Trashing Food

A dieter emailed me recently after she had watched a three-minute TV segment in which I suggested putting food in the trash. She was concerned, and understandably so. For this dieter and for most people, the notion of trashing food, instead of saving and reusing it, is absurd.

I explained to the dieter that while the TV segment she watched was three minutes long, I had actually been interviewed for about two hours. So, unfortunately, viewers didn’t get to see the whole story about the Beck Diet program or about throwing away food.

In The Beck Diet Solution, I provide a cognitive behavior program which teaches dieters many techniques to lose weight and keep it off permanently. One technique is learning to throw away food–initially–that is too tempting. This doesn’t mean throwing away healthy food that they or someone else could eat in the coming days. Of course, they should keep that! This does mean throwing away junk food that’s too tempting or portions of food that are too small to be part of another meal–but that will be tempting for the dieter to eat as she’s clearing the table or as an unplanned bedtime snack.

A later step in the program is learning how to have tempting food around while resisting it and not having to throw it away. I’ve just found most dieters can’t go immediately to this step, and that throwing away some foods is an essential part of building resistance to tempting foods.

Our Diet Workshop Was A Success!

Our diet workshop, here in Philadelphia on Sunday, September 13th, was a success! We had over 120 dieters and health and mental health professionals, from 20 US states and 3 countries. We’re excited to announce that Julie Soller, from UCLA, filmed the workshop, and will use part of it for a documentary on The Beck Diet Solution. Soller also interviewed a number of people who have been using the book to lose weight (some have lost 60 pounds or more!), are successfully maintaining their weight loss, and predict that they’ll never regain what they’ve lost.

The most enjoyable part of the workshop for me, besides getting to meet so many people, was doing role plays with dieters. We roleplayed, for example, how to motivate yourself everyday, overcome feelings of deprivation, get yourself to make dieting a priority, and be nicely assertive with people who sabotage your efforts. There was an excited energy in the room all day and we’ve received such positive feedback.

— Judith Beck




Making Friends With Food– An article in SHAPE Magazine

In the October 2009 issue of SHAPE magazine (see p. 70), a dieter tells readers how Dr. Judith Beck (and The Beck Diet Solution) is helping her develop strategies to target her emotional eating, boost her confidence, resist unhealthy temptations, and continue to lose weight.

In the article, the dieter mentions a favorite strategy that’s been helpful to her and which Dr. Beck emphasizes with all dieters:

Identifying and reminding oneself of the advantages of losing weight

She explains that when she becomes tempted by a bag of chips, she runs downs her list of why that bag of chips is NOT worth it. She also talks about how Dr. Beck has taught her the importance of giving herself credit—and that she deserves credit EVERY time she proves strong enough to resist and stick to her plan.

Sue: Part 12

Sue has made so much progress! She has mastered the art of eating only while sitting down. Once in a while, she legitimately forgets but she never says to herself, “Oh, I don’t feel like sitting down to eat this.” She is now convinced that this positive eating habit is essential to her success.

She has also mastered the art of eating moderate portions, even of junk food. When she goes to the movies, for example, she plans in advance to allow enough calories to have some popcorn and candy. Unlike most dieters, she doesn’t have to throw away the extra food before she goes to her seat. She’s able to eat the amount she had planned and then stop, even though there’s more left. Occasionally she feels disappointed when her food is gone, so we discussed the importance of telling herself, “It’s okay to feel disappointed. This feeling won’t last.” As soon as she starts to concentrate on the movie (or on another activity at home or at work), the disappointment vanishes and she notes that she is always glad later that she didn’t overeat.

 And finally, Sue has begun to accept that daily fluctuations in her weight are normal and part of the weight loss process. She continues to lose weight and feels so much better when she looks in the mirror—she’s adding this to her list of advantages of losing weight.

Sue: Part 11

Sue has been weighing herself daily and graphing her weight loss. She has now proven to herself several times that the number on the scale goes down some days, stays the same some days, and goes up some days—even when her energy input and output is the same! Nevertheless, she continues to be disappointed, and a little worried, when her weight is up, even by only a pound. I had her compose two Response Cards. She’ll choose which one to read before her daily weigh-in.

If I’ve Been Following My Plan

  • It will be nice if my weight is down today but it’s fine if it’s up.
  • Look where I am today compared to where I started!
  • If it’s up, it doesn’t necessarily mean I did anything wrong and if I keep following my plan, it will come down again, until I hit maintenance.
  • History has shown me that the number definitely goes up and down.
  • I don’t need to worry unless my weight goes up and continues to go up for several days in a row.
If I Haven’t Been Following My Plan

  • Okay, my weight will probably be up today and I will probably feel disappointed.
  • I need to make this an “Oh, well,” experience. “Oh, well, I don’t like the fact that my weight is up but I need to accept it—without criticizing myself—and get problem-solving oriented.”
  • It’s impossible to lose weight without making some mistakes along the way.
  • Let me figure out what led to my going off plan—especially the sabotaging thoughts that got in the way—so I can avoid the situation in the future.
  • If I get right back on track now, following my eating plan and using all my Beck Diet Solution skills, I’ll lose weight again.
  • If I use this weight gain as an excuse to give up, I may never achieve the advantages of weight loss—feeling better, being healthier, etc.
  • (Now go read my list of reasons to lose weight and ask myself how important each one is to me.)

The Beck Diet Solution Newsletter is Released

On September 2nd, Dr. Beck released her inaugural issue of the Beck Diet Solution Newsletter.  This brief, once-monthly newsletter is geared toward professionals and consumers and includes special news and announcements on the diet and weight loss front, helpful articles, and frequently asked questions.

In this month’s issue, Dr. Beck discusses how dieters can handle feeling dissatisfied when they’re finished eating, provides information about the Beck Diet Solution Workshop planned for September 13, 2009, includes an FAQ, and more. 

 To sign-up to receive the Beck Diet Solution Newsletter, email us at

Sue: Part 10, The Tyranny of the Scale

Sue has been weighing herself once a week. She was confused and disheartened that her weight had gone up a little this week. After all, she told me, she had stuck to her plan and, on top of that, had done considerably more exercise than usual.

I asked Sue if this was a typical reaction for her—feeling disappointed when the scale didn’t go down as expected. She acknowledged that yes, this was a long-term problem. She also told me that in the past, if she expected the scale to show a higher weight (because she had eaten more than planned), she often avoided the scale altogether. The scale avoidance had often led to her gaining a LOT of weight because she didn’t have to face the consequences of abandoning her eating plan.

I told Sue that I thought she suffered from “tyranny of the scale,” that is, her mood was way too dependent on the number it registered. I told her it was difficult to get over the problem unless she started weighing herself every day. In fact, I told her, I not only wanted her to weigh herself, but I also wanted her to start graphing her weight.

Sue needs to see, over and over and over again, that daily fluctuations in weight are NORMAL. She had thought that the scale should go down every day or every week as long as she was sticking to her plan. She didn’t know that the scale is supposed to register a higher weight some days. It doesn’t mean she’s become fatter. If she’s stuck to her diet and exercise programs, it means she retained water, had some hormonal changes, ate saltier foods, ate later than  usual the evening  before, or experienced some other normal physiological change that we couldn’t identify. In fact, I told her, “Don’t look for why your weight is higher on any given day—unless you didn’t stick to your eating plan. Just assume it’s a normal fluctuation and that the scale will come down again within a few days.”

I told Sue that if she’s only weighing herself, without making a graph, it’s more difficult to prove to herself that daily fluctuations are normal—and that if the scale goes up or stays the same, it will come down soon. But this is crucial! It’s also hard to prove to yourself if you’re only weighing and graphing once a week. That’s why it’s worth the effort to weigh yourself daily. After 15 or 20 episodes of seeing the fluctuations, you won’t worry any more. You’ll know the ups and downs are normal and you’ll get over your fear of the scale.