November 16, 2011 – Wednesday Sabotage

Sabotaging Though: I’ll never be able to get to the weight I was when I was younger. I should stay where I am, it’s good enough.

Response: If I’m at a healthy weight then maybe I SHOULD stay where I am and work on acceptance. If I’m not at a healthy weight then it’s NOT good enough because my health is suffering. Yes, it’s true I may never return to my younger weight but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be healthy, feel good about myself, and achieve everything on my Advantages List. Having unreasonable expectations gives me an excuse to not even try, when I can still improve my life so much by working hard and losing weight.

November 15, 2011 – Tuesday Reality Check

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you undoubtedly won’t be able to eat all of the holiday food you want, in whatever quantities you want. HOWEVER, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have a plan for when and how you will enjoy certain treats, and in doing so you will be able to enjoy holiday food, enjoy staying in control, AND enjoy all the advantages of losing weight.

November 14, 2011 – Monday Motivation

One of the most important aspects of healthy eating and weight loss is improved quality of life. Our dieters find that once they gain control of their eating they feel SO MUCH BETTER both mentally and physically, in ways they hadn’t even conceived of when they initially started out.

November 11, 2011 – Friday Weekend Warm-up

If you tend to splurge on weekends because of sabotaging thoughts like, “I worked so hard during the week, I deserve to kick back and relax on the weekend,” then find non-food-related ways reward yourself for all your hard efforts. In doing so you can feel good about unwinding AND about your eating and maintaining control.

November 10, 2011 – Think Thin Thursday Tip

Dieters need to give themselves credit for every positive eating and exercise behavior so that they are aware of how many great things they’re doing each day. That way, if they make a mistake it is easy to see that they DON’T need to throw in the towel because one wrong thing doesn’t begin to negate the 20 things they did right.

November 9, 2011 – Wednesday Sabotage

Sabotaging Thought: Dieting is too hard, it’s not worth it.

Response: Dieting IS but it also IS worth it. Telling myself "it’s not worth it" is just an excuse to give up and I have to pay no attention to that thought. The advantages of losing weight and the positive impact it will have on every area of my life makes it unquestionably worth it.

November 8, 2011 – Tuesday Reality Check

Dieters sometimes think it’s not fair that they have to struggle and limit their eating. We remind them that while it’s true it’s not fair, EVERYONE has unfairnesses in their lives, but at least in this case, there are things they can do to make it better.

According to Research

The findings of a research study published in the August 2011 edition of the Obesity Journal state that “in comparison to leaner individuals, heavier individuals are more likely to overeat when there is a large variety of palatable foods available, but less likely to overeat when there are very few or no such foods available,” while, “leaner individuals reported a relatively low rate of overeating that was fairly constant regardless of the availability of palatable foods.”

This backs up what we found with our dieters –they are much more likely to overeat if they have lots of tempting foods surrounding them and, similarly, when they are having strong cravings, the likelihood of their eating off plan is greatly increased if the food is readily available as opposed to them having to go out and buy it. It’s certainly true that in sessions with our dieters we help them to develop effective resistance techniques so that they are able to coexist with any food and know that they will be able to control themselves. However, we also discuss with our dieters the fact that dieting can be hard, especially when dieters are engaging in the painful struggle of “Should I have this? I know I shouldn’t. But it looks really good. But it’s not on my plan. But I really want some. But you know you’re not supposed to have it, etc.” and it’s often worth it to do what we can to make it easier. To this end, while we never suggest that dieters cut out any food from their diets altogether, it doesn’t mean that they need to have a giant Costco-sized box of it sitting in their pantry, especially in the beginning when they are first learning and practicing new skills.

We also remind our dieters that while they cannot necessarily control what food and treats are in their office break rooms or served at parties and functions, many of them do have at least some control in deciding what food is brought into their homes. In order for dieters to exercise this control, we may initially need to do some work with them so that they feel entitled to make changes in their homes, especially if they have ideas like, “My partner and/or children will be deprived if they can’t have lots of treats available at home.” We may also work with dieters to change their thinking if they have sabotaging thoughts such as, “I can’t throw away (or give away) this food because somebody made it,” or, “It will be a waste of money if I get rid of these treats,” or, “I can’t ask the people in my home to make changes.”  We discuss various strategies with our dieters, like having them try bringing in only single-serving portions of their favorite treats or having their partners keep their junk food out of sight.

Especially now that we are entering holiday season, which means a prevalence of treats everywhere you look, it can be extremely helpful to remove (large quantities of) highly tempting foods from your immediate environment. While holiday season is not created to help people lose weight or maintain a weight loss, it also does not have to be such a huge threat to successful dieting. Whether it means not buying tempting junk food or getting rid of it when it is around, we counsel our dieters to take control wherever they can and limit the number of times a day they have to resist tempting food. And we always ask them: who will really suffer if there is less junk food around? Healthy eating is not just important for dieters, after all.

Thomas, J. Graham, Sapna Doshi, Ross Crosby, and Michael R. Lowe. “Ecological Momentary Assessment of Obesogenic Eating Behavior: Combining Person-Specific and Environmental Predictors.” Obesity Journal 19.8 (2011): 1574-579. Print.

November 7, 2011 – Monday Motivation

If you think, “I’ve been on a diet for 20 years. I’m just not the type of person who can lose weight,” remind yourself, “I’m different now because I’m learning critical skills I didn’t know before. I CAN lose weight, and I will keep losing weight AND keep it off because I will continue to use my skills.”

November 4, 2011 – Friday Weekend Warm-up

If you want to lose or maintain your weight loss, you can’t use weekends as an excuse to overeat because you will continually undo all your hard work from the workweek.  Make a commitment to staying on track this weekend!