• 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.

Chinese food…Mai Tais…just typing the words is making me hungry. The craving actually started developing yesterday I think. Could have been triggered by walking past a Chinese restaurant this weekend. It really set in this morning, just after I made a solemn vow about stopping the wine that’s really not on my diet. Aaand now I’m craving not only fattening food, but alcohol. Hmmmmm. Sneaky, aren’t you, my little cravings?

Time to dig out the ol’ chart.


Winkie’s Cravings Rating Chart
Day/Time Discomfort Level (0 – 10) How Long Did it Last? Anti-Craving Techniques Used

12:00 PM

4 almost 2 hours Deciding not to eat the craved food; imagining the consequences of doing so (massive bloating, regaining weight that I’ve worked hard to lose); reading my advantages aloud; eating a planned snack that’s not a craving trigger; doing the breathing relaxation exercise; working


I think I’m out of the woods now. There’s something I’ve known about my cravings for a while. Most, not all, of the time, the sooner I give into a craving, the faster it goes away and the less food it takes. For example, if I craved chocolate, I’d eat a small piece to make the craving go away, and deduct the calories somewhere else. Just a bite of perfect chocolate would do it. By contrast, if I resisted the craving, it just got stronger. If I resisted the craving for 3 or 4 days, I’d not only be miserable for 3 or 4 days, the craving would grow to be truly irresistible, and it would take several ounces of chocolate before I came up for air. Trying to resist just didn’t seem worth it.

Other times, as with this Chinese craving I had, I know I’d eat a large amount of it. It’s as if the craving is for a quantity as well as a specific food.

Since I’m now overweight, I have to admit that my old strategy didn’t work in the long run! Dr. Beck’s strategy is to resist every craving, every time. I’m giving it my best shot.