If you’re at a restaurant trying to decide between a healthy option and an unhealthy option, remind yourself that either way, once the meal is over, you’ll feel full. If you eat something healthy, you’ll feel full and happy, but if you eat something unhealthy, you’ll feel full and mad at yourself. Either way you’ll be full, but how do you to feel in addition to that?
Sabotaging Thought: I’m going to eat whatever I feel like right now because I don’t want to think about dieting.
Response: Actually, the only thing I’ll be doing is postponing when I’ll think about dieting because if I go off track now, guaranteed I’ll spend a lot of time thinking and feeling bad about it later. So either I think about it now, stay on track, and feel great, or I get off track, think about it later, and feel badly. Either way I’ll think about it.
Eliminate the words, “I’ve blown it for the day,” from your vocabulary. Telling yourself that just gives you an excuse to continue overeating. Instead of thinking, “I’ve blown it,” remind yourself that you made a MISTAKE, but you’ll recover right away and have a great rest of the day.
If you are feeling hopeless about healthy eating and weight loss, it may mean that you’re focusing too much on where you want to be and not enough on the progress you’ve already made. Ask yourself, “Have I lost any weight?” “Are any of my eating habits better than they were?” “Have I made any positive changes?” If the answer is yes, it means you’re on your way!
Weekends are often harder because we have unstructured time, which way too easily leads to unstructured eating. Even if you don’t plan the rest of your day, make sure you keep on a consist eating schedule this weekend. Doing so will enable you to stay on top of and in control of your eating, and ultimately will make you feel GOOD!
On track eating days aren’t perfect days! In order to lose weight and keep it off, you don’t need to be perfect because nobody is perfect. What you do need is to accept your mistakes, not beat yourself up, and get right back on track.
Sabotaging Thought: I’m not happy with what I’m eating today so I’m going to stop recording/counting it.
Response: It’s critical for me to keep counting what I eat, even when I’m not happy with it. If I allow myself to stop recording my eating, then I’ll be sending myself the message that I won’t make myself take accountability for my eating and it makes it much more likely I’ll overeat the next time I’m tempted to. Continuing to write down my eating today will prove to myself that I face what I’m doing no matter what, and will make it much more likely I’ll stay on track the next time.
When you’re counting calories, make sure you don’t get bogged down in trying to be 100% accurate, especially when you’re eating something (like at a restaurant) that’s impossible to be sure of all the ingredients. If you get too perfectionistic, you’ll likely get frustrated and ultimately give up, telling yourself, “Since I can’t know what’s in it, I can’t count it.” Spend no more than 5 minutes and choose a calorie count that seems reasonable. That’s the best you can do!
Remember, when you say “no” to eating something, you’re also saying “yes” to even better things: losing weight, better health, increased self-confidence, feeling proud of yourself, and more.
This weekend, if you think, “It’s not fair I can’t eat whatever I want (and other people can),” remind yourself, “Either way it’s unfair. Either I face unfairness by limiting my eating, or I face all the unfairnesses and hardships that come with being overweight. Besides, it’s a common misconception that other people can eat whatever they want and it’s highly likely that they’re limiting themselves, too.”
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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