Going back to Planning: Roxanne

About five months ago, Roxanne made the decision to stop losing weight and start maintaining.  Since making that decision, Roxanne has been able to stop writing down a formal food plan each night and instead just has a general sense of what/how much she’s going to eat each day.  Like most successful maintainers, this has been fairly easy for Roxanne because she finds herself eating basically the same type of things for breakfast and lunch each day, with the only big variations being at dinner time. 

Although Roxanne is no longer trying to lose weight, she still employs many of the same techniques and strategies she did while she was on the way down.  She still consistently reads her Advantages List (discussed on Day 1 of The Beck Diet Solution) and Response Cards almost every day, and certainly whenever she’s going into a high-risk situation like a party or a reception.  She still continues to weigh herself each morning and consistently makes a conscience effort to eat everything slowly, while sitting down, and to enjoy every bite (Days 3, 5, and 21). 

scale21.jpgBecause she weighs herself every morning, Roxanne has noticed that for the past two weeks her weight has been up a little bit.  Rather than ignore the weight gain and hope that it goes away, Roxanne had decided to take steps to get herself firmly back on track so a small weight gain doesn’t turn into a thirty pound gain.  For the next couple of weeks, Roxanne is going to go back to making a written a food plan each evening for the next day, so she’ll know exactly how many calories she’s taking in.  With this strategy in hand, Roxanne is 100% confident that she will get back down to her Lowest Maintainable Weight (Chapter 11). 

This is precisely what will enable Roxanne maintain her weight loss for the rest of her life.  Whenever the scale is up by three pounds, she’ll just go back to writing down a plan and sticking to it – a skill she learned how to do well while following the Beck Diet Solution program.  Because she weighs herself each morning, Roxanne never has to worry about gaining back a lot of weight because she will always know when a small weight gain has occurred and the steps she needs to take to correct the imbalance. 

4 replies
  1. CBT fan
    CBT fan says:

    [update from a male doing the Beck Diet Solution]
    The scale says I lost my first 10 lbs today, as I had been stuck at my former weight for at least a few years. So that’s great, that is halfway to my first goal. Then once I get there, I will go down by 5 lbs increments. All thanks to the Beck Diet Solution book, and the CBT principles behind it.
    I was in a bit of a hurry to do the first part, (due to my pants being too tight on the gut for the last 2 years!) and I would like to lose the next 5-10 pretty quick too. (I am just being honest, even though I am “supposed” to be patient…I do want to lose the excess flab pretty quickly, and then I will slow down a bit once my pants fit around the waist again!).
    I have created a detailed spreadsheet that counts my calories eaten, calories for my BMR, and calories burned in exercise, then computes how many calories I have “burned off” each day.

    Again, I am a tall active male, with some muscle, and extra flab from eating 1000-1500 calories of junkfood a day, (like licorice bags, JuJubes, KFC, burgers, large bags of chips, etc), so its much easier to burn off a lot of calories at first, so say the relevant experts and the metabolic equations.
    According to the scale, I dropped 10 lbs in about 16 days. (I have no idea how much of that was water loss from much less salt in the diet, etc, blah blah, that doesn’t really matter to me at this point). But this has been an amazing experience, to see so many calories of junk food come out of the diet, and to understand exactly how its working.

    What I did was write out ALL my food eaten, every bite, and then I reasonably estimated my caloric intake for each meal and the day. (I round food calories up, to be conservative).

    I also write out my exercise, and use a pedometer, and also calculate/estimate the calories burned. (I round the food calories UP, and the exercise cals DOWN).
    Also, I use some fancy equations to figure out how many calories my body burns for its weight, its BMR. But the chart at WebMD seems to give the same results, with no equations to do.

    Then, all of this is automatically calculated to show if I have I positive or negative calorie expenditure for the day. That is, have I eaten more calories than I have burned, or burned more than I’ve eaten. If I am losing calories, then I get a negative number right at the bottom of the spreadsheet as a daily total, if gaining, a positive number of calories. It’s a caloric Balance Sheet. So far each day has been a negative number. I have been eating about 1800 calories a day in HEALTHY FOODS, 3 full meals, and 3 snacks, and have had no hunger or cravings on recent days, even though I used to eat over 1000+ cals in JuJubes, or other junk food. (one KFC lunchpack is 1000 cals). But there have been other days where I have had intense Cravings, but was able to use the Beck Anti-Craving techniques to deal with them.
    So all I have to do now and the future, is keep doing this. As long as my daily caloric deficit from eating and exercise is more than 500 cals, then I will lose weight, about 1 lb a week. Or if its 100, then that’s 2 lbs a week. It really is physics, it’s the Law of Conservation of Energy. To me this is amazing, to see it with your own eyes, right in your own spreadsheet. So I feel totally confident right now, if I keep doing this, I will get to a healthy BMI, and stay there, as long as I measure calories in, and calories out, and keep it to a negative number, or close to zero for maintenance, and adjust it all for age and metabolic level.

    So that seems to work well. Again, I have put all of this info into one Excel spreadsheet, so its all in one place. Food Log, total Calories consumed by day, daily exercise log, pedometer steps, calories burned, daily weight and graph, weight goals, list of food calories and snacks, Beck Response cards and notes, weight-journal, etc. Perhaps for others this type of thing might be to much of a hassle, but I have to say, I really enjoy it. I have never done anything like this ever in my life. In the past, when I lost some weight, all I did was write down my meals for a while, no idea of the calories, and over-exercise. But now, I feel like I know exactly what happened, I can see it in black and white. Fewer calories in, still eating 3 square meals, and 3 snacks, and more cals out by SOME exercise. But not that much exercise, just 20 min of jogging every second day, and quite a bit of walking. (about 10,000+ steps a day, walking up long staircases carrying heavy things, instead of using the escalator, etc). It only takes a few minutes a day to write this stuff into the spreadsheet, once its set up.

    The CBT techniques in the Beck Diet Solution showed me precisely how to deal with my Cravings for junkfoods, and to stop them cold, with some work, but not too much. For me, that was the key so far. I used to unconsciously eat 1000-1500 cals of junkfood a day, even though I would also eat very healthy meals…so just cutting the junk out has done it.
    Now of course, the next phase is to keep moving forward, but I do feel, with the Beck Solution, and my handy-dandy spreadsheet, it shouldn’t be that hard. We’ll see as the weeks and months go by, as I keep applying the Beck Diet Solution, and keep working through the book, focussing on various areas.
    I have found every single area of the Beck Solution to be helpful. Especially the Anti-Craving and Hunger Tolerance techniques, and NO CHOICE, which showed me how to stop eating all that junk food. The book encouraged a Food Log, as well as Graphing your weight, which I did and have gotten great results and motivation from.

    Giving Yourself Credit has been VERY helpful as well, as sometimes those around you don’t give you credit for all your hard work, and instead say “you should lose weight slower”. I have found that comment to be very unhelpful, as it somehow implies I am “starving myself” or doing something “wrong”, which is false. I simply lost weight pretty fast because I am a large active male, who cut out 1000+ cals of junk food each day, ate healthy again, and my body readjusted on its own schedule. You can’t compare the weight-loss rapidity of a ACTIVE well-over 6” male well-over 200 lbs, with a smaller female who is half the weight, and with much less muscle mass. If one looks at the original equations, you see that its not as much about how many pounds a week being lost, but what is happening in proportion to the overall body mass. Its completely natural for a large male to “lose weight” at double or more the rate of a small female, as the body mass can be double, and there is a lot more muscle mass, so it could be possibly 2x the speed, at least initially, until the weight comes down. So a small female who is 120 lbs who loses 1 lb is losing faster than a large male who loses more than 2 lbs, as a percentage of body-mass and muscle. Also, to imply I am doing something “wrong” does frustrate me. (or as we say in CBT, I am frustrating myself about what they said!). I didn’t do anything, other than stop eating junkfood, eating healthy, and exercising a bit. My own body has started ditching the flab, as its not healthy or natural for me. Already some slight knee pain I had from jogging has vanished, as I read an article recently, how weight is leveraged 4:1 on the knee, so losing just a few pounds helps the knee out.
    So you can see that those kind of comments frustrate me, as it shows no empathy or understanding of the serious W-O-R-K that I have put into this project. Its just a superficial criticism that really shows no understanding of the underlying metabolic principle, and is just repeating a mantra one hears in the media, that does not apply to large, active males with some muscle mass, who are getting back in shape.
    Sooooooo….OH WELL, that’s life, and I can Give Myself Credit for figuring out how to get back in shape, and control my junkfood Cravings, and block them. To me this is a big accomplishment, so Giving Myself Credit is very helpful, otherwise some misguided “help” from those around you could possibly throw you off. Consciously Giving Yourself Credit makes all the difference. Anyone else who tries to “help” me by telling me how “wrong” I am doing this, I will challenge to an arm wrestle, and if they win, then I will do as they command. 🙂
    Otherwise, I am going to keep doing what is right for me.

    Pretty much every area of the book I have found helpful. But there are a couple areas where I am NOT following the book, and I am admitting that, as each person is unique…that’s perfectly fine.
    For example, I choose to let myself eat while walking. Now I have made a Rule that I can only eat a pre-planned SNACK when walking, and not a Whopper! (700 calories). So I can eat my snack like a banana while walking from one place to the other, and enjoy the sunshine, while walking, eating, and thinking about my next appointment at the same time. Also, I like to snack a bit while I go hiking, as I am walking, I enjoy that. So I modified that rule.
    Of course, I also did not go through the Beck Solution as instructed, but read the book right through, and started applying areas of the book as needed. Again, I have lots of experience with the CBT behind the book, and made lots of detailed notes, and am now going back each day and focussing on one chapter from the book as needed. That works for me. Going through the day-by-day program wasn’t for me, but working through the book as needed for the rest of 2007 is what I have chosen to do.

    Now I am going to celebrate my 10 lb loss, with a KFC splurge, eating 3 lunchpacks in one afternoon…..kidding.
    Seriously, its just about continuing to make sure I burn more calories than I eat, eating healthy, getting moderate exercise and not over-doing it, and using all of the techniques in the book for the rest of 2007. If the weight goes up or down a bit, that’s fine, that’s normal. (2 glasses of water = 1 pound).
    Lastly, if you know any large, active males with some muscle who are getting back in shape, please don’t give them grief for dropping weight a bit faster than those half their size. Most men of that size are not going to “starve themselves” to “lose weight”. It’s a different mentality. We just want to get back in shape, and to do this we have to stop gorging on junkfoods, start doing some exercise, lift some weights, and let the body do its own thing. Once we start eating healthy, and stop with the junk-calorie overload, start exercising, the healthy male body can adjust pretty quick. It possibly evolved that way, as men could possibly have gone from having some fat on them in certain periods of the year, to becoming lean again so they could run all day on a hunt in pre-history. Its an interesting area to look into.

    So the excellent Beck Diet Solution book has worked wonderfully for me so far, my energy level has gone way up, and we’ll see how it evolves over the coming months.

  2. Triumph
    Triumph says:

    Thank you for your insights. I have a commerical weight program that has the ability to be used as you are using your spreedsheet, but I had not seen it’s potential until reading your blog. I was simply using it as a calorie counter and log. Thanks again.


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