Eating half of your (presumably much too big) meal at a restaurant and bringing the other half home is a win/win/win situation: you get to enjoy the meal twice, you pay only once for two meals, AND you get to continue working on healthy eating and healthy habits!
Sabotaging Thought: Since I didn't lose weight this week, I must be doing something wrong. This isn't working.
Response: Even if I was perfect on my diet, it’s not a guarantee that the scale will go down on any given week. It’s 100% normal for the scale to stay the same or even go up some weeks. I need to keep doing what I’m doing, and the scale WILL go down again.
Even without getting to weight you were at in college or the weight of your thinnest friend, you can still be happy with you are and experience major benefits of weight loss (improved self-confidence, better health, fewer aches and pains, a stable wardrobe, etc.). Remember – it’s so much more than just the number on the scale.
It’s important to start working on enriching your life NOW, even if you’re not yet where you want to be in terms of weight loss. The more pleasurable things you have going on, the less and less you’ll turn to food to fulfill that role.
Staying in control of your eating during the weekend is just as important as during the work week. Getting off track every weekend is a recipe for frustration – it will cause you to lose and then gain the same few pounds over and over again. It’s worth it to stay in control if it means seeing real progress!
Eating every bite of food sitting down can be a relatively painless way of eliminating many calories from your diet because you probably don’t even notice much of what you eat standing up and it likely doesn’t factor into your overall level of satiety.
Have you made a resolution to eat more healthfully and/or lose weight this year? Have you started to lose motivation on that resolution? Many, many dieters make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and keep it off. And very likely, many of these dieters have made this same resolution in previous years and ultimately haven’t been successful. One of the biggest stumbling blocks that dieters face is what happens once they get off track. One of the most common sabotaging thoughts that we hear from dieters is, “I’ve made a mistake. I’ve really blown it for the day so I might as well keep eating whatever I want and get back on track tomorrow.” Of course the danger with this is that tomorrow may never come, or it may end up being next week, month, or even year. And if getting back on track takes that long, likely by the time the dieter has been able to do so, she’s already gained back any weight she was able to lose before she got off track.
We always remind dieters that the most successful dieters and maintainers are not those who never make mistakes (because we’re all human and we all make mistakes). Rather, they are those who make mistakes and immediately get right back on track so the mistake is very minor. In order for dieters to be successful, and in order for this year to finally be the year they follow through with their weight loss resolutions, dieters need to learn to recover right away from mistakes. Otherwise, one mistake will continue to be their undoing, as opposed to a very normal and minor part of their day.
Here’s one technique we use: We first remind dieters that in almost no other area of life do we think that making one mistake is a valid reason to continue making mistakes. Dieters tend to believe the sabotaging thought that, “since I’ve made one dieting mistake, I’ve blown it for the day and I might as well keep making mistakes and get back on track tomorrow.” We give them the following analogies: If you were walking down a flight of stairs and stumbled down a few, would you think, “Well, I’ve really blown it now!” and then throw yourself down the rest? No, you’d get up right where you were and walk down the rest. If you were washing your fine china and dropped a plate, would you think, “I’ve really blown it now!” and throw the rest of your plates on the floor? No, you’d continue washing and treat the rest of your dishes more carefully. If you were driving on the highway and missed your exit, would you think, “Well, that’s it, it’s over, I’ve blown it!” and continue to drive five more hours in the wrong direction? No, you’d get off at the very next exit and turn yourself around. We help dieters see that once they make one eating mistake, continuing to make more is like throwing yourself down the rest of the steps, smashing the rest of your plates, and driving further in the wrong direction. It makes no sense!
We also remind dieters that, if they’re off track, any point along the way they get themselves back on track puts them in a better position. It’s not as if your body stops adding up calories for the day and once you take in certain amount of extra calories, you might as well keep taking in more because your body won’t process them. Of course, that’s not how it works. Your body will continue to process every additional bite that you take, so getting back on track after 500 extra calories is much better than getting back on track after 800 calories, 1,000 calories, 2,000 calories or more.
Additionally, we teach dieters to, once they’ve made a mistake, immediately get problem-solving oriented and not beat themselves up. If a dieter makes a mistake and says to himself, “This is so terrible! I’m such a weak person, I can’t believe I let this happened,” the only thing it will do is demoralize him further and make it harder for him to get back on track. We help dieters view every mistake as an important learning experience and remind them that we learn just as much from challenges as we do from successes. When dieters make mistakes, we teach them to ask themselves three important questions: What happened? What were the sabotaging thoughts I had that I wasn’t able to respond to? What can I do differently the next time? In this way, dieters are actually able to learn from mistakes and decrease the likelihood they’ll make the same ones again.
Once dieters are able to accept that mistakes are a part of life and learn to recover from them right away, they’re able to lose weight and keep it off because they don’t constantly undo all their hard work.
Sabotaging Thought: Healthy eating/losing weight should already be easy for me so I don’t deserve credit for it.
Response: No, this shouldn’t already be easy. If it were easy, nobody would be overweight. It were easy, no one who ever lose weight on a diet would gain it back. I need to give myself credit EVERY step of the way, and in doing so, I'll build my confidence and then dieting will become easier.
If you’re working on healthy eating and losing weight, it probably means you also have to work on putting your own needs first (at least some of the time) and feeling entitled to ask for what you need. Remember – you can’t be good to anyone else if you’re not first good to yourself.
It's important to remember that a major benefit of healthy eating and weight loss is SIGNIFICANTLY improved quality of life. Our dieters find that once they gain control over their eating, they feel so much better (mentally and physically) in ways they hadn’t even imagined.
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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