I told Sue that it was great that she has become so much more aware of when she’s tempted to eat standing up. For example, this past week, unprompted by me, Sue made the decision not to eat at her kitchen counter. She has decided for this coming week to eat everything sitting down this week. I offered to have her email me if she does eat standing up, because this may help motivate her: “I don’t feel like sitting down but I’m going to because I don’t want to have to email Judy and tell her I ate standing up”. We decided the one exception will be this weekend when she’s making (healthy) pizza with a friend. But if she finds she’s not enjoying every bite, she’ll sit down. If she makes a mistake, she’ll tell herself, “Okay, I’m just learning this. I forgot this time; it’s okay.”
A dieter emailed me about difficulties she had “arranging her environment,” to keep tempting foods out of sight, out of mind, at home and in the workplace. She’s a waitress and wanted to know if I had any extra advice for someone who can’t help but be bombarded by the sight of delicious, fattening foods for several hours a day.
This is what I suggested:
It’s important to create a diet plan that includes a favorite food at least once a day. Probably it’s best to wait to eat this food until you’re home at night. Then throughout the day, when you’re tempted by other food, you can say to yourself, “It’s okay. I’m not going to eat THIS food, but I’ll eat my favorite food tonight.” Also, every time you resist eating food you hadn’t planned (at the restaurant or anywhere), give yourself lots of credit. (“It’s so great that I’m sticking to my plan.”) Other techniques, such as reading your list of reasons to lose weight a couple of times while at the restaurant, will probably help, too.
Sue is getting good at giving herself credit—saying “That’s good!” every time she reads her list of advantages of weight loss, every time she stops herself from eating while standing, every time she chooses healthy food to eat, every time she packs food to go (as a backup), and every time she withstands temptation. She especially gave herself credit for ordering a very healthy vegetarian meal which she said she would have “gagged on” a year ago, once for ordering the dish and once for successfully changing her tastes!
Sue did a great job of reading her list of reasons to lose weight twice a day, every day this week. Doing so really prepared her for the tempting French fries on a communal serving plate at lunch with her coworkers. When everyone but her temporarily left the table, Sue said to herself, “I want to have thinner legs!” and she covered the fries with a napkin, so she wouldn’t have to look at them. Had she not been reading the advantages of losing weight regularly, she may not have been motivated to forego the fries.
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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