Whether you plan to have one, two, or three cookies at a holiday party, the most important part is that you stick to your plan. It’s critical to always stick to your plan, whatever that plan may be. The more you do so, the easier and easier it will be to continue doing so and the less effort and energy it will take because you’ll just know, “I always stick to my plan, no matter what.”
Our diet tips provide daily motivation and problem solving to help you stick to your diet plan. It’s an extra bit of motivation to help you start your day right.
Sabotaging Thought The holiday season is so busy, I don’t want to worry about my eating, too.
Response: It’s true, the holidays can be stressful. But guaranteed I’ll actually feel MORE stress if my eating gets out of control because I’ll feel guilty about it and be worried about gaining weight. Continuing to work on staying in control of my eating will help me to feel less stress during the holidays, not more.
It's helpful to have a guideline (especially this time of year) like, “No treats until after dinner.” That way, you’ll be more easily able to turn down sweets all day, knowing you get to have some later. If you want dessert during the day, remind yourself, “I don’t need to eat this now, I know I get to have a treat after dinner. I can wait.”
Achieving a really big goal (like losing and maintaining weight) is really a matter of achieving many smaller goals along the way. This weekend, commit to a smaller goal, like eating everything sitting down or deciding in advance when and how many treats you’ll have. Eventually the small goals lead up to big ones!
If you’ve lost weight and then gained it back in the past, remember that if you want different results, you have to do things differently. Cutting out favorite foods and slashing calories to lose weight quickly ultimately won’t lead to permanent weight loss because it's not maintainable. This time, focus on making changes that you CAN maintain – which makes weight loss maintainable, too.
The better you feel about yourself, the better your holiday season will be. While you may think you’ll enjoy it more if you eat with abandon, likely you’ll feel badly and guilty if you do – which significantly diminishes enjoyment. This year, work on staying in control. This will help you feel better about yourself and your eating, and will help you enjoy the holiday season all the more.
Sabotaging Thought: It’s okay to eat right now because I’m stressed and need a break.
Response: If I’m stressed, I deserve to relax and take a break. But since I also deserve to lose weight, have improved health, feel better about myself, etc. I need to find other ways to relax without turning to food. Eating in order to relax and losing weight are mutually exclusive goals. I can’t have both!
If you want to lose weight, it’s extremely likely you can’t eat treats every time you see them during the holiday season. It’s important to remember that just because it’s the holidays, and just because the treats are there, does NOT mean you’re entitled to eat them each time you have the opportunity to do so.
The most successful dieters and maintainers are NOT those who never make mistakes – rather they are those who make mistakes and then get right back on track. You do not have to be perfect in order to lose weight and keep it off. What you do need is to be willing to accept mistakes and recover from them right away.
If you have the thought, “It’s okay to eat this because this one time doesn’t matter,” remind yourself that EVERY time matters because you’re either strengthening your resistance muscle or your giving-in muscle. Every time you’re either getting closer to or farther away from your goals. This weekend, work on making every time count in your favor!
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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