They’re Working at it, Too

Jamie came into session this week and reported that she has a revelatory experience over the weekend. She was at a dinner party at her sister’s house and was seated next to a (thin) woman named Deanna with whom Jamie had a mild acquaintance. Jamie told me that without even really meaning to, she kept an eye on what Deanna was eating that night and was very surprised to realize that Deanna ate a larger portion of salad with the dressing on the side, had reasonable portions of chicken and asparagus, and had a small portion of the wild rice that was served. She also had no bread, no other side dishes, and nursed one glass of wine throughout dinner. When dessert was served, Deanna passed on the cheesecake and instead ate fresh berries that were served along with it.

Reflecting upon what Deanna ate, Jamie had the realization: she’s working on watching her eating, too. Although theoretically Jamie knows that every thin person she sees is not necessarily naturally thin, it is easy for Jamie to forget this and to think, “It’s not fair that she is thin naturally and I have to work at it.” Jamie confessed that she had always assumed that Deanna was one of the naturally thin people that stayed that way without having to go through any effort. But in observing what Deanna ate at the dinner party, and especially in observing all of the things she didn’t eat, Jamie was once again reminded that many people look the way that they do through hard work and diligence.

Jamie and I talked about what this realization meant for her and Jamie said that once again becoming aware that she is not the only one who has to work at dieting helps counter a lot of her, “it’s not fair that…” thoughts. Jamie and I discussed that while it’s true it’s not fair she has to work hard to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, everyone has unfairnesses in their lives and this happens to be one of hers. I also pointed out to Jamie that she is lucky because some people can’t do anything about their unfairnesses, but this is one that, through hard work and practice, Jamie can and is learning to overcome. Jamie resolved to not let thoughts of unfairness get in the way of achieving her goals and decided that anytime she started to feel that it was unfair she had to work at dieting, she would remind herself, “It’s true it’s not fair, but at least there is something I can do about it,” and whenever she felt resentful looking at a thin person, she would remind herself, “I don’t know what she eats in a day and it’s very likely she’s working just as hard as I am.”

February 16, 2012 – Think Thin Thursday Tip

It can be very hard to remember every bite of food we eat each day and so writing down all your eating can be so useful in really knowing how much you’re eating and really being accountable for every bite you eat. If you know you have to write it down, it may help you consider whether or not you really want to eat it.

February 15, 2012 – Wednesday Sabotage

Sabotaging Thought: I’m too stressed to diet right now.

Response: It’s true I’m under a lot of stress, but there are times when sticking to my plan has made life easier because I don’t have to think about or struggle over food. If I maintain control over my eating, likely I will feel more in control of my life in general.

February 14, 2012 – Tuesday Reality Check

Your body counts every single bite of food you eat, whether or not you eat it standing up, very quickly, on your birthday, if it’s only a small piece, by yourself, in the middle of the night, when everyone around you is eating, when it’s free, if it will go to waste, because you’re sad or stressed, if you’re celebrating, etc.

February 13, 2012 – Monday Motivation

Since there’s probably never a “good” time to start dieting, why not just start today? Think about how much better you’ll feel next Monday morning if you have a whole week of healthy eating and feeling good about yourself under your belt!

February 10, 2012 – Friday Weekend Warm-up

It’s helpful to go into the weekend EXPECTING that dieting may be more difficult and preparing ahead of time. No one would go into battle without armor, so it’s important to fortify yourself and put on your weekend armor so you’re not caught unawares if it feels harder.

February 9, 2012 – Think Thin Thursday Tip

If you’re feeling upset or stressed – even if it’s time to eat, don’t eat! It’s important to prove to yourself that you can calm down without eating and besides, if you’re worked up you won’t really be able to enjoy the food anyway.

February 8, 2012 – Wednesday Sabotage

Sabotaging Thought: It’s sad that I can’t eat everything I want.

Response: Actually, it’s WONDERFUL that I can stick with my plan and lose weight! The sad thing would be to stay overweight and feel bad about myself.

February 7, 2012 – Tuesday Reality Check

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you can’t turn to food every time you’re upset. Not only will that not solve the problem, you will end up with two problems: the original one and now feeling bad about your eating. When you’re upset, you DO deserve to be comforted but you DON’T deserve to feel bad about your eating.

February 6, 2012 – Monday Motivation

When people tell us that they can’t lose weight because it’s too hard, we remind them that likely they’ve done other hard things in life, like getting a degree, being successful at a job, or learning a new skill. Those things didn’t come to them overnight and they had to work hard to achieve success and made mistakes along the way. Dieting is no different.