If you feel discouraged when the scale either doesn’t go down or doesn’t go down as much as you think it should, remember that the scale is like a 3 year-old. It’s unpredictable, it’s not always rational, and it rarely does what we think it should or want it to. Over time the scale shows your hard work, but it won’t do so every day or every week. Just as you wouldn’t put your sense of wellbeing in a toddler’s hands, don’t put your sense of wellbeing in the hands of the scale! It’s just as unreliable.
If you think, “It’s the weekend and I want to have fun” remind yourself of two things:
1. Having an on track weekend and having a fun weekend are not mutually exclusive. There are many, many sources of fun that do not come from food.
2. There is a huge difference between having no fun with food and having all fun with food. This weekend, work on finding the middle ground and work on finding other ways to have fun!
The thought, “I’ve lost enough weight, this is good enough,” may be true or it may not be true, it’s important for you to make that determination. If you’re at a weight that is still stopping you from fully reaching important goals or preventing you from having better health, remind yourself of these things and keep moving forward.
Sabotaging Thought: I’m in such a good mood, it’s okay to have a treat to keep my good mood going.
Response: While having a treat might feel good right now, when I get on the scale see that I’ve gained weight it definitely won’t feel good. I need to remember that staying on track with my eating, especially when I’m giving myself a lot of credit for doing so, feels great. So although eating a treat might be one temporary way of keeping my good mood going, staying on track and feeling SO GOOD about my eating is another, much more longer-lasting way to keep feeling good.
If you think, “It’s okay to eat extra, I’ll work it off tomorrow,” remind yourself that what you’ll be doing in that moment is exercising your giving-in muscle, and once you start giving in, it’s highly likely you’ll continue to give in, in so many different ways. Staying on track RIGHT THIS MOMENT really matters because it’s critical to constantly reinforce your resistance muscle so that you can continue resisting.
The most successful dieters and maintainers are not those who never make mistakes – rather they are those who make mistakes and then get right back on track. You do not have to be perfect in order to lose weight and keep it off. What you do need is to be willing to accept mistakes and recover from them right away.
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 while it’s true this is unfair, focusing on the unfairness will just make you feel worse. Working on accepting it and doing what you need to do will make you feel better – and make losing weight easier. Nothing will take away the unfairness, but in one case you can feel much worse about it and in the other, you can feel much better. Which would you rather?
If you’ve struggled to lose weight in the past, or if you’ve lost weight and then gained it back, it’s important to remember that what you’ve done before just doesn’t work – if it did, you'd be at the weight you want. Being very restrictive DOES work for fast weight loss, but it DOES NOT work for weight maintenance. If you want this time to be different, you have to do things differently, even if it means you lose weight more slowly.
We want to hear from you this week! What are your most common sabotaging thoughts? What thoughts are the hardest for you to overcome? We’ll help give some responses in days to come.
Email your sabotaging thoughts to email@example.com
We heard this from a dieter last week: Exercise for it’s own sake. Exercise to make you feel strong and healthy. When we view exercise as something only to burn calories, it’s much, MUCH less pleasant and tends not to work anyway because we then eat the calories we think we burned.
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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