When people feel anxious about starting to diet, they may tell themselves that they’ll start tomorrow. This makes them feel less anxious because it means they have a plan – but far too often they never put that plan in place. Instead, make it your plan to start RIGHT NOW and guarantee that it will happen.
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.
This weekend, if you think, “It’s okay to have this extra cookie because there’s so many other desserts [at this party] that I’m not eating,” remind yourself, “My body doesn’t know or care what I don’t eat, it only knows what I DO eat.”
Just because you turn down food 10 times, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s okay to eat it the 11th time. Your body doesn’t know or care about those 10 times!
Are you ever hesitant to give yourself credit because you’re worried that if you think it might really be working, you’ll jinx yourself? If so, remind yourself, “Believing in myself can’t lead to bad luck. In fact, reminding myself of all the skills I’ve developed will help me get through the harder times.”
Sabotaging Thought: I’m too tired/stressed/busy to exercise today.
Response: Exercise will actually help with these things, not make them worse! If I’m tired, it will give me more energy, if I’m stressed, it will provide a productive outlet, if I’m busy, it will be a necessary break to focus on myself and my needs.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, whether or not you “feel” like doing something (e.g. resisting a craving, taking time to eat breakfast, grocery shopping for healthy food) just isn’t relevant. Ask yourself, “Which do I MORE not feel like: working on healthy eating, or remaining overweight?”
Action precedes motivation! Often dieters say, “Once the scale starts going down I’ll feel more motivated” – but the scale won’t start going down until you do what you need to do. Action first, motivation second.
If you go out to eat this weekend and think, “I need to get my money’s worth by eating everything on my plate,” remind yourself that cost of doing so (weight gain, not fitting into clothes, reinforcing bad habits, feeling overly full, getting off track, etc.) is MUCH greater than the cost of leaving food behind.
Remember, it’s a combination of all of the “little” things – like not eating a cookie from the cafeteria, making it a priority to eat sitting down, walking by the candy dish and not dipping in– that will make you lose weight. It’s all the daily things that lead up to BIG weight loss!
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.
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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