Today’s workout: None. Just don’t have it in me with my cold. But I’m seeing my trainer tomorrow, and she accepts only 2 excuses: global thermonuclear war and death. So I’ll definitely be working out tomorrow; I’ll only miss one day. I’m allowed to miss one day in a row, but not 2.

Today’s walk: None. It’s just too chilly. I went out at the peak “high” of 30F (-1C) and tried, but my lungs started to seize immediately.

Today’s task: Pick Two Reasonable Diets

Why two? You’ve got your main diet, and your backup diet. If the first diet turns out to be too difficult or troublesome, you’re ready to jump right into Plan B. (I get the feeling Dr. Beck was a Girl Scout at one point, and really took the “Be Prepared” motto to heart.)

Dr. Beck also has a lot to say about using a reasonable diet. Reasonable means healthy, easy to prepare, and sustainable in the long term. That means you have to make sure you get to eat your favorite foods once in a while. The last thing you want to do is try to speed your progress by dropping calories too low and then end up bingeing and gaining all the weight back. In fact, in her 2nd book, where she actually gives you a calorie-counting diet, she recommends 1,600 calories as a minimum, even for women. (By contrast, Weight Watchers starts at about 1,100.)

I chose the South Beach Diet because I don’t have to count calories or points. Counting makes me obsessed. Also, the quality of what I eat suffers along with my mental health. When points are everything, those 2-point desserts are just too seductive. On South Beach, I’m eating quality food at every meal and I don’t crave desserts as much.

Still, I have to have a backup plan. If I start to stall out on all the protein, I’m going to switch to what I call the Kashi diet. Kashi or other super-healthy cereal with skim milk and fruit for breakfast and lunch; something light for dinner like bean soup and salad; fruit, yogurt, or Kashi TLC bars for snacks. Kashi used to have something like this on their website, but it looks like they’re no longer promoting it.

I chose this for a backup plan because it’s nutritionally different from SBD, so I can go to it when my body and mind need a change. It’s also simpler, with a much smaller range of food choices.

Today’s lesson also introduces a BDS tool called Response Cards. We all have sabotaging thoughts—thoughts that trigger poor eating choices or lead us to abandon our diets. In CBT, you learn to catch yourself thinking these thoughts and answer them back. Writing the more-helpful responses on cards helps you rehearse them and have them ready when you need them.

Here’s one of my sabotaging thoughts: “I don’t want to be on a diet for the rest of my life. It makes me feel trapped, and all I want to do is eat. I want to be free!”

And here’s the response I came up with: “SBD isn’t a diet, it’s a healthy lifestyle. If I don’t start eating and living healthier, the fat will trap me even worse. The true freedom comes from being healthy, energetic, and strong, and that’s what SBD will give me.”

Here’s another one (said to myself as I prepared 3.5 oz. turkey sausage and 2 cups of broccoli and cauliflower for lunch): “This sucks! I really don’t know much longer I’m going to be able to eat this way. This food is depressing.”

And the response: “‘This sucks’ is a thought, not a fact. This meal is just as tasty as something that’s much less healthy. Just because my cooking skills leave something to be desired is no reason I can’t be slim and healthy. I may be a little depressed now, but that feeling will pass. If it doesn’t, I’ll talk to my therapist about it. If I eat (or drink) extra calories because I’m depressed, those calories won’t pass!”

Today’s To-Do List:

✓ I read my Advantages List at least twice

✓ I read other Response Cards as needed

✓ I chose a reasonable primary diet and backup diet