One of the greatest aspects of losing weight is how many good things come as a result. It’s not as if you have to work hard, be disciplined, make healthy choices, and get nothing in return. Just the opposite is true – by doing all of these things you get THE MOST IMPORTANT things in return (health, self-confidence, control, pride, reduced physical and emotional pain, etc.)
My client, Deanna, just came back from a week-long trip and something great happened upon her return: She found out she lost a pound and a half. In almost every previous trip Deanna had taken, she had gained weight, and sometimes a significant amount of weight, so this was an entirely new experience for her. In session this week, Deanna and I talked about everything she had done that made the trip so successful so that she could remember it for next time.
- Deanna told me that the first thing she did was take time before she left (which she partly did in session with me) to really think through the trip and make a plan for how she would handle her eating. Never before had Deanna had a deliberate plan for what she would eat while traveling; she always just had the idea that she would “wing it” and try to make good decisions. Having a written plan of how she would handle her eating, and reviewing that plan each and every morning, really enabled Deanna to stay in control of her eating while traveling. Deanna’s written plan had the following components:
- Bring healthy food for the airplane
- One glass of wine every other night
- ½ a piece of bread and half my starch at dinner
- Ask for fruit instead of potatoes at breakfast
- Try to have some type of salad for lunch
- No dessert before dinner and ½ dessert after dinner, or dessert every other night
- Deanna told me that, since she was eating more caloric meals than she normally did (because she ate almost every meal at a restaurant), she didn’t snack during the trip.
- Deanna also made it a top priority to be active on this trip. She made it a goal to go to the fitness center in her hotel at least three times during her seven day trip, and made sure to take opportunities for spontaneous exercise whenever possible, like taking the stairs instead of elevators, walking around the airport instead of sitting at her gate, walking places instead of taking cabs (when possible), etc.
- Deanna gave herself lots of credit during the trip whenever she made a healthy decision. Instead of focusing on everything she wasn’t eating, she made sure to tell herself how great it was that she way staying on track, and how resisting food would help her reach her important goals. In doing so, Deanna was actually able to feel good about staying on track because the focus was on what she was getting, not what she was giving up.
- When Deanna got home and saw that she hadn’t gained weight, hadn’t even maintained her weight, but had actually lost weight, she captured how great she felt on a Response Card to read before every trip in the future.
For the first time that I can remember, I actually lost weight while traveling. This feels SO AMAZING. Although there were times on the trip it felt difficult to make healthy decisions, now that I’m back I don’t regret a single thing that I didn’t eat or drink. I just feel so proud of myself and have such an huge sense of accomplishment. It was 1,000% worth it.
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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