Happy Halloween! Remember: I can eat all the Halloween candy I want OR I can be thinner, healthier, more confident, etc. I can’t have it both ways. Take a look at your goals and make a decision for how you will handle the influx of treats at this time.
Is it worth it to jeopardize your weight loss and confidence level to overeat this weekend, especially since you’ll likely regret it later? You can enjoy Halloween AND all the benefits of losing weight by maintaining control of your eating. GUARANTEED you will be so glad you did.
Halloween is just around the corner. We advise our dieters to wait until the last minute to buy candy so they don’t have to put forth the effort to resist it every day unnecessarily and also to buy candy that they don’t particularly like. Anything you can do to reduce the struggle is worth it!
Sabotaging Thought: I don’t have time to do all my dieting tasks.
Response: It doesn’t take that much time to actually do everything. What does take time is how long I spend struggling beforehand over whether or not I’m going to do it. I need to make the decision to definitively do these things and the time I spend will be reduced significantly.
Jamie came in to see me this week and discussed a situation that had happened the day before. Jamie told me that she woke up, had her normal breakfast, and then went to work. At 10:00am she had her usual snack to tide her over until her 12:30 lunch break. However, at about 10:30 she started to feel very hungry. Because Jamie and I have spent time in the past helping her learn to differentiate between hunger and non-hunger, she could tell that it was hunger she was experiencing, not thirst, a craving, or just a desire to eat. Looking ahead, Jamie knew he lunch was still a formidable two hours away and she was sitting at her desk with a hungry stomach.
When Jamie first came to see me she had a fear of hunger that was leading her to load up at meals and carry snacks with her just in case hunger should choose to strike. This is why I had had Jamie do a hunger experiment (which is to skip lunch one day and eat nothing between breakfast and dinner) twice over the course of a month to prove to herself that hunger comes and goes and that at its worst, hunger pains rate as only mildly painful. Before Jamie did this experiment she wrote out a pain chart and assigned numbers, 1 through 10, to her most painful experiences. For Jamie, 1 was a mild headache, 5 was a bad toothache, and 10 was the time she broke her leg and needed surgery. When Jamie did the hunger experiment, not only did she find that the hunger came and went and she forgot about it when she got distracted, but when she was feeling hunger pangs they only rated, at their highest, at about a 2 or 2.5. Through the hunger experiment Jamie definitively learned that hunger will not kill her and that if she gets busy she won’t even feel it most of the time.
However, Jamie had done these hunger experiments a few months ago and by the time her hunger before lunch rolled around this week, Jamie had begun to forget what she had previously proved to herself. Jamie told me that she started to have thoughts like, “Oh no, I’m hungry and lunch isn’t for another two hours. This is really bad and I’m going to get so hungry and be too distracted to get any work done. I’ll never make it until lunch time.” Because of these sabotaging thoughts, Jamie seriously considered having another snack and began to look for one until she realized that didn’t have any other food packed and so she couldn’t. Jamie told me that was the best thing that could have happened to her because she was forced to wait out her hunger and not put a band aid on it, like she would have done in the past. When Jamie accepted that she wasn’t going to be able to have a snack despite her desire to have one, she was able to turn her attention back to work and start tackling a project that had been hanging over her head.
Like she experienced in the past, before Jamie knew it an hour had passed and she realized she had barely been feeling much, if any, hunger during that time. Jamie did experience some hunger pangs again when she took a breather, was no longer distracted, and turned her attention to thoughts of food, but by that point she was easily able to tell herself, “Lunch is only an hour away. I can definitely wait an hour to eat and I know I’ll be so happy I did. I just have to get myself involved in work again and the hunger will go away like it always does.”
In session, Jamie and I discussed her triumph and what she has learned from it. Jamie reported that she was glad she was forced to undergo another smaller hunger experiment because it helped remind her of things she already knew but had forgotten somewhat. Jamie and I discussed the fact that she might continue to be a little bit vulnerable to fearing hunger, but whenever she needed to she could always do another hunger experiment and prove to herself, over and over again, that hunger is not an emergency and she can definitely wait it out.
Often when dieters have strong ideas like, “I can’t disappoint others,” or “my needs must always come last,” these are traps of their own making. Since dieters are the ones forcing these mandates on themselves, they also then have the power to change their thinking and free themselves.
All dieters and maintainers go through periods when dieting feels more difficult. The good news: this is completely normal and happens to EVERYONE. Keep doing what you’re doing and dieting WILL get easier again.
If you make an eating mistake this weekend, don’t wait to get back on track – get back on track that exact MINUTE. You’ll be glad you did ten minutes later, and you’ll be SO glad you did Monday morning when you can start the week off feeling good.
Many dieters have a strong fear of hunger and think that if they get hungry, it will get worse and worse until something bad happens. Doctors permitting, we have dieters skip lunch one day so they can see that hunger actually comes and goes and, compared to the worst pain they’ve ever felt, hunger pangs only rate as mildly uncomfortable.
We received the following letter a few weeks ago from Kari, a woman who read and followed The Beck Diet Solution. With Kari’s permission we are posting her story because we have found it incredibly inspirational and think others will, too. Kari’s story reminds us that, while dieting can be difficult, the payoff of doing so is amazing and absolutely, 100% worth the effort. Like many dieters, Kari has found that learning to take control of her eating has also enabled her to take control in other areas of her life, too. Congratulations on all your hard work, Kari!
(P.S. We’d love to hear your stories, too!)
October 5, 2011
Dear Dr. Beck,
I knew I had experienced transformation, but it didn’t really hit me how dramatic the change was until I saw these two pictures next to each other on my computer!
Thank you for writing your books and helping me to give myself the 40th birthday present that I really wanted. When I turned 39 on Oct. 23, 2010, I said that by the time I turned 40 I wanted to be a healthy weight. Well, I’m about to turn 40 and I am now in the “normal” weight range, thanks to using the skills I learned in your books.
I am a musician and losing weight has made performing so much easier and a lot more fun. I have so much more confidence because I feel great. But also, and perhaps more importantly, I’ve learned how to help myself stay on track with not just dieting, but practicing music, budgeting money, and other areas that I would like to improve.
The Beck Diet Solution is an incredible tool, and I am so glad that I had the good fortune to discover it! No other diet I tried could take me all the way to goal – yours was the only plan that covered every single hardship that I might face and taught me how to plan for those times. Your diet plan was the only one that taught me how to tailor the program to my own circumstances – from planning the food I liked to creating my own responses to my specific sabotaging thoughts and behaviors. Your plan was the only one who dealt with the reality of food pushers, traveling and getting off track. I liked learning how to count calories because it gave me the knowledge I needed to know to deal with meal planning, restaurants and parties. If I had times when I cheated, I knew how to analyze the situation and plan to avoid that pitfall again. The Beck Diet Solution is a sensible, comprehensive approach that really works!
I have been on the plan for a little over a year now, and I just recently made new “advantages” cards. When I looked back at the previous year and compared it to my current cards, I could see how much I’ve matured as a person because of following your plan. I really feel that your approach helped me to become more conscious of myself in so many areas of my life – not just how I look or feel physically, but how I greet life in general now on an emotional level. I now notice distorted or sabotaging thoughts about other things, not just food, and I can talk back to those as well.
Anyway, I can’t thank you enough. You’ve changed my life and I know there are positive ripple effects to the people around me. I hope everyone who has a desire to lose weight will find your books and experience the amazing transformation that I have.
Thank you again!
The Beck Institute Weight Management 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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