Tuesday Reality Check: Just because you’re alone/nobody is watching you eat something doesn’t mean the calories don’t count. Whether you’re with 100 people or no people, your body processes all calories the same.
Monday Motivation: If you haven’t checked in recently with exactly why you want to lose weight, spend some time really thinking about it today. Losing weight/maintaining weight loss is really hard, so it’s important to keep in mind exactly why you’re doing it.
Friday Weekend Warm-up: This weekend, if you think, “I’ll start working on my eating on Monday,” remind yourself, “How many times have I ‘started my diet’ on Monday? I could have lost weight and kept it off for years now, if I didn’t use that excuse.”
Think Thin Thursday Tip: 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.
Wednesday Sabotage: It’s so unfair that I have to work on this and other people don’t.
Response: Chances are, they’re working on it, too! Many more people than I may realize are working hard to lose weight and/or maintain their weight. But in any case, what other people are eating just isn’t relevant to the goal I have for myself and losing weight.
Tuesday Reality Check: When you go on vacation, remember that you want to carry the good feelings of the vacation home with you. If you eat with abandon, you’ll feel out of control and discouraged. But if you stay in control, you’ll feel proud and optimistic. It’s so worth it to stay in control!
Monday Motivation: If you’re not great at self-care, you’re likely going to be vulnerable to turning to food when you get stressed or upset because you won’t have other ways of calming down or soothing yourself. This week, focus on building other means of comfort and stress-relief into your life so you have other things to turn to besides food.
I’ve had many sessions with clients over the past two weeks who are understandably very uneasy, scared, and thrown off of their normal healthy eating routines. One common thought I’ve heard them relate is, “What does this really matter with all that is going on with the coronavirus?” While I understand that the state of the world can be overwhelming and frightening at the moment, I would argue that working to control your eating is important now more than ever.
Why is this? Well, one thing we know for certain is that when people have a good eating day, they feel good, period. They feel physically better as a result of eating good food, and they feel mentally better because they feel in control and proud of themselves. When people have an off-track eating day, they feel regretful and out of control. They sometimes feel physically uncomfortable, and psychologically they feel mad at themselves, knowing they were degrading their health. Right now there is so much going on in the world that you can’t control – eating is something you can control. Taking control of the things you can will feel so much better than letting everything slide out from under you. Right now when we’re all holed up at home and everything is closed, many of our usual sources of pleasure aren’t available to us (movies, meeting friends, dinners out, concerts, museums, etc.). Maintaining control over your eating is one major thing you can do to help boost both your physical and mental health, which is sorely, sorely needed right now.
When I was in session with a client this week (all of which are done remotely), she recognized that she was giving in to coronavirus-related stress eating, and felt determined to turn things around. We made this list of things she could do when the stress and anxiety felt particularly strong:
- Go for a walk, either outside or in her house.
- Call or video-chat a friend.
- Use her meditation app and do a 3-5 minute meditation.
- Give herself permission to not be productive for 30 minutes and read a book, listen to a podcast, take a nap, etc.
- Declutter something.
- Make a gratitude list – either of things she will be grateful for when this is over (stocked shelves at the supermarket, giving a stranger a handshake, meeting a friend for lunch) or something she’s grateful for right now (food delivery service, spending more time with her daughter, reading more).
If you don’t have a list of things to help you de-stress, make one now! Consult it daily and remind yourself why it matters to care about your eating right now. Regaining control or staying in control is guaranteed to make you feel better than the opposite, and we need all the good feelings we can get. This matters. This is important. You can do this.
Friday Weekend Warm-up: If you eat out this weekend and stay in control, give yourself a lot of credit. When you get home make sure you don’t say to yourself, “I was so good, now I deserve to treat myself,” because you will undo all your hard work. Losing weight is the best treat!
Think Thin Thursday Tip: If you’re an emotional eater, remember that you learned to eat when you were feeling bad, but you can unlearn it, too. It’s not a given that food is the only way to feel better.
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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