Tuesday Reality Check: While we rarely work with clients on cutting out any foods altogether, we definitely work on helping them reduce some foods. If you’re currently drinking four sodas a day, consider cutting it down to three for a week or two. Then, slowly cut down from there until you’re at a level that feels more reasonable.
Monday Motivation: We heard the quote recently, “Mistakes are proof that you are trying,” and we love it so much! Mistakes aren’t an indication that you can’t do it, they’re an indication that you’re not giving up.
This week, I had a session with my client Sonia, a 45-year-old mother of four boys. Sonia told me the sabotaging thought that kept popping up over the past week: “I want more.” When she’s eating something that tastes good, she keeps thinking she wants more even when she knows it’s enough. Often, she feels deprived if she doesn’t have more.
I discussed with Sonia that when she’s eating something – assuming she’s already eaten a reasonable amount – and she chooses to continue, she’ll get more food but feel less in control and make less progress towards her goals. When she stops eating after a reasonable amount, she’s getting less food (not no food!), but she’ll feel more in control, make more progress towards good health, and reinforce healthy habits. In either scenario, she’s getting less of one thing and more of another.
Another way to look at this is that either way she’s going to feel deprived. Either she’s going to feel deprived of some food, some of the time (but not all food all of the time), or she’s going to feel deprived of achieving everything on her Advantages List. For Sonia, and many others, the unfortunate truth is that eating every bite of food she wants, losing weight, and keeping it off are mutually exclusive goals.
Sonia and I discussed that she has a bit of a hair-trigger deprivation meter. Every time she tells herself, “No, you can’t eat that,” she immediately feels very deprived. This is likely because in past weight loss phases, she actually has deprived herself. In the past, she would allow herself no carbs, no sugar, or too few calories each day. We discussed that this time is different. This time, she is eating carbs, she is eating sugar, and she is taking in a reasonable amount of calories each day. Although she’s not necessarily eating as many of these things as she would like each day, she is still eating a reasonable amount.
I told Sonia that we have to work on reprogramming her brain to understand that “No” doesn’t mean “I can’t ever have this food” (as it did in the past). Now, “no” just means, “I’m not having any more right now. But I can still plan to have more another time.”
Friday Weekend Warm-up: Commit to doing at least one thing for exercise this weekend! Remember – you’ll never regret a workout.
Think Thin Thursday: We work with people on getting rid of weight, not losing it. By learning to change their thinking, they won’t find it again!
Wednesday Sabotage: When I’m losing weight, the scale should go down quickly.
Response: When has seeing the scale go down quickly ever helped me to keep it down? If I want different results it means I have to do things differently.
Tuesday Reality Check: It’s easy to conflate boredom with hunger. The next time you want to eat, really take a moment and ask yourself if you have an empty rumbling in your stomach. If not, chances are you’re not hungry. Instead of going to the kitchen, find a different fun activity to do.
Monday Motivation: Are you stopping yourself from doing things this summer because you don’t have your “summer body?” Guess what? You do! Whatever body you have is your summer body. Appreciate what it can do.
Friday Weekend Warm-up: If you were driving on the highway and missed your exit, would you say, “Forget it,” and keep driving? No! You’d get off at the very next exit and turn around. If you make a mistake this weekend, immediately turn yourself around and get right back on track.
Wednesday Sabotage: I don’t feel like planning and measuring my food. I know what and how much I’m going to eat. I don’t need to go to so much effort.
Response: If I only do what I feel like doing, I won’t lose weight and keep it off. Even if I don’t need these crucial skills to lose weight initially, I must learn how to make myself implement them. In the future, my motivation may not be as high as it is today.
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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