In session this week with my client, Maddy, we spent most of the session discussing a new skill for her: no wine Sunday through Thursday. Maddy told me that she had gotten into the habit of having a glass or two most nights of the week, and at 120 calories a glass, she was easily spending 1,200 calories just on wine each week, which is a lot for someone trying to lose weight. Maddy decided it was realistic that she would have a glass or two on Fridays and Saturdays, but that cutting out the rest of the week’s wine would be reasonable.
It’s undeniably true that there are disadvantages to losing weight – not eating as much as you want, whenever you want, having to watch portions, not eating or drinking the same things as other people may be, but it’s important to compare those to the advantages of losing weight – better health, improved self-confidence, increased mobility, better quality of life (in so many ways), etc. Ask yourself: which is more important to me?
Sabotage: I can’t believe I gave in to that craving. I can’t do this. I should just give up.
Response: Learning to lose weight and keep it off is a process and it takes time. I’m not going to learn it overnight, and I’m not going to be good at it overnight. Just because I gave in once, doesn’t negate all the other times I didn’t. I need to take an accurate picture of how things are really going and acknowledge that while I’m not perfect, I’m better than I was. As long as I keep working at it, I’ll keep moving forward.
If you’re not doing as well with healthy eating as you’d like and think, “I can’t even do it now, how will I ever be able to do it?” remind yourself that not being totally on track is NOT an indication that you can’t do it (now or in the future), it’s simply a sign that you need more practice. But like any skill, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. This is no different!
If you’re going to a barbeque today with lots of food, remember that at such events you have two options: You can eat smaller portions of more things, or bigger portions of fewer things. Most people psychologically find it more satisfying to eat bigger portions of fewer things, but whatever you decide, be deliberate with your choices.
For those of us in the US, this weekend is Memorial Day weekend. If you have parties and events planned for this weekend, MAKE A PLAN! Don’t leave it up to chance, because chances are it won’t go well (or as well as you’d like). You can enjoy yourself AND feel in control of your eating!
If you have the urge to just eat and eat and eat, remember that while doing that might feel (somewhat) pleasurable in the moment, it never feels good physically to feel overly stuffed. Remind yourself before you start how you’ll feel when you finish.
If you’re questioning whether or not the effort to stick to a diet is really worth it, chances are you’re not 100% on track. When dieters are fully on track, feeling great about their eating, feeling very in control, and reaping the benefits, there’s no question whatsoever that it’s worth it. So instead of spending energy deciding whether or not it’s worth it, spend the energy to get completely on track, and the question will go away.
Reminder: Getting on track with dieting can be discouraging, but it doesn’t need to be, if you have the right mindset. If you were learning to play the piano and hit a wrong key, you would never take that as a sign to give up completely. Mistakes happen in ALL areas of life but keep practicing and you’ll continue improving.
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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