When you impulsively eat standing up, you’re telling yourself that it doesn’t really matter and that there won’t be any consequences. But there will be because EVERY bite of food you eat has calories. Even if you’re only eating vegetables standing up today, tomorrow it might be chocolate.
Last week in session, my dieter, Jamie, and I tackled the question of exercise. Should she do it? How much should she do? How much is reasonable to do? What types of exercise can she do? Will she hate doing it? How will she fit it into her busy schedule? How will she get herself to do it?
Like many of my dieters, when Jamie first came to see me she was a classic all-or-nothing exerciser, meaning she was either exercising intensely 7 days a week or she wasn’t exercising at all. Jamie had very little middle ground and was always either “on” her exercise plan or “off” of it. Jamie had also told me that she really hated to exercise and she was not looking forward to the day that I would “make” her do it.
As soon as I heard that from Jamie – that I would “make” her do it – I immediately reminded her that my job wasn’t to make her do anything because these were not MY goals for her, they were her goals for herself. I pulled out Jamie’s Advantages List and asked her how important all of those things were and Jamie responded that they were the most important things to her and agreed that she would be willing to try new things if it meant she could achieve them.
In session last week, I discussed with Jamie the fact that she might not need to exercise to lose weight, but almost definitely would need to exercise to maintain her weight and she unquestionably needed to exercise to have good health. Since a lot of Jamie’s goals involved having better health, preventing future health problems, and being able to be more active with her children and husband, I reminded her that all of those things implied a better level of fitness, which she would not be able to achieve without some form of exercise. Albeit reluctantly, Jamie agreed that exercise seemed like a necessary evil.
The first thing Jamie and I did was discuss what type of exercise plan would be reasonable for her. Jamie initially told me that since she would have to exercise again, she might as well do as much as she can so that the weight would come off more quickly. I reminded Jamie that we are working on getting her away from all-or-nothing thinking of all kinds, and besides, when has being an all-or-nothing exerciser ever helped her to maintain an exercise plan and reach her goals?
Jamie and I decided that since she loved the fall season, and since the weather was cooling down, she would start off by walking outside for at least 20 minutes 3 days this week. I encouraged Jamie to not make her plan for more days or for more minutes/hours this first week because setting too hard of a plan would only be counterproductive. I discussed with Jamie the fact that it’s always important to set reasonable homework because that way she can achieve it and feel good about it. If Jamie had decided to make her plan for 6 days that week and instead was only able to walk on 4 days, she would wind up feeling bad about the 2 days she didn’t walk, instead of feeling great about the 4 days she did. Jamie and I then discussed what would be the easiest time for her to get this walk in, knowing that the earlier in the day she aimed to do it, the more likely she would be to get it done. Jamie decided that 3 days this week she would get up a half hour earlier and get her walk out of the way before her kids woke up.
Now that Jamie had her exercise plan, the next step, which will be covered in Part 2, was to discuss with Jamie how she would get herself to actually institute the plan, in part by helping her to identify in advance what sabotaging thoughts might get in the way of this.
Sabotaging Thought: Dieting is too hard, it’s just not worth it.
Response: Yes, dieting is hard SOME of the time, but not all the time. Looking back, it’s not hard every single minute of every single day. Besides, it IS worth it because my goals are MUCH MORE important to me than never working hard at it. Giving up isn't worth it!
If you think, “I don’t want to accept the things I have to do for dieting” remind yourself, “I have a choice: I can struggle with what I have to do and feel bad, or I can accept that this is the way it is. It doesn’t mean I have to like it but continuing to fight against acceptance will do NOTHING but make it harder for me to reach my tremendously important goals.”
This weekend Dr. Judith Beck and I (Deborah Beck Busis, Diet Program Coordinator) presented a workshop at the Beck Institute on Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Weight Loss and Maintenance. We had a great time teaching dieters and maintainers, diet coaches, and health and mental health professionals how we apply CBT principles and techniques to the difficult problem of overweight and obesity. We used lecture, role play, and lots of Q and A.
Some of the topics we covered were:
- Overview of the Beck Diet Solution Program
- Sabotaging Thinking
- Assessment Initiating Treatment, and Structuring Sessions
- Pre-Dieting Skills
- Eating Habits
- Hunger, Craving, and Emotional Eating
- Dealing with deprivation, discouragement, and disappointment
- The Long Haul and Maintenance
- Reluctant Dieters and Real Life Compromises
On their evaluation forms, participants indicated that the workshop was very helpful and we hope they will use this knowledge to enrich their work with dieters and/or themselves. As of now, our next diet workshop at the Beck Institute is scheduled for June 2, 2012. Check back in with us and our website, though, because we add new workshops periodically. Below is a video of me discussing the importance of staying track and getting back on track when mistakes happen:
We asked a long time maintainer what keeps him motivated and he said, “I don’t wait for motivation, I just do it because I owe it to my daughter, my wife, and MYSELF.” Losing weight and being healthier positively impacts you AND everyone else around you. Do it for them, but most importantly, do it for yourself.
The Beck Diet Program was developed by Dr. Judith S. Beck with Deborah Beck Busis, LCSW.
Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a leading international source for training, therapy, and resources in CBT.
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