It’s easier to stay on track than get back on track. When you have positive momentum built up from the week, don’t let the weekend stop it! Stay on track, keep the momentum going, and Monday morning you won’t have to put forth the effort to get back in control.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, whether or not you “feel” like doing something (e.g. resisting a craving, taking time to eat breakfast, grocery shopping for healthy food) just isn’t relevant. Ask yourself, “Which do I MORE not feel like: working on healthy eating, or remaining overweight?”
Sabotaging Thought: I’m too tired/stressed/busy to exercise today.
Response: Exercise will actually help with these things, not make them worse! If I’m tired, it will give me more energy, if I’m stressed, it will provide a productive outlet, if I’m busy, it will be a necessary break to focus on myself and my needs.
In session this week my dieter, Amy, told me about a major triumph she had during a long and stressful work meeting the day before. Midway through the meeting, someone started passing out a big bowl full of Valentine’s Day candy, and everyone started digging in. When the bowl was passed to Amy, Amy looked down at the treats and thought about how much she wanted one. But instead of taking one (or many) treats and eating them, Amy did something different – she didn’t take any and passed the bowl onto the next person.
I asked Amy what she said to herself that enabled her to resist the Valentine’s Day candy. Amy told me that although she really wanted the candy, not only because everyone else was eating it but also because she was feeling really stressed, she reminded herself of the following ideas:
If I give in, I’ll enjoy this for a few moments but then I’ll feel guilty about it the rest of the meeting, and probably afterwards.
This meeting is already stressful and I’m going through a stressful time at work. If I eat this, I’ll just feel even more stressed because I’ll worry about gaining weight.
Just because everyone else is eating it doesn’t mean I can. My body doesn’t know or care what they’re eating. It only knows what I eat.
I asked Amy if, looking back, she regretted not having eaten the candy and she told me that she absolutely didn’t regret it and, in fact, she hadn’t really thought about it again until our session that day. I also asked Amy if she was actually feeling good about not having eaten the candy and Amy said that she really did because she felt proud of herself. Amy and I then discussed some important things for her to remember based on this experience:
- She now was proven to herself that she can resist eating something, even when the situation is really difficult. Amy has also now made it easier for her to resist the next time because she has made her resistance muscle stronger.
- Once Amy did resist, she didn’t spend the rest of the day regretting it. In fact, she didn’t even think about it once the situation had passed. It wasn’t as if she spend the rest of the hour/day/week thinking, “I really wish I had eaten that candy.” It just didn’t come up again.
- Not only did Amy not regret resisting the candy, but she actually felt good about it because she gave herself a lot of credit for doing so. Although Amy continued to feel stress about her work situation, she didn’t add to that stress by also feeling guilty about her eating.
What I did with Amy is important for you, yourself, to also do. Whenever you have a success, ask yourself:
1. What was the situation and what were my sabotaging thoughts?
2. What did I say to myself that enabled me to stand firm? How did I feel when I did so? How am I feeling now about doing so?
3. What do I need to remember about this situation for next time?
Remember – it's not enough to read these Daily Diet Solutions once and expect them to make a difference. Take the time to copy down the ones that are particularly resonant to you onto cards and read them every day. The more you read these helpful ideas, the more they’ll pop into your head when you really need them!
Successful dieting is a matter of learning specific skills and like any other skills, the more you practice them, the easier they get. However difficult dieting may feel today is not how difficult it will feel in the future. If you keep doing what you're doing, it WILL get easier.
If you think, “it’s not fair that I have to work on losing weight and can’t eat whatever I want on weekends,” remind yourself that everyone has unfairnesses in their lives and this happens to be one of yours. But at least this is one you can do something about!
Successful weight loss and maintenance is a combination of all the small things you do in a day, not a result of any one big thing. That’s why it’s important to give yourself credit for every big AND small thing you do well!
Sabotaging Thought: It’s okay to have this extra cookie because there’s so many other desserts [at this party] that I’m not eating.
Response: My body doesn’t know or care what I don’t eat, it only knows what I DO eat.
There’s simply no magic bullet that will enable easy, fast, and LASTING weight loss. Instead of fighting against what you need to do, use that time and energy to just get started. Every journey starts with a single step – so commit to taking at least one step today.
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.
One Belmont Avenue, Suite 700
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004-1610