, until you have the results
you want and are confident of lifetime stability. Some start
with just one axis, like Time, e.g., "I will never
eat after 8 PM." This alone may produce gratifying
results. But if stronger measures are needed, the Place
axis may be added, e.g., "I will also never eat in
front of the TV (or in a motor vehicle, or in my bedroom,
Without addressing what and how much you
eat, you can lose considerable amounts of weight with discipline
on other axes. Some may prefer to start with Stuff (or Substance),
e.g., focusing on one or several "culprit foods"
that trigger bingeing, e.g., "I will never again eat
ice cream (or pizza, spaghetti, candy, pastries, etc.)"
Simple, direct, and very effective. Finally, The Amount
one eats may be the key. Never having seconds, never eating
a meat portion larger than a deck of cards, never allowing
different foods to overlap or touch on your plate, and other
amount strategies can have significant effect on weight
loss. Together, TAPS is a way to gradually add to an eating
plan that you can stick to forever.
When you have made your Big Plan, you may
feel a great relief. This is the abstinence commitment effect
(ACE), showing that you clearly understand the concepts
of AVRT. A Big Plan changes the way your future looks, and
depression may no longer have a purpose in your life. Stay
alert for new Beast activity, which may be sudden or gradual.
It doesn't give up easily, and it is a strong opponent.
When you feel the struggle within you, it is only your old
enemy having a hard time with its new master you.
Knowing this builds great confidence that your food addiction
and overweight condition are over once and for all.
Taming the Feast Beast is available at the Rational Recovery Bookstore
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