Confessions of a Diet Coach

I’m Deborah Beck Busis, LCSW, the director of the Beck Diet Programs and the only diet coach that Judith Beck has trained. Most of my job entails working with dieters one-on-one, teaching them the program in the Beck Diet Solution and helping them change their thinking so they are able to make permanent changes in their behavior.

I use the skills in the Beck Diet Program for myself as well. After I graduated college I lost weight and more-or-less kept it off in the ensuing 12 years.

Debbie and Diana

On January 30th of this year, I had my daughter, Diana, and things changed.

You might think that since this is what I do for a living I’d have an easy time returning to my healthy eating habits – and that’s what I thought, too. But, boy was I wrong! I’ve found that eating healthfully while having a new baby seems, for me at least, about 100 times harder than eating healthfully while pregnant. I wasn’t prepared for just how difficult it would be to figure out healthy eating when you’re 1) caring for a baby and 2) more sleep deprived than I had thought possible. (Side note: I’m not making excuses here but I know some babies are sleeping through the night, or close to it, at 5 months. That is not the baby we have!). I never realized just how much free time I had until I had a baby! While my heart is more full than it has ever been, unfortunately my stomach is also full – with way more sugar and carbs than it needs.

All of this is to say that I’ve been struggling with getting my eating back to a place where I feel good about it. While I’d like to lose a little more weight, my main focus is really to feel in control of my eating and to go to bed at night knowing I have fed my body in a way that was healthy for me. I know how good that feels and I want it back!

In anticipation of writing this article, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve been doing wrong, what I’ve been doing right, and what small changes I can commit to right now. Once I start making reasonable changes and master them, I can add in more changes. I’m not going to do a major overhaul of my eating right away, even though I feel excited and motivated to make changes. Committing to too much initially will be too difficult to follow through on and can lead to discouragement and lower motivation.

Here‘s what I’ve been doing wrong:

  • Eating too many carbs and too much sugar (and sugar throughout the day, as opposed to just after dinner)
  • Eating too many snacks and not eating according to any type of set structure
  • Thinking something is okay to eat “because I’m nursing” (beyond a certain number of healthy calories)
  • Eating because I feel like it without assessing whether or not I’m actually hungry
  • Using food to wake me up when I feel tired

Here’s what I’m doing right:

  • I’m still eating fairly healthy meals.
  • I’m getting vegetables at many lunches and dinners, although not as many as I used to.
  • I’m trying to make healthy choices at home and when eating out.
  • I’m exercising (to the degree that I can).
  • I’m relying on healthy convenience foods (frozen foods, precut vegetables, etc.).
  • I’m not afraid to ask for help.

In terms of changes, here is what I’m committing to doing for the next few weeks:

  • Make sure I’m eating vegetables at least two to three times a day, at meals and/or snacks.
  • I can have dessert every day (as I did for years), but only once a day and not until after dinner.
  • Before I reach for a snack or a second portion ask myself, “Am I actually hungry?” If the answer is no, find something else to do.
  • Make a meal plan for the week so I’m not scrambling trying to figure out what to eat (which is hard to do when your brain is tired).

While I don’t think these changes will be easy, they feel doable.  There are more things I’d like to change about my eating (cut back on carbs, eat according to a schedule, etc.) but I’ll wait until I’ve mastered these things first.  I’m going to make a new Advantages List and some Response Cards and start reading them at least once a day to help me follow through.  I’m excited to get started!

6 replies
  1. Laurie Morris
    Laurie Morris says:

    While I’m not caring for an infant, the points you raise apply to many, if not most, of us trying to eat and feel better in our busy lives. I will follow your posts with interest. Thanks for being so forthcoming with your struggles. We can relate!

  2. Leslie Malaika Lewis
    Leslie Malaika Lewis says:

    Congratulations! You are both glowing! And thanks for this awesome analysis. I love hearing about how you’re putting the tools to work for yourself. I feel inspired to write a new advantages list and some new response cards as well!

  3. Steven McCrary
    Steven McCrary says:

    Hey Debbie,
    Very beautiful, thanks for the photo of Diana.

    I cannot imagine the challenge of a variable calorie demand from nursing. Wow! As you tell me, give yourself a lot of credit, this is tough. We only have 3 options, protein, fat, or carbs, somethings gotta’ give….just not the schedule. 🙂 I’m guessing, depending on her weight and food she eats, but she easily takes 500 calories per day from you, that is a lot! 😉

    Thanks for sharing your personal struggle.

    God’s speed.

    Enjoy it while you can!

  4. Carm Scott
    Carm Scott says:

    Congratulations!! What a beautiful photo of you and your daughter. Thank you for sharing your personal story with us. Thank you for reminding me that it’s helpful to write out a plan as you have done with this blog post. One of the elements I have an issue with is eating absent-mindedly without asking myself if I am hungry. I believe I have a harder time eating mindfully because I do not get enough restful sleep. I’m working on that! Thanks again for sharing, it’s nice to know that you can relate to what many of us are going through. Thank you for your blog posts and all the great tips, they are super helpful.

  5. Oolala
    Oolala says:

    Thank you for being so honest. The problems you wrote about show that even the diet coach can end up going back to all those behaviors you listed. I think it’s partly because our culture is so permissive in this area, reinforcing the idea that pregnant women should be eating as freely as they do. (This often continues and even escalates after the birth.) It’ seems to me that we should be promoting the idea that if there’s any time to be selective in our food choices, without being too restrictive in the amounts, it should be during pregnancy. This is what sets women up in the same ad libitum eating during childrearing. Then the burden for changing is on the individual. It’s so necessary to have such reasonable ways of thinking to combat the excessive eating influences. Thanks,


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