Remember, while working on healthy eating is hard some of the time, being overweight is hard ALL of the time, and in so many more ways.
You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go. Losing weight, if you’re being reasonable with your eating, often isn’t very fast but eventually you’ll get where you want to be. And keep in mind that every pound you lose feels better than being that pound heavier, so there is so much to appreciate along the way.
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.
A dieter was recently struggling with caring about her weight loss skills because she was mourning her mother’s death and was having a lot of trouble controlling her emotional eating. She made the following Response Card:
Even though the grief I’m feeling is really strong, it’s still worth it to me to work on using alternate coping strategies because my long-term health is at stake.”
Sabotaging Thought: I should be able to enjoy myself at special occasions.
Response: Eating differently doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy other aspects of this occasion. But I have to face the fact that I may not get as much enjoyment from food as I used to. Since I’ll be faced with many special occasions in my lifetime, I have a choice: I can either eat whatever I want OR I can lose weight. But I can’t have it both ways.
For many people, eating is a powerful coping mechanism for negative emotions because they give it power. They tell themselves, “Eating will help me feel better,” and then it does (in the short term).
Instead, remind yourself that eating will ultimately ALWAYS make the situation worse (because it doesn’t solve the first problem and just creates more), and then try giving something else power, like drinking hot tea or taking a walk.
Dieting and losing weight can be very hard, no doubt about that. BUT, it’s important to keep in mind all of the overwhelmingly positive things that will come as a result. It’s hard but it’s undoubtedly worth it. Important things are worth working for!
If you think, “I’m discouraged by the weight I gained this holiday season,” remind yourself that this weekend is a GREAT time to get back on track and recommit yourself to healthy eating. It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t eat over the past few weeks. What matters now is what you eat today and every day going forward.
Now is a great time to institute a reasonable exercise routine! If you think, “I’m too busy to exercise,” consider cutting out OTHER activities to make room for exercise. Likely exercise is way more important (physically and psychologically) than some of the other ways you’re spending your time.
Sabotaging Thought: Since I’m so ready to start my diet and drop holiday weight, I should be pretty restrictive with my eating to make it happen more quickly.
Response: When has using extreme measures EVER helped me to lose weight and keep it off? I’m going to make this year the year that I learn to find the middle ground between overeating and undereating. The middle ground is the only path that will help me lose weight and maintain that weight loss.
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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