Make sure you plan to have your favorite foods this holiday season. But decide in advance when and how much! That way, if you come in contact with a food you love, you won’t have the sabotaging thought, “I never get to have this so it’s okay,” because you’ll know exactly when you get to have it.
How has your eating been going so far this holiday season? If you need some extra motivation (or if things haven’t been going well), take a moment to regroup and really think about the reasons why it’s worth it to you to stay on track. Then write them down in a special Holidays Advantages List and start reading it every day, at least once a day.
This weekend, if you think, “It’s not fair that I can’t eat like everyone else,” remind yourself, “Thank goodness I’m not eating like everyone else! Most people gain weight during the holiday season and my goal is the opposite.”
It’s important to both give yourself credit for the good choices you make and not berate yourself when you make a mistake. When you beat yourself up, the only thing it does is demoralize you further and makes it harder to get back on track. When you give yourself credit, it makes you feel great, helps raise your confidence, makes it easier to keep doing what you’re doing, and gives you motivation to stay on track.
Sabotage: I don’t want to have to think about healthy eating right now so I’m just going to give in and have this treat.
Response: There’s no such thing as ‘not thinking about it.’ If I decide to ‘not think about it’ and eat the treat now, I’ll definitely think about it a lot later when I’m feeling guilty and badly about my eating. On the other hand, if I do put in the effort to think about it now and resist, I’ll feel so great and proud later that I did.
If you think, “There’s so much junk food at work right now, I just can’t resist it,” remind yourself, “It’s worth it not to eat junk food at work. I don’t want to be plagued by cravings and I don’t want to gain weight and I don’t want to feel guilty afterwards. IF I see treats in the office that I want, remember: I CAN have them, just not right now. I’ll enjoy the treats so much more at home when I’ve planned to have it because I’ll eat it guilt free (and I won’t have to worry about overeating because I will only have one portion with me).”
Right around now is when many dieters start thinking, “I’m already off track. I’ll wait until the New Year to recommit.” If this is you – DON’T WAIT!! Recommit right now. Right this moment! You may not have all great days from now until January, but as long as you keep working at it, guaranteed you’ll be in a better place come January 1 than you would be if you threw in the towel altogether.
Remember, your body does not know or care that it’s a weekend; it processes calories the same regardless of the day of the week. If your goal is to lose weight and keep it off, then weekends are a break from work, NOT a break from healthy eating.
Holiday treats hanging around your office? It can be helpful to make the decision to not have any while at work, but bring home a portion of whatever looks best to you. That way you won’t have to struggle about whether or not to have some each time you see the treats, and you’ll still be able to enjoy a portion later and not have to worry about eating more than you planned.
Sabotage: It’s okay to eat this without counting it because I don’t know how many calories are in it.
Response: Even if I don’t know the calories, it still HAS calories, so of course it counts. Estimating the calories is so much better than not counting at all because at least I’m still being accountable for everything I eat.
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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