The First Session

We recently started working with three new dieters and, as always, we covered a lot of material in the first session.  The first thing we go over with new dieters is the importance of making their Advantages List – a card that lists all of the reasons they want to lose weight.  Most dieters can come up with fifteen to twenty reasons for their Advantages List, among them being such things as:

  • I want to have more self-confidence
  • I want to look better.
  • I want to be healthier.
  • I want to have more energy.
  • I want to be less self-conscience.
  • I want to wear more fashionable clothes.

In the beginning, dieters need to read their Advantages Card every single morning so it is always fresh in their mind exactly why they are putting forth all this effort.  Dieters also need to read the card every time they are tempted to eat something they shouldn’t.  This way, they have to squarely face the question, “Do I want the momentary pleasure from eating [this food] or do I want all the advantages on my list – to feel better, to look better, to be healthier, to be able to keep up with my kids, etc.”  In this way, it’s much easier for dieters to resist tempting food, even in the moment, because they are able to see that they’d much rather have all the things on their list. 

Another important topic in our first session is the importance of eating everything slowly, while sitting down, and enjoying every bite.  For some dieters, eating everything sitting down can be a big adjustment, because whether they realize it or not, many people do a significant amount of eating standing up.  Opportunities to eat standing up abound – hor d’oeuvres at cocktail parties, free samples at the grocery store, taste-testing while cooking, picking at leftovers when clearing the table, etc.  And many times dieters just simply don’t remember the food they eat while standing up.  Eating everything slowly, while sitting down, and enjoying every bite is crucial not only so that dieters can be aware of everything they’re eating, but also so that they feel both physically and psychologically satisfied by their meals.   

We also discuss how important it is that dieters not be ashamed of themselves or see themselves as failures because they’re overweight. We emphasize that the reason they haven’t been able to lose weight and keep it off in the past is because they didn’t know how.  Dieting is a skill just like any other, and it takes instruction and practice to become adept at it.  No one would expect to be able to sit behind the wheel of a car for the first time and drive perfectly.  They would need a teacher, practice, and road experience before they became good at driving.  Dieting works in exactly the same way; it’s comprised of a specific set of thinking and behavioral skills. We always leave our dieters with a sense of hope, that this time is going to be different, that this time they can be successful, because this time they are going to learn how! 

10 replies
  1. Nan
    Nan says:

    I’m on Week 3, and I started reading this blog after the first class group started. I feel like I’m participating right along with the new group! I’m so glad that you’re keeping the classes going.

  2. Phyl
    Phyl says:

    I’ve been working with The Beck Diet Solution for 5 weeks and have lost 10 pounds of the 60 I needed to lose. I am very grateful! I was just thinking, before reading this blog, that what I have now that I didn’t have in earlier weight loss efforts is knowledge–the book has supplied the missing piece–given me a roadmap which I can use to plan and to keep myself motivated. I’ve added that to the knowledge I’ve worked hard to acquire about exercise–I’ve learned how well interval training works to accelerate weight loss, I know the importance of strength training, and so on. I belong to a gym, I’ve invested in a home treadmill, I’ve done a lot to organize my life to make my weight loss effort doable. At work I automatically try to apply the best knowledge to reach goals–now I’m doing it in regard to weight loss. Some years ago I consulted a CT therapist about another issue. I asked him about weight loss too–and this excellent therapist honestly said, really he didn’t know how to deal with that successfully, he hadn’t had much success. Thanks to this book I think therapists and laypeople will know how to approach it. Many thanks, Dr, Beck.

  3. Ginger
    Ginger says:

    I began reading the book and applying the skills about 7 weeks ago, and have already lost 12.5 pounds! I’m thrilled! As a long-time “yo-yo” dieter, I had become so frustrated and angry with my seeming inability to stick with a weight loss plan that it was negatively affecting every aspect of my life. This book has given me a new hope, although I will admit that the negative self-talk telling me that I’ll never be able to stick with this is still very persistent. Thanks for providing this blog as another motivational tool – I look forward to the new installments. Like your new group members, I need to remind myself every day (multiple times a day) that this time will be different because I am learning about and applying new behavioral skills. OK, I’m going to read my cards now!! 🙂

  4. Dean
    Dean says:

    After struggling twenty years with constant cravings, and always feeling deprived, I found the right diet and this book came along at the perfect time. I have a diet coach who recommended the book, and like others have said, it supplied the miss piece of the wieght loss puzzle. I listen to the download of the BDS on my Ipod while I work out and walk, and even in my rather sleepless nights. All the behavioral techniques makes some much sense; are entirely rational and independent of diet. In fact the techniques are helping me with my stressfull job, too.
    I heard about a man today who can’t swallow (he had a brain tumor) and I realized what a gift it was to be able to eat, to enjoy food, and have the privilege of being able to exercise control.

  5. Carol
    Carol says:

    I saw Dr. Beck in an interview on CNN and rushed out to buy the book that day. I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. Everyone trying to lose weight knows what to eat, how much to eat, the importance of exercise, etc., etc., but for some reason, I just could not find the ability to stick with it and get the job done. The mental aspect of weight loss is what I was missing all my life, and now that I’ve found it. I am finally successfully losing weight. This book is going to change my life!!

  6. Jesse
    Jesse says:

    As I read this blog entry, I realized I had been using The Beck Diet Solution for almost 5 months and thanks to my new acquired skills, I have lost 45 lbs. I’m about 5 lbs away from my Lowest Maintainable Weight. I have had my struggles and they usually occur when I’m not reading my sabotaging thoughts cards and don’t keep track of what I’m eating. But unlike my behavior in the past, I haven’t completely abandon my plan and am pleased to say, that I’m back on track right now. TBDS does work but it does take effort and consistency to embrace this different way of thinking and behaving. I do not want to regain the weight I’ve lost so I am committed to this program as part of my weight maintenance. The biggest triggers in the past, that have prevented me from maintaining my weight, have been losing weight itself (now I can eat all I want, since I’ve lost the weight!) and not weighing myself (I don’t want to be depressed or frustrated if I’ve gained weight). By avoiding these two pitfalls, I have been able to stay on track, even if I have strayed slightly, because one simple slip does not mean I should abandon all that I have accomplished to this point. For this intelligent way of thinking, I must thank Dr. Beck for providing the tools and techniques for achieving longterm weight loss, weight maintenance, and good health.



  7. Online Beck Diet Solution Support Group
    Online Beck Diet Solution Support Group says:

    For people who are working through the Beck Diet Solution book, and are looking for an online support group to serve as a type of online Diet Coach, there is an active group at Peertrainer, with over 85 members.

    Its free, and the group is called “Mind Over Matter” and you can join at the link below.
    There are even threads about each day of the program.

    Maybe even Judith Beck or some of the Beck Diet experts could drop in once in a while??

    Mind Over Matter (free online support group for Beck Diet Solution)

    To join the group, there is a little JOIN button at the link above, of course its free, and can be anonymous if one chooses.

    Here is the direct link to join the group.

  8. webpage
    webpage says:

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long
    comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Regardless, just wanted to say superb blog!

  9. Peter
    Peter says:

    Good points about the proper mindset for dieting. I used to beat up myself for being overweight, even though your are right. I just didn’t know how not to be overweight.


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