Q: I see that there are three books: The Beck Diet Solution, The Complete Beck Diet for Life, and the workbook. Which book should I start off using?
A: The answer is that there is no right answer, and you will be fine starting off with any of them. Through feedback we have learned that some people initially find the third book, The Complete Beck Diet for Life, to be a little more complicated to follow than The Beck Diet Solution (which we often call the “pink book”) or the workbook. Often dieters read The Beck Diet Solution first, and follow along with each skill in the program, and then later enhance their efforts with new ideas from the second book. But as a general rule, figure out what seems easier for you to follow and makes the most sense because that is ultimately what will be most effective for you.
Q: I read the Beck Diet Solution book a while ago and I lost weight, but then my life got really stressful and I ended up gaining it back. Do you know of dieters who had to do the program more than once and ultimately found success? How did they do this, by going back and starting the program again?
A: YES, we have come in contact with many dieters who did not ultimately end up keeping all the weight off after their first attempt. Frequently big life changes or stressors get in the way, and this is when dieters start to loosen the reins and stop practicing their skills. Dieters need to be able to take a step back and view the situation objectively: which skills are they doing less consistently or not at all? What part of the day is hardest for them? What do they have to do to make dieting a priority again? Once dieters can figure out what is going on, they can then begin to formulate a plan to get back on track.
As you suggested, we recommend that dieter go back (maybe to even the first skill) and take time to ensure that they have fully MASTERED each skill before moving on to the next one. If dieters have not really mastered a skill the first time around, as soon as life circumstances become more challenging, practicing that skill will be much more difficult. Often dieters initially think it’s okay to move on to the next skill once they are pretty good at the previous one, but we’ve found that “pretty good” is usually just not good enough. Taking time to master each skill can make the difference between temporary and lasting success.
Q: I know you say to eat without distractions. I have a bad habit of eating in front of the TV — the snacks are planned for within my meal plan — but sometimes, I’m setting myself up for failure. Any tips? Thanks!
A: You’re right, learning to eat slowly and mindfully are important parts of the program because we have found (over and over and over again) that dieters simply are not able to feel satisfied – physically and psychologically – if they do not take time to notice and enjoy what they’re eating. While it may seem that as long as dieters are eating what they had planned to eat then it doesn’t matter how they eat it, we have found that this is not really the case. Yes, dieters will continue to lose weight if they continue to follow their plan. But if they are not getting the most from what they are eating, then dieting will likely be much more of a struggle because they will feel less satisfied and more tempted to eat things not on their plan. When the struggle goes down, dieting gets so much easier and we want to help dieters make things as painless as possible.
If you are tempted to zone out while eating your (planned) snack, remind yourself why it’s worth it to you to momentarily turn off the TV and really focus on enjoying what you’re eating. We find that dieters can be just as happy eating one cookie as they would be eating three, if they really take time to enjoy that one cookie instead of mindlessly eating and not tasting three. And let’s face it – you deserve the pleasure of getting to relax watching TV AND the pleasure of getting to enjoy your food, so why not take time to do both and not deny yourself one.
You can also practice splitting your focus while watching TV and experiment with doing both at the same time, but be very deliberate about it. If you notice that you are starting to eat mindlessly, refocus yourself and/or turn off the TV. Some dieters are better at this than others, and some find that they really appreciate taking the time to enjoy their food and feel good about what they’re eating.