Have I really only been away just a week? It feels like forever.

I have been busy with work.  I haven’t done any new postings or moved on to Day 20, but I’ve still been honing the skills I’ve learned so far. I’m still journaling my food, working out, and reading my advantages list. And preparing for my vacation next week.

I’ve also been leafing through Dr. Beck’s second book: Dr. Beck’s Complete Diet for Life. Dr. Beck wrote her 2nd book to address issues that came up with people who used her first book. Notably, when allowed to choose their own diet, people were choosing diets that were too low in calories to be sustained even with the help of Cognitive Therapy!

So Dr. Beck’s 2nd book includes a simplified calorie counting system that gives meal plans, food lists, and recipes for various calorie levels ranging from 1,600 to 2,400 calories. 1,600 is the minimum calorie level because research has found that when placed on a lower calorie level, people invariably end up cheating until they’ve raised their calories to around 1,600. (I’ve certainly found this to be true for myself when I’ve used computer programs to count my calories. Below 1,600, my hunger is too intense, and food just finds its way into my mouth.)

Doing the calculation in the book, I should be at the 1,800 level. It sounds like a lot, but it’s a lot less than what most people eat, and what I had been eating. I’ve been experimenting with the 1,800 calorie meal plan, but sticking to SBD (Phase II) foods. I found that I was pretty close to 1,800 when following the SBD without counting. I think I will lose faster if I pay more attention to added fats and use the 1,800 calorie meal plan as a guide.

The 2nd book goes through the same skills as the first book, but spends less time on the earlier Days of The Beck Diet Solution (setting up your kitchen, etc.) and more on dealing with challenging situations and sabotaging thoughts. Response cards are more strongly worded, and there are more of them. I believe Dr. Beck found that some people need the extra motivation!

In The Beck Diet Solution, you start food journaling and dieting at the same time. In The Complete Beck Diet for Life, Dr. Beck has you working on the skill of planning and monitoring food in writing for a number of weeks before you start dieting. She wants you to master inflexible eating (writing down what you’re going to eat the night before and then eating exactly that) before even attempting to limit calories.

I know I still haven’t mastered inflexible eating, even though I’m writing down all my food and even though I’m dieting and have even lost 10 pounds. I found myself that inflexible eating is a separate skill from calorie counting when I planned a “cheat meal” in advance. Sure enough, when it came time to eat the cheat meal, I didn’t really want it and ordered something else! I have sabotaging thoughts around the idea of sticking to a plan, not the food itself!!

In both books, Dr. Beck talks a lot about the importance about having a plan for vacation eating. Specifically, decide in advance to have up to 300 extra calories a day on one or more of your vacation days. That’s one large cocktail OR one small dessert at ONE meal that day. That’s it. No other extra sugar, snacks, drinks, bread, or sauces. No wonder people gain weight on vacation! It’s so easy to allow “only” one piece from the bread basket, and a cocktail, and a glass of wine, and a bite of a shared dessert along with the grilled chicken and veggies, and be convinced that I’m still being “good.” But that’s way too many extra calories.

On my one-week vacation, I plan to eat the same as at home except at 3 special meals that I anticipate: Valentine’s Day, dinner with my parents, and perhaps a restaurant meal with my brother’s family. I’m bringing The Complete Beck Diet for Life along with me for both motivation and calorie counting.

My Internet access will be spotty, but I will post as often as I can to keep myself accountable.

When I get back, I have plans for this blog. I want to pretty up the design, add more pictures, and post my daily eating. Any other requests?