January 2010

Today’s workout: 40 mins EFX Trainer, wt loss intervals, HR 115-125. Crossramp 4 – 10, Resistance 1 – 8.

Today’s walk: 1/4 mi walk on indoor track.

Today’s task: Change Your Definition of Full

My family and friends used to  marvel at how I stopped when I was full, when I was a child and teenager. Later, I learned how to allow more food, and then eat less later. And then, I stopped managing to eat less later. At my first job after college, I had a 30-minute lunch period, and no other eating was allowed in the office. I often had to work late, so I started eating something heavier to get me through. And forget eating slowly when  you only have 30 minutes to heat, eat, and clean up your food. Exhausted and starving at night, I’d have something big, usually Chinese food.

I started gaining weight after leaving that job, because I took those bad habits with me, and eventually my metabolism couldn’t take it any more.

Dr. Beck believes that overweight people are eating to the point of being overfull rather than normally full. Her criterion is being able to take a brisk walk after the meal. This is a good fit for me, since I’m usually the crazy one on Thanksgiving and Christmas trying to herd everyone out the door for a walk. (I have one SIL who never comes…but then she always pigs out on holidays. She’s very, very skinny, for the record.)

On the South Beach Diet, I get a certain amount of food at each meal and snack, and it’s usually just the right amount to satisfy me, especially since it’s mostly protein. But in the interest of testing Dr. Beck’s theory, I’m going to actually take a brisk walk after every meal and see how it feels. This routine will also get more movement into my day.

Dr. Beck is not a believer in intuitive eating, mainly because she’s never seen it work for any of her patients. But when you take this week’s exercises in hunger and fullness perception, her prescriptions line up exactly with those of the intuitive eating program Thin Within: Wait until you’re truly (even very) hungry before you eat, and then eat only to satisfaction.

Today’s To-Do List:

✓ I read my Advantages and NO CHOICE response cards at least twice today.

✓ I made and read other Response Cards as needed.

✓ I ate slowly, sitting down, and noticing every bite: Most of the time.

✓ I gave myself credit for engaging in helpful eating behaviors: Not often enough. See below.

✓ I did spontaneous exercise: Once.

✓ I did planned exercise: Yes.

✓ I wrote out a food plan for tomorrow.

✓ I monitored everything I ate in writing right after I finished eating.

✓ I ate only to normal fullness: Most of the time.

Today I give myself credit for:

☆ Continuing to resist ongoing cravings and desires.

☆ Going to the gym on my own 2 days in a row.

☆ Keeping my eating diary 8 days in a row.

☆ Sticking to my plan despite not having much food in the house.

Update: My mood has been crappy, and I’ve been very unwilling to follow my diet and exercise plan. I feel like I’m dragging myself kicking and screaming through the day. I think I’m a little depressed (but today’s exercise helped with that), but I’m finding more sabotaging thoughts that are causing the depression. For example, Dr. Beck frequently says, “Imagine how good you’ll feel after you [exercise, resist temptation, etc.]” I don’t feel good after doing these things. It’s more like, “Oh, great, you finally did what you should have been doing all along. Congrats. < /sarcasm>”

Although most sabotaging thoughts come before behavior, this one comes after it, and its goal is to demoralize. If I want to live a happier and healthier life, I have to answer back to this kind of sabotaging thought, too. And although CT doesn’t put much focus on talking about your past, these demoralizing thoughts come straight from my mother’s mouth. I love my mother insanely and don’t have any desire to change her. The world is a better place because she existed. I don’t want anything but to have the best possible relationship with her for the remainder of our lives together, but I do want to stop nurturing the unhelpful thoughts that she instilled in me.

Eating Diary Update: Dr. Beck says that you don’t have to start the day with a written plan and monitor it in writing forever. In her O Magazine article, she required a patient to do it for one full week. After that, I assume you can dial back to a more casual way of journaling/planning. Starting tomorrow, I will keep my paper eating diary to the letter according to The Beck Diet Solution for at least 7 days, or until I stop finding it helpful, but after that I will enter it in an online food journaling website that also counts calories. I think that will be more fun and motivating for me. I’m also curious to see what the SBD gives me in terms of calories. So far, I haven’t been counting.

This is going to be a challenge, since I have 2 days of business meetings this week, and even if I inquire in advance what food is going to be served (which I will do), it’s hard to predict exactly what’s going to be available. Wish me luck!


• MSNBC’s website has a 5-page excerpt of The Beck Diet Solution, with accompanying video. This is a great intro for someone trying to decide whether they want to read the book.

• Another good intro to the program is Newsweek’s interview with Dr. Beck.

Time to Get Serious. Psychology Today article from January, 2010.

Just for fun. I need some fun today. This is from 2007, around the time The Beck Diet Solution was first published.

Today’s workout: 40 mins Arc Trainer, wt loss program, HR low 120s. I’m not focusing on intensity right now. My biggest challenge right now is to establish the habit of daily exercise.

Today’s walk: None…more on this tomorrow

Today’s (self-designed) task: Problem-solving exercise

Yep, I didn’t go to the gym yesterday, although I blogged that I would.

Why can’t I get myself to go to the gym, even when I’ve been enjoying the many benefits of exercise for almost 2 years now?? Even when I know from at least 3 reliable sources—Bob Greene, Dr. Robert Huizenga (the medical adviser for The Biggest Loser), and my own trainer—that I need to be doing cardio no less than 5 days a week, preferably six??

I’m putting up all kinds of resistance to getting my exercise where it needs to be, which means there are some sabotaging thoughts going on. So today, instead of doing one of Dr. Beck’s tasks from the book, I’m creating one of my own, using techniques from the book. I’m devoting today to working on exercise.

I’m going to increase my exercise by doing the following:

Writing the planned time for my workout in my planner and on my blog.

Emailing the planned time for my workout to my trainer.

Emailing my trainer again when I’ve completed my workout.

Writing a special Advantages List for exercise.

Writing special exercise-related response cards.

Watching health-related TV shows.

Reading Shape magazine.

Thinking about how good I feel while stretching and using the whirlpool after a workout.

Exercise must be part of my daily routine for the rest of my life. The sooner I accept this fact, the sooner it will get easier!

Today’s To Do List:

✓ I read my Advantages List at least twice today.

✓ I made and read other Response Cards as needed.

✓ I ate slowly, sitting down and noticing every bite: Most of the time

✗ I did spontaneous exercise: No

✓ I did planned exercise: Yessss!!!!

✓ I wrote out a food plan for tomorrow.

✓ I monitored everything I ate in writing.

Today I give myself credit for:

☆ Withstanding ongoing mild cravings.

☆ Attacking my exercise problem head-on.


☆ Sticking to SBD Phase I foods all day.

Update: Although my DH goes to a different gym than I do, it’s in the same chain. His gym was closed today, so he used his reciprocal privileges to come to mine. We bumped into each other there. How fun is that? Maybe exercise will even bring us closer!

Although I didn’t finish all of the projects on my list today, I did most of them, and will keep working on it.

Today’s workout: None, despite making myself accountable on my blog.

Today’s walk: None. Using icy sidewalks as an excuse. (Although falling and re-spraining my back really wouldn’t be a good thing.)

Today’s task: End Overeating

At first, I thought that this Day was contradictory. On Days 11 and 12, we were supposed to learn not to respond to hunger signals. Today, we’re supposed to learn how to sense our body’s fullness signal and stop eating. Are we supposed to listen to our body’s signals or not? Is Dr. Beck trying to have it both ways?

Now that I’ve reread the book a few times, it’s starting to make sense. Dr. Beck doesn’t say to ignore hunger, just to be able to respond appropriately (i.e. stick to your plan instead of eating every time you want to). Today’s task is just the other side of the coin…responding appropriately while and after eating.

The specific exercise is to serve yourself extra food and leave it on your plate. I’ve already started doing this on my own! Since starting my diet, I have not finished all of my meals, even though I have the “right” to that food on my plan. I’ve started cutting my restaurant meals in half and having it for lunch the next day. When my plate comes with something I’m not supposed to have, I push it to one side and don’t eat it. So I’m not going to perform this actual exercise today. But I’m glad to be reminded that this is an important skill that I may need to work on again someday.

Cravings update: I’m still in craving mode. After resisting yesterday morning’s strong craving, I’ve been having little nagging, fleeting cravings, and again it’s for foods I normally don’t even think about…fried potatoes with onions and cheese, shrimp scampi. There’s definitely something hormonal going on. I feel as if I’m in danger of wrong eating today, and I don’t like that feeling.

[from the Credit Where Credit Is Due Dept.: Frances Kuffel used the term “wrong eating” in Angry Fat Girls, and I decided I liked this wonderfully descriptive term better than “bingeing” or whatever. I beg Frances’s indulgence in using this term myself.]

Sabotaging thought: I don’t want to have to deal with this feeling of constantly resisting cravings. It’s uncomfortable. It’s too hard. I feel like giving up my diet just so I won’t have to deal with this feeling.

Helpful response: If I distract myself, this feeling will pass. If I eat, the cravings will come back anyway, and I’ll be strengthening my giving-in muscle. Right now is the most important time not to give up! Dieting is hard sometimes, but there’s no reason for that to stop me. It will get easier if I exercise my resistance muscle now!

Sabotaging thought: I’m way too weak for dieting. I’ll never be able to do this. I may as well quit now and save myself the trouble.

Helpful response: My therapist says that confidence comes from doing, not just thinking about it. All I have to do is keep doing what I’ve been doing. I AM STRONG!

Update: Craving mode continued throughout the morning, then seemed to ease up in the early afternoon. I was talking to a couple of coworkers about our workloads and stress symptoms. I think cravings—and eating—may be one of my symptoms. Hmm…I think I’d rather have carpal tunnel syndrome or acid reflux. Knowing it’s caused by stress helps me want to resist. Just because a stupid symptom appears doesn’t mean I have to participate.

Today’s To Do List:

✓ I read my Advantages List at least twice today.

✗ I made and read other Response Cards as needed.

✓ I ate slowly, sitting down and noticing every bite: Some of the time.

✗ I did spontaneous exercise: No.  

✗ I did planned exercise: No.

✗ I wrote out a food plan for tomorrow.

✓ I monitored everything I ate in writing.

Today I give myself credit for:

☆ Resisting another Taco Bell craving last night. (Although the drive-thru guy was pretty confused when I drove away without ordering anything.)

☆ Continuing to increase my awareness of cravings and sabotaging thoughts.

• Dr. Beck has updated her blog today. She taped a segment for the Dr. Oz show where she works with a family whose mother pushes too much food on the kids. She uses techniques from the Beck Diet Solution, of course! I’ll let you know if I can find a link to the video.

• Pasta Queen has posted her report on Week 2 of the BDS. Interesting discussion in the comments on the possible links between cravings, weight, hormones, and chronic pain.

Today’s workout: None

Today’s walk: None

Today’s task: Prevent Unplanned Eating

On Planet Beck, “unplanned eating” means anything that’s not on the plan you wrote out the night before. Even one bite!

Today’s Response Card is NO CHOICE. Dr. Beck suggests coming up with a list of simple diet rules that you can always follow. There’s one rule that everyone must follow, at least when dieting and first maintaining: No unplanned eating.

NO CHOICE is hard for me to accept. I like giving myself a choice and then making the right choice. It feels good! The theory behind NO CHOICE is to eliminate the “to eat or not to eat” struggle. Struggling creates tension, and there are 2 ways to eliminate the tension: giving in, or just making giving in out of the question. Eventually, following these rules will be automatic.

I’m still developing my personal rules, but I’ll share them when I’m done!

Today’s To-Do List:

✓ I read my Advantages List at least twice today.

✓ I made and read other Response Cards as needed.

✓ I ate slowly, sitting down and noticing every bite: Some of the time.

✓ I gave myself credit for engaging in helpful eating behaviors: Some of the time.

✗ I did spontaneous exercise.

✗ I did planned exercise.

✓ I wrote out a meal plan for tomorrow.

✓ I monitored everything I ate in writing.

✓ I made my NO CHOICE Response Card.

Today I give myself credit for:

☆ Making a doctor’s appointment due to a possible medical condition.

☆ Planning and monitoring my eating 4 days in a row.

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