Switching Diets: Brenda

drink6.jpgIn two weeks, Brenda is going on a week-long vacation to Jamaica, which she is very excited about.  During the group this week, though, Brenda also voiced concerns about sticking to her diet while on vacation and she knows she’d better prepare in advance (Day 32 of The Beck Diet Solution). Brenda has been following a carb-counting diet, but she knows that when she goes to Jamaica she will want to sample the delicious local fruit and indulge in some tropical mixed drinks – all of which will pack in the carbohydrates. 

We discussed with Brenda the fact that this is the reason we have our dieters initially pick two diets, so they can always have one on the backburner in case their primary diet isn’t working out (Day 2).  The second diet Brenda had selected was a calorie-counting diet.  She realized that this would be perfect for her trip, and that she doesn’t need to abandon her diet while on vacation, she just needs to be flexible and follow a diet that is more practical for her circumstances.

Counting calories while on vacation will enable Brenda to work reasonable amounts of local foods that her normal diet wouldn’t allow, and it will enable her to continue her weight-loss efforts even while traveling.   Because she has gotten used to counting carbs, Brenda knows that she will have to bring a calorie-counting book with her to help plan her meals, but she knows that not gaining weight and feeling in control will make it well worth the effort.  With her new diet in tow, Brenda is confident she will be able to fully enjoy her vacation without any repercussions on the scale. 

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. 

Philadelphia Daily News: Maria

We are so excited that one of our wonderful dieters, Maria, was featured today in an article in the Philadelphia Daily News.  Maria, who has currently lost 57 pounds, credits her success to true changes in her thinking and behavior.  She now consistently does so many things that she never used to do, such as:

1. She always makes sure that she has the right foods in the house that she needs to stay on her diet.

2. She doesn’t worry about spending a little extra on the food she needs, because she knows it’s worth it to be thinner. 3. She always eats slowly while sitting down, and tries to enjoy every bite.

4. She doesn’t let her husband or children distract her from getting her exercise done.

5. She reads her Advantages List before going into a situation she knows could be difficult.

6. When going to a party or celebration, she always plans ahead what food she will eat, or how to get the food she will want to eat.

7. She checks restaurant menus online before going out to eat and decides ahead of time, so she doesn’t get tempted by other things on the menu.

8. She understands that she is making lifestyle changes. She recognizes that she isn’t on a temporary diet.

9. She doesn’t make exceptions in her eating, such as eating more because it’s a special occasion.

10. She doesn’t have ‘good’ foods and ‘bad’ foods, because she knows she can work anything into her diet, as long as she plans it.

11. She consistently gives herself credit for all of her positive diet and exercise-related behaviors, so that she continues to build her confidence and sense of control.

We are so proud of Maria and look forward to following her continued success!

Lifestyle Changes: Roxanne

buffet22.jpgRoxanne, who was now reached maintenance, recognizes that she needs to use the skills she learned in The Beck Diet Solution for life. At our meeting yesterday, she told us about a women’s retreat she attended over the weekend in which all meals were served buffet-style.  Unlike some buffets in which the food isn’t very good and quantity is valued over quality, Roxanne reported that this retreat is known for having excellent meals.  So how did she tackle this situation?

Roxanne made it much easier by establishing certain rules for herself:

 1) She started out each meal with a salad regardless of whatever higher-calorie appetizers her companions were eating

 2) She did a complete survey of the buffet before deciding what to eat for her main course, chose whichever three things she wanted, and took one plate of food – no seconds.

3) She decided ahead of time that she would allow herself one desert one night, and the rest of the time would stick to fruit.

Following these rules made eating at the retreat a relaxing and enjoyable experience for Roxanne.  She said that she didn’t struggle at all over the things she didn’t eat, and instead felt happy and in control, knowing that she would rather be thinner than eat out of hand (Day 33).  Roxanne says that in the past, she undoubtedly would have gone for seconds at every meal and eaten desert every night just because it was there, even if it wasn’t something she particularly enjoyed.  Because Roxanne has truly made these lifelong changes, her weight is remaining stable and she is confident that it will continue to do so. 

Celebratory Splurges?

On our post about Lori’s Busy Week, one reader asked whether she would be able to celebrate special occasions like birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries with food. Here was Judith Beck’s response, advice which you’ll find in different parts of The Beck Diet Solution.

I’m so glad you asked. What I suggest is that you plan in advance how you’re going to modify your diet on occasions like your birthday. It IS important to celebrate. However, if you want to be able to keep off whatever weight you lose, you do have to accept the fact that you just can’t eat whatever you want, in any quantity you want, without planning it in advance, even if it is a special day. So perhaps you’ll want to plan to eat an extra 500 (or even more) calories that day, knowing that you may not lose as much weight that week. But that’s fine! I don’t suggest that people overly skimp on food the day before or the day after, though, because doing so can trigger overeating.

You might also want to think right now about what other days fall into the special occasion category of eating more than usual. One trap people fall into is their idea, “It’s okay to always eat more than usual if it’s a special day.” Unfortunately, they put lots and lots of days in that category, not only their birthdays and anniversaries, but birthdays and anniversaries of family members and friends, parties, eating at other people’s houses, picnics, showers, family reunions, receptions, all holidays, and receptions.

So, absolutely, splurge on your birthday but plan to do so in advance. Then eat your birthday cake guilt-free! I know it’s hard to accept the fact that you need to change your eating, and not only while you’re actively losing weight. That you just can’t forget about your diet altogether on special days. That you still need to plan and restrict yourself. But I’m just being honest. And the payoff is that you’ll be able to enjoy the advantages of weight loss EVERY DAY: looking better, feeling better, being more self-confident, being healthier, having more energy, feeling better about yourself, etc., etc., etc.

Priorities: Maria

One skill that Maria has gotten very good at is putting herself first – making sure that she continually has the time and energy for diet and exercise (discussed on Day 8 of The Beck Diet Solution).  For Maria this particularly means making sure she keeps exercise a priority.  In the past, when her life got busy, exercise was always the first thing to fall off her plate. 

Maria exercises on a machine at home. When her kids interrupted her exercise in the past, she would always drop what she was doing and tend to them.  Now she tells them to wait until she’s done and then she helps them.  After dinner, if she’s already exercised, Maria may watch television with her husband. But if she hasn’t exercised yet, she nicely refuses to join him until she has finished.  Now she feels entitled to get her activities done first. 

Building this sense of entitlement is crucial to lasting weight loss because life always gets busy and things always come up.  If dieters don’t learn to put themselves first and ensure that they continually make diet and exercise a high priority, other factors will always get in the way of their best efforts.  Maria now knows that she is entitled to exercise because she deserves to be thinner and feel good about herself, and she is a good example for all of us.