If you tend to overeat at meals, worrying that you’ll get too hungry if you don’t, remember – there is ALWAYS another meal or snack coming. There will always be more food!
Sabotaging Thought: It’s okay to eat this because I’m having a bad day.
Response: It’s not okay to eat extra because although my mind knows I’m having a bad day, my body doesn’t. Besides, if I overeat, I’ll feel badly and guilty, which will make me even more unhappy. If I stay on track with my eating it’s highly likely my day will start to feel better, not worse.
If you think, “I’ve been working on these dieting skills for a while now and they still don’t really feel like habits. Maybe I should give up,” remind yourself, “I’m better at these skills than I was 2 months ago, and in 2 more months I’ll be even better than I am right now. There’s no reason to give because, even though it may seem slow, I AM moving forward and making progress.”
No matter how the weekend went, Monday is always an opportunity for a fresh start. Starting RIGHT NOW, give yourself credit for every positive thing you do towards meeting your weight loss goals. It will help you feel better, raise your confidence, and give you motivation to keep going.
It can definitely be harder to stay on track on weekends, often because dieters have different (looser) rules for themselves, but unfortunately weight loss doesn’t happen when dieters undo their hard work every weekend. This weekend, when you’re contemplating eating something, ask yourself: Would I eat this during the week? If the answer is no, then perhaps you should think twice about eating it.
One dieter told us that in the afternoons she gets off track because keeps hearing a voice in her head telling that all these different types of sweet foods sound good and she should eat them. It turns out that she didn’t have a strong plan to combat that sabotaging voice so no wonder she kept giving in. We helped her make Response Cards for every thought she might have and came up with the plan of reading them once an hour every hour during the hard time. She decided she would also call her mom, take a walk, or do a crossword puzzle if she needed additional distraction. These voices can be overcome, but not without a plan!
Sabotage: It’s okay to have this extra food, it’s not that much compared to what I could be eating.
Response: My body doesn’t know or care how much I’m NOT eating, it only knows how much I do eat, so just because I turned down holiday treats 4 times doesn’t necessarily mean it’s okay to give in the 5th time. If I take in more calories than I had planned, I’ll gain weight.
If you always crave something sweet after you eat, try this: First make a response card that reminds you why it’s worth it to you to overcome this craving. Then, after you eat, set a timer for 10 minutes, with the knowledge that you’re not going to eat anything sweet until the timer goes off. During those 10 minutes, read your Response Card and engage in a preplanned distracting activity. Chances are VERY high that by the time the timer goes off, the craving will have either gone way down in intensity or passed entirely.
Getting off track with dieting can be very discouraging, but it doesn’t need to be. If you were learning to play the piano and hit a wrong key, you would never take that as a sign to give up completely. Mistakes happen in ALL areas of life but keep practicing and you’ll continue improving.
One of our dieters recently told us that she was going to a happy hour with friends over the weekend and she felt awkward not having an alcoholic drink when everybody else would be drinking (even though she doesn’t really like alcohol). We reminded her that if she was dangerously allergic to alcohol, or a recovering alcoholic, she would never dream of having a drink, regardless of how she might feel. Trying to lose weight and be healthier and just as legitimate reasons to abstain.
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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