If you felt sick, took your temperature, and saw you had a fever, you would never think, “I can’t believe I let my temperature get this high! I’m such a weak person.” The number on the scale is the same – it’s just INFORMATION about whether what you’re doing is working. It says nothing about who you are as a person.
I was asked a question this week that I often hear from my dieters: Is it okay to have one “cheat day” per week?
Sabotage: I had such a hard day, I deserve to reward myself with food.
Response: If I reward myself with food and overeat, I’ll end up feeling terrible – physically and mentally, which will be the exact opposite of a reward. If I stay on track and control my eating, I will feel great. Food rewards just don’t work once the food is gone!
Dieting is generally easy in the beginning because motivation is high but at some point (whether it’s in three weeks or three months) it gets harder. This is completely NORMAL and it happens to everyone. As long as you keep at it, it will get easier again.
If you feel alone in your struggles to limit your eating and lose weight, remember that so many other people are working at it, too. It’s a very, very small number of people who can eat whatever they want and be at a healthy weight. While it stinks that you have to work at it, you’re in VERY good company!
If you think, “I’m going to a party tonight but I don’t feel like making a plan. I’ll just do my best,” remind yourself, “Making a plan doesn’t take long at all. It’s not a big to make a plan, but it IS a big deal to not make one. Not having a plan exponentially increases the risk of eating too much, getting off track, and then having to struggle to get back in control.”
So often we hear from dieters, “I felt so good when I stayed in control,” and “I felt really bad when I ate way too much.” We know this is hard to remember in the moment, which is why you need to write it down on a card and read it EVERY DAY!
Sabotage: It’s okay to eat this because it’s healthy.
Response: I can gain weight eating all healthy foods, too. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it doesn’t have calories. Eating healthy foods is a great thing to strive for, but I have to make sure that whatever I eat (healthy or not) fits in with my overall day.
If you think, “I was so good today and there so much food I didn’t eat, so it’s okay to eat this now,” remind yourself that your body doesn’t know what you don’t eat, it only knows what you do eat. Extra is extra, regardless of how much extra you didn’t eat.
This week, instead of thinking about what you can’t have when you’re working on eating healthfully, focus on what you can – delicious and healthy food, a reasonable amount of treats, good health, better self-confidence, a stable wardrobe, a more peaceful relationship with food, great feelings, etc.
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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