Friday Weekend Warm-up: This weekend, instead of thinking about what you can’t have when you’re working on eating healthfully, focus on what you can – delicious and healthy food, a reasonable amount of treats, good health, better self-confidence, a stable wardrobe, a more peaceful relationship with food, great feelings, etc.
Think Thin Thursday Tip: If you felt sick, took your temperature, and saw you had a fever, you would never think, “I can’t believe I let my temperature get this high! I’m such a weak person.” The number on the scale is the same – it’s just INFORMATION about whether what you’re doing is working. It says nothing about who you are as a person.
Wednesday Sabotage: It’s okay to eat this because it’s healthy.
Response: I can gain weight eating all healthy foods, too. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it doesn’t have calories. Eating healthy foods is a great thing to strive for, but I have to make sure that whatever I eat (healthy or not) fits in with my overall day.
Tuesday Reality Check: There is a difference between what your mind finds significant and what your body finds significant. Although your mind may find it significant that everyone around you is eating something (so it feels okay to eat extra, too), or that it’s a special occasion, or that you’re feeling upset, your body doesn’t know or care. It processes all calories the same.
Monday Motivation: Remember, you don’t grow on your easiest days; you grow on your hardest days. Even if you face challenges this week, they are opportunities to learn and develop. You can do this!
This week I had a session with my client, Sarah. Like many dieters, Sarah has been having a lot of trouble limiting her dessert portion in the evenings. This isn’t happening all the time. Some days it doesn’t feel very hard – but most of the time it does. I asked Sarah if there were any commonalities among the days she has an easier time (or among the days it feels harder), and one thing she realized is that on days when she’s taken the time to have coffee with a friend, or do fun errands, or in some way build in some pleasure, it feels easier to contain dessert. On days when she hasn’t given herself a break (which happens much of the time), she struggles in the evening. On those days, right before dinner, Sarah often has the thought, “Finally it’s time for dinner and then dessert! I’ve been depriving myself all day, and now it’s finally time.”
When Sarah has the thought, “I’ve been depriving myself all day,” it feels extra hard to limit dessert because she feels entitled to make up for a perceived deprivation. Sarah and I discussed the fact that by limiting herself to one reasonable portion of dessert in the evening, she’s not depriving her body of either calories or nutrients that it needs. Instead, she may be depriving her brain of pleasure it needs – if dessert is her only source of pleasure.
I discussed with Sarah that when in the evening her brain is saying, “Finally, it’s time for dessert; I’ve been depriving myself all day,” what it’s really saying is, “Finally it’s time for some pleasure. I’ve been depriving myself of pleasure all day.” Sarah and I decided that one of her goals this week was to build more pleasure into her daily life, even if it’s in very small doses. In doing so, she won’t need to rely on dessert to fulfill her pleasure need and staying at one reasonable portion won’t feel as depriving. If she gets to the evening and has the same thought, “Finally it’s time for dessert; I’ve been depriving myself all day,” she’ll remind herself that what she really needs that night is extra pleasure (a walk, a call to her sister, buying a new magazine, watching her favorite show, doing a beauty routine, etc.) not extra dessert.
Friday Weekend Warm-up: Remember, come Monday morning, you’ll look back at your weekend and feel PROUD of the times you stayed in control, not regretful. You likely won’t think, “I should have had an extra slice of chocolate cake,” or “I should have had a second glass of wine.” It just will not happen!
Think Thin Thursday Tip: It’s critically important to be tuned in to your thoughts, so you can learn what your common sabotaging thoughts are and come up with responses to them. The next time you eat something unplanned or that you know you probably shouldn’t, ask yourself, “What was just going through my head? What did I say to myself? ‘I know I shouldn’t eat this but it’s okay because….?’”
Wednesday Sabotage: I just want to eat without consequence.
Response: Oh, well! I don’t like that I can’t eat without consequences but I can’t change that fact (not if I want to lose weight and keep it off). I need to stop struggling against it, accept that this is the way it is, and move on.
Tuesday Reality Check: Are you exercising this week? Remember, you don’t have to go fast. You just have to GO.
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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