Dieters Helping Dieters

During our diet group this week, we wanted to have our dieters benefit from each others’ wisdom.  Brenda began by talking about a sticky situation she found herself in over Mother’s Day.  That morning she was extremely busy so she skipped breakfast, and by the time she got to her planned Mother’s Day brunch, she was starving.  Brenda started out well, by eating the chicken and salad she had planned, but then when she was offered a hamburger, she ended up eating it – while standing up. 

Maria, our champion of “putting yourself first” (discussed on Day 8 of The Beck Diet Solution), gave Brenda the following advice:  she started by reminding Brenda how crucial it is to eat breakfast 365 days a year. Even when she’s busy or stressed, Maria always makes time to eat breakfast because she knows that skipping it will only set herself up to overeat later in the day (Day 2). 

Maria also talked about how good she has gotten at turning down food that other people offer her.  Maria, herself, went to several of her family members’ houses this Mother’s Day, and was offered food at each one.  Because she had already eaten breakfast and knew what she was going to eat for lunch, Maria firmly turned down all offers of food and instead drank only coffee – and she felt great about doing so.  She didn’t let herself give into the sabotaging thought, “It’s ok to eat this because it’s a celebration.”  Maria reminded Brenda of how good and empowering it feels when you are strong and stick to your diet.

Lastly, Maria reminded Brenda that you can’t let yourself slip up on the basics, like eating everything slowly, while sitting down, and noticing every bite (Day 5).  Chances are if Brenda had forced herself to sit down and face the hamburger, she might have been able to really notice what she was doing and talk herself out of eating unplanned food. 

Breakfast in Bed: Maria

bacon-eggs-pic4.jpgMaria had an interesting experience on Valentine’s Day: her young daughter woke her up by bringing her breakfast in bed.  In the past she would have immediately eaten everything her daughter brought both because she was pleased by her daughter’s efforts and because she viewed it as a celebration.  However, Maria is now so much more conscious of every bite that she takes (discussed on Day 3 of The Beck Diet Solution) that she didn’t immediately reach for the food. This situation presented an interesting problem for Maria: the breakfast of toast, bacon, and scrambled eggs her daughter brought her was certainly much more caloric than the light breakfast she had planned.  On the other hand, her daughter had gone through a lot of trouble to prepare it for her, and Maria didn’t want to discourage her. 

In general, we teach our dieters to learn to assertively say no to food pushers (Day 29), who usually come in the form of coworkers or family members urging treats.  In most cases, the cost of not eating the food (potentially minor disappointment to the food pusher) is far outweighed by the cost of eating it (dieters feel weak and controlled; they go off their plan; they may gain weight). 

Maria, who no longer has trouble resisting adults who urge food on her, realized that this truly was a special case.  So she employed the best strategy that she could – she mentally replanned her food for the day to include more calories for breakfast and fewer for lunch.  She then ate about half of what her daughter had prepared for her, which was enough to properly show her daughter her gratitude.  Maria followed her new plan for the rest of the day and as a result her higher calorie breakfast in bed did not affect her weight at all.

Get Back on Track: Roxanne

Our dieters are doing well despite all of the added pressures of the holiday season.  This week, almost everyone lost weight.  In our group, we discussed how they had eaten differently during previous Christmases. One dieter, Roxanne, summed up the group’s general sentiment best, saying she used to: “Eat until I bust!”

Roxanne, 47, has been struggling with dieting since the age of 25.  At one point, she lost 25 pounds and kept it off for about 2 years. Historically Roxanne’s biggest problem has been giving into cravings.  When she felt a strong urge to eat something, she usually did, telling herself “It’s ok to eat this because… I really want it; I’ll eat it eventually; I’ll have just a little; this one time won’t matter.”  Overcoming cravings and sticking to her food plans (a skill learned on Day 13 of The Beck Diet Solution) has helped Roxanne lose a total of 33 ½ pounds so far!

chicksalad.gifRoxanne is also becoming deft at making smart food choices.  She knew that last week she would be shopping and eating out a lot more than usual and had to be extra vigilant about not taking in too many calories (Day 30).  She made a rule for herself for this holiday season:  to order a salad whenever she ate lunch out. This rule eliminated a struggle about what she would and wouldn’t allow herself to eat. She stuck fast to this rule. One day, without thinking about it, she ordered breaded, fried chicken on her salad instead of grilled chicken.  But she didn’t criticize herself. She didn’t decide that she had blown her diet and therefore should eat out of control for the rest of the day.  Instead, she was able to get back on track immediately (Day 20).  She viewed the fried chicken as a momentary slip up and continued to eat normally for the rest of day, knowing that one minor mistake would not affect her weight at the end of the week.

Despite the holiday season, Roxanne lost 2 pounds this week.

Holiday Eating: Maria

Our Cognitive Therapy weight loss group has now been meeting for 6 months.  In spite of the fact that our dieters are faced with an overabundance of holiday goodies everywhere they turn, their motivation stays high and almost everyone lost weight this week.

At our meeting yesterday we discussed the possible eating-related perils and pitfalls that can arise during holiday time, and how to deal with them, especially how to cook and bake without nibbling. This had been a problem for many of the women in the past, including Maria.

Maria is a 38 year-old mother of two.  She started dieting at age 20 and since then has tried at least five different diets on more than ten different occasions.  In the past, she’s lost as much as 60 pounds. It took her about eight months to lose this much weight but she started gaining it back within only three months. Since she joined our group, Maria has lost 38 pounds.

Maria had a big triumph this week.  Once again she made a cheese tray to bring to a function at her daughter’s school.  Last time she made one (about a month ago), she had the sabotaging thought: “It won’t matter if I just shave off a few pieces while I’m cutting the cheese.” This sabotaging thought led her to eat lots off unplanned pieces. Keeping that experience in mind (a skill learned on Day 13 of The Beck Diet Solution), and remembering how bad she felt last time for giving into her craving, Maria prepared herself in advance with the following thought: “The cheese would taste good but if I eat it, I’ll feel bad.” Therefore, she held strong and didn’t eat even a single piece while she was preparing the tray.  She also did some problem-solving. To eliminate some of the temptation, Maria bought already cut up cheese so she wouldn’t be tempted by cutting it herself.  A few days later, Maria is still thinking about her triumph with the cheese tray and giving herself credit (Day 4).