Jen hadn’t had ice cream in close to a year because dairy just doesn’t work for her– it causes her stomach aches, inflammation, and swelling in her feet. Jen said that when she got sick, she just wanted to eat the food that was most comforting to her, and that was ice cream.
Lauren told me that she has felt very off track the last few days. She said that controlling her eating has just felt really hard, and she’s not sure it’s worth it. I discussed with Lauren something I know to be true for myself and virtually all my dieters: that the “Is it worth it?” question is just a product of the off-track mentality.
This week, I had a session with my client, Grace. Grace told me that over the past few weeks she has been struggling to stay on track, particularly in the evenings. I asked Grace what sabotaging thoughts she was having in the evenings, and it was usually something like, “You’ve been working so much and had a hard day, you deserve this.”
Today I had a session with my client, Jane. I hadn’t had a session with Jane in a few months. She told me she has been feeling somewhat off track over the last few weeks. She also told me that her portions have gotten bigger again and she’s snacking at random times throughout the day, among other difficulties.
My client, Jen, recently gave up all sugar and desserts for a month leading up to her birthday because she wanted to prove to herself that she could do it. She knew that she wouldn’t give them up forever, but she wanted a bit of a reset. I worked with Jen to create a clear dessert plan, a helpful Response Card, and a compelling activity to help her achieve her goals.
Jason started to get off track and stopped counting calories for the rest of the day. This is very common. Often when dieters get off track, they don’t want to face how many calories they’re eating so they tell themselves, “I’m already over for the day. I’ll just stop counting and start again tomorrow.”
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.
Especially during stressful times, unexpected food is an inevitable obstacle. These guidelines will provide structure and advice for making smart eating decisions for any unexpected food in your house.
I have found that many dieters I work with initially have a “witching hour:” a period of an hour or two each day where cravings are strong and staying on track feels much harder. For most dieters, this is either the period right before dinner (around 4 PM – 6 PM) or in the hours after dinner but before bed (8 PM -10 PM). Dieters often think that they just can’t get through it without eating, but this is only because they don’t have skills that they need.
When I saw that what we were doing just wasn’t working, I knew we had to try a different strategy. As usual, I asked Katie to describe some of the situations from the past week in which she went off track. She told me that she ate a roll at dinner when she didn’t plan to and she had unplanned desserts in the evening.
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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