This week, we received the following letter from Carol, who explains her struggle with weight loss and her ultimate triumph:
From birth I seemed destined to have a weight problem. My mother and grandmother were obese and I was taught every tough situation in life was handled by eating massive quantities of food. I swore I would never be like them and embarked on a life of yo-yo dieting for 47 years.
First it was 10lbs, Oh my goodness my clothes don’t fit-diet time! But then it became 20lbs, then 30lbs. Over and over and over, up and down, up and down.
Why? Because I dieted, lost weight, and then went back to eating as I had before.
Finally I decided that this was it!!! I’d hit my all-time high and was facing losing 50 lbs!!! My closet had clothes from size 8 to size 14 in it; I was always ready for whatever weight I was! But I was busting out of the 14’s and knew I needed help. Buying a size 16 wardrobe was not an option.
I lost 20lbs and then joined a weight loss program, and achieved goal in December 1998. But I really hadn’t learned how to stay thin. Now I was on a 3-5lb roller coaster to make goal every month. This cycle continued for eight years. Never once did I weigh in more than 2 lbs over my goal weight (the cutoff at which point I had to pay a fee), but sometimes it felt torturous to get there.
My thinking hadn’t changed, just the weight at which I needed to kick back into being strictly on plan.
Six years ago I found the weight loss program’s online boards. It was depressing: maintainers regaining, battling etc. But there was mention of a book, The Beck Diet Solution.
Off I went to the bookstore and perused a copy. Oh my goodness, I felt like this author was talking to me!!! I felt excitement and wondered, “Is this the answer I’ve searched 56 years for?”
My problems were that I had all these sabotaging thoughts, didn’t know the difference between hunger and a desire to eat, didn’t know that hunger wasn’t an emergency (so I’d didn’t need to fill up on very low calorie foods). I didn’t know how to realistically deal with special occasions and stressful situations without resorting to feeding myself, or give myself credit when I did things right.
My body was a smaller size but my brain had never caught up! I didn’t know how to motivate myself effectively, or recognize my thinking mistakes and respond effectively to sabotaging thoughts.
I embraced The Beck Diet Solution program and did every single exercise, not moving on until I had mastered a lesson. Six months later I had learned to think like a thin person and lost another 15lbs as I went along.
Now I’ve gracefully been at a comfortable size for 5.5 years. I can go for months mentally tracking and planning, with the occasional sabotaging thought that I automatically respond to with no effort. I don’t even need to weigh myself during these periods, I know I haven’t gained more than a pound. Every month I go to weight loss program for my monthly weigh in and I’ve never been wrong. Up a pound or down a pound, that is it.
When I go through a tough time like illness, death in the family, holidays, extreme stress etc., I pull out all the Beck tools I constructed over the years (responses for just about every sabotaging thought I’ve ever had), start planning my meals in advance, tracking, and doing the Beck Daily Worksheets every day until the difficult time is over.
I am confident, liberated and know I will never regain weight because I have retrained my brain. It was hard work but the results have been amazing!
Thank you, Dr. Judy Beck for showing me the way and credit to me for putting in the hard work to apply Beck Diet Solution to my life. It has indeed truly changed my life!!!
Carol, thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Here are some important points we want to highlight:
Carol mentions that she did every exercise in the program and took the time to master each skill before moving on to the next one. These things are essential!! It’s critical to do the whole program, and it’s critical to master each skill before moving on. When dieters don’t take the time to master each skill, they only wind up getting get pretty good at them. Being ‘pretty good’ probably works for a while, but once something hard or stressful happens in dieters’ lives, if they haven’t mastered the skills, they fly right out the window.
Carol also notes that, on a daily basis, she moves along pretty smoothly. But, whenever she goes through a tougher time, she makes sure to pull out all of her materials and starts using every tool in her arsenal. She makes a deliberate effort to put more attention and work into her eating so that she is able to stay in control, even during harder times. Carol prepares herself for difficult times and therefore is able to get through them unscathed.
Lastly, Carol gives herself credit on a daily basis! She recognizes all of the changes she has made and how great they make her feel. She makes sure to point out to herself what she’s doing right, which gives her confidence to know that she can keep moving forward. Carol, we’re giving you a huge amount of credit, too!