Credit Where Credit is Due

Some dieters in our new class are struggling with giving themselves credit (discussed on Day 4 of The Beck Diet Solution), which is a very important skill. So many aspects of dieting are difficult—at first: withstanding cravings, making food plans, resisting emotional eating, turning down food pushers, etc. The more dieters do these things, the easier they become, but this only happens if they are able to give themselves credit.  For example, every time a dieter resists a craving and praises herself, she builds up her confidence that she is capable of resisting cravings and she increases the likelihood that she’ll be able withstand the next craving she has.  If she withstands a craving but doesn’t credit herself for it, then the next time she has a craving she won’t be sure she’ll be able to hold out and may struggle a lot more. 

Dieters need to give themselves credit for every positive diet and exercise-related behaviors they do.  For instance, every time they stop eating before they’re overfull (Day 18), get back on track after straying (Day 20), eat slowly and mindfully (Day 5), or do any kind of exercise (Day 9), they need to say something to themselves, such as “Great,” or “Good, I did it.” Many people who have struggled with their weight are hard on themselves and overly self-critical.  By consciously recognizing the dozens of things they do right each day, dieters build up their self-confidence and awareness that they’re strong and in control.

At the beginning or end of each class we go around and have everyone tell some things they did in the past week that they deserve credit for.  In the beginning it was difficult for some of our dieters to come up with credit-worthy behaviors, but because they’ve been practicing this—and hearing what the others say—throughout the past several weeks, they’re getting much better at it. They are also noticing that the things they consistently give themselves credit for (such as eating sitting down) are becoming easier and easier to do – and this is no coincidence! 

Our New Class: Starting Their Diets

We have started a new weight-loss class here at the Beck Institute.  Our new dieters have just finished the tasks from the first two Weeks of The Beck Diet Solution and today are embarking on Week Three: starting their diets.  Our dieters are feeling nervous about starting yet another diet.  This is, of course, a perfectly legitimate concern because all of them have had experiences, over and over again, of starting diets, falling off the wagon, and giving up. We asked our dieters to tell us why this time will be different.

This time is different because never in the past have they had two weeks of preparation before they actually started following a diet.  Now they know so much more going in and have many more skills than they did before.   Now they know how to get themselves to eat everything slowly, while sitting down, and enjoying every bite (Days 3 and 5 of The Beck Diet Solution).  Now they know how to create both the time and energy in their daily lives to accomplish diet and exercise-related activities (Day 8).  They have learned to differentiate between hunger, cravings, and the desire to eat (Day 11), and have proven to themselves that they can tolerate feeling hungry (Day 12).  They have learned coping strategies for when they are experiencing intense cravings (Day 13), and they have learned to give themselves credit (an essential tool for building confidence) for the many positive diet and exercise-related things they do each day (Day 4). 

We advised our dieters to go back and read through the To-Do lists from the previous Days so that they can clearly see how much they’ve learned and how much better prepared they are this time than ever before.  We are confident that, like our other dieters, our new class is now ready to start losing weight, and to keep it off for good. 

Going back to Planning: Roxanne

About five months ago, Roxanne made the decision to stop losing weight and start maintaining.  Since making that decision, Roxanne has been able to stop writing down a formal food plan each night and instead just has a general sense of what/how much she’s going to eat each day.  Like most successful maintainers, this has been fairly easy for Roxanne because she finds herself eating basically the same type of things for breakfast and lunch each day, with the only big variations being at dinner time. 

Although Roxanne is no longer trying to lose weight, she still employs many of the same techniques and strategies she did while she was on the way down.  She still consistently reads her Advantages List (discussed on Day 1 of The Beck Diet Solution) and Response Cards almost every day, and certainly whenever she’s going into a high-risk situation like a party or a reception.  She still continues to weigh herself each morning and consistently makes a conscience effort to eat everything slowly, while sitting down, and to enjoy every bite (Days 3, 5, and 21). 

scale21.jpgBecause she weighs herself every morning, Roxanne has noticed that for the past two weeks her weight has been up a little bit.  Rather than ignore the weight gain and hope that it goes away, Roxanne had decided to take steps to get herself firmly back on track so a small weight gain doesn’t turn into a thirty pound gain.  For the next couple of weeks, Roxanne is going to go back to making a written a food plan each evening for the next day, so she’ll know exactly how many calories she’s taking in.  With this strategy in hand, Roxanne is 100% confident that she will get back down to her Lowest Maintainable Weight (Chapter 11). 

This is precisely what will enable Roxanne maintain her weight loss for the rest of her life.  Whenever the scale is up by three pounds, she’ll just go back to writing down a plan and sticking to it – a skill she learned how to do well while following the Beck Diet Solution program.  Because she weighs herself each morning, Roxanne never has to worry about gaining back a lot of weight because she will always know when a small weight gain has occurred and the steps she needs to take to correct the imbalance.