Tuesday Reality Check: Have you (like many people) lapsed into eating most of your meals in front of the TV? Doing so can really deprive you of eating mindfully and getting physical and psychological satisfaction from your food. This week, consider eating some meals with no distractions.
Monday Motivation: Don’t do it for them, do it for yourself. While others might be a motivator in your quest to lose weight/maintain a healthy weight, ultimately do it for YOURSELF. You deserve it.
A few weeks ago, my client Natalie’s friend, Lara, broke her leg and has been in rehab ever since. Lara is getting out of rehab in a few days, and Natalie is going to stay with her for a week to help her readjust. Over the past few months, Natalie has been doing very well putting her CBT diet skills in place. She has been feeling great about having a sense of control over her eating and seeing the scale go down.
This week, Natalie told me that she was concerned about maintaining healthy habits while at Lara’s house. Lara is a classic food pusher. She’s always urging Natalie to eat things that she is eating, even when she knows Natalie is trying to lose weight. Natalie said to me, “I just need Lara to not offer me food or push me to eat what she’s eating.” I told Natalie that in thinking this way, she was making the classic mistake that many dieters make: she’s putting the burden of change on someone else, not on herself. I said to Natalie, “It’s not Lara’s job to stop pushing food on you. After all, she’s a food pusher, that’s what she does! It is, however, your job to start saying no. The change has to come from you because you can’t control what Lara does or says; you can only control your reaction.”
Whenever people face food pushers, it’s important for them to recognize that it’s their responsibility to be firm and say no, and not wait for the food pusher to magically change and stop pushing food. Natalie said that she understood the concept, but she was still concerned about how Lara will feel if she says no. “If she’s eating pizza and wants me to eat it with her, how will she feel if I say no and have something healthier, instead? That’s going to make her feel bad about eating pizza.” I reminded Natalie and in no situation would she be asking Lara not to eat pizza, she would just tell her she wasn’t going to eat it also. “It’s not your responsibility to make Lara feel good about what she’s eating,” I said to Natalie. “It’s your responsibility to make choices that work for you and support your goals.”
Natalie made the following Response Card to read every day she was at Lara’s house:
It’s not Lara’s job to stop pushing food on me. She’s a food pusher! It’s my job to say NO when she does. And if Lara feels a little bad when I do say no, that’s okay. I’m not telling her not to eat something; I’m making choices that support my weight loss goals, which are incredibly important to me. My highest responsibility is to myself and to my goals, not to make Lara feel better about her own eating.
If you have food pushers in your life, stop waiting for them to stop pushing food! Instead, start saying no the next time you see them! The burden of change is on you, not on them. And remember: the more you say no and show them that you don’t cave to their pushing, the more they’ll learn to eventually stop pushing because they’ll know it’s a fruitless effort. You have control in this situation, so make sure you exercise it!
Friday Weekend Warm-up: This weekend, get out and get moving! Even taking a short walk is way better than no movement, so commit to at least one big or small exercise activity this weekend.
Think Thin Thursday: Are you getting to bed on time? We’ve been hearing that many people are struggling to get to bed at a reasonable hour because they don’t have to be in their office early the next morning. But getting enough sleep is so important, and maintaining a consistent bedtime is big part of that. If you’ve been lax at getting to bed recently, now is the time to tighten up.
Wednesday Sabotage: I’m going to eat this food because I want it. I just don’t care about my goals right now.
Response: While I may not feel like I care in this moment, I definitely will care very soon. Look at my Advantages List and remind myself of the huge and profound goals I’m trying to accomplish. These things matter. I really, really do care.
Tuesday Reality Check: Eating more dessert in the evening than you’d planned might taste good, but it doesn’t FEEL good. Staying in control and sticking to your plan is what really feels good.
Monday Motivation: Even though you’re probably home more right now and don’t need to plan to bring lunch into the office, meal planning is still just as critical! Too few options is sabotaging, and too many options can be just as problematic. Consider making a meal plan this week so you go into each meal knowing what you’re going to eat (and so you don’t have to make in–the–moment decisions).
Friday Weekend Warm-up: Our constant reminder: If you start to get off track this weekend, remember that there is no such thing as “blowing it for the day,” or “blowing it for the weekend.” There is such a thing, however, as making a mistake on Saturday and continuing to make mistakes on Sunday. But there is also the possibility of making a mistake on Saturday, getting right back on track and having a GREAT rest of the weekend.
Think Thin Thursday: Eating too little during the day and too much at night go hand in hand. Not only are you likely overly hungry, but you may also be telling yourself, “Since I didn’t eat much all day, it’s okay to eat extra right now.” Eating reasonably throughout the day is one major thing you can start doing to control nighttime eating.
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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