The Beck Diet Solution for years--ever since it came out in, oh, 2007? The book is meant to be a 6-week cognitive therapy program that helps you to stick with the diet plan of your own choosing, and it's organized by the day. You're supposed to read the couple of pages each day and do the tasks. I started it numerous times, and then kind of forgot about it by Day 3 or 4--and being the perfectionist that I am, I couldn't imagine starting where I left off, or reading ahead and doing more than the assigned day.
From what I DID read, however, it sounded like such a great program to help me MENTALLY take care of my binge eating. So a couple of weeks ago, I picked it up and started reading again. And this time, I read ahead as far as I pleased, and then did the assignments up to that point. Each day, I've read one assignment, or three, or sometimes not any at all. And I'm really loving this book!
Yesterday's assignment was challenging. First, I had to make a "discomfort scale"... Make a list of levels 0-10 (0 being the least discomfort, 10 being the most), and put a label to each number of an experience that I've had. For example:
0- When Jerry gives me a massage (no discomfort at all)
3- Getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist.
5- Calling someone on the phone (this is something that causes me anxiety and I feel pretty uncomfortable doing it, but I will if it's necessary.
10- Flying in an airplane (the most discomfort I could possibly feel, avoid at all costs)
And I filled in all the other numbers as well, but you get the picture. That was the easy part of the assignment. Then, I was supposed to skip lunch. I was to eat breakfast, and then not eat again until dinner. Now, this is NOT a weight loss technique, so don't tell me that it's horrible to skip meals. The point of the assignment was to realize that a little hunger once in a while isn't going to kill you. The world doesn't end if you have to wait an extra hour or two for dinner. Throughout the day, each hour, I had to assess my discomfort on a scale of 0-10, using the scale I made as a reference.
I felt uncomfortable just READING the assignment... skipping lunch?! I haven't done that in a looong time. I don't skip meals--I love eating!! Which is why this assignment was really good for me in the long run. I tried to stay busy, but I was really starting to feel hungry at 11:30 (I usually eat lunch at around 11 or 11:30). We eat dinner at about 4 when Jerry is on nights, like he is now. So between 11 and 4, I assessed my discomfort every hour. It went like this:
4:00- 2; ate dinner
Keep in mind, it wasn't my HUNGER level--I was assessing my DISCOMFORT. So my discomfort really wasn't all that bad. Yes, it was nagging, but it wasn't as bad as making a phone call, or flying in an airplane. It was about the same discomfort as going to the dentist.
I'm really glad that I did this exercise. It made me put hunger into perspective, and realize that eating isn't the MOST important part of my day ;)
Today's assignment is about overcoming cravings, which is definitely right up my alley. I will probably have to spend a few days working on it! I think my favorite part of this book is that each section has a "what are you thinking?" at the end, where it lists sabotaging thoughts you might have and a helpful response to those thoughts. For example, from today's:
Sabotaging thought: "Why should I deliberately make myself feel uncomfortable by skipping lunch?"
Helpful response: "I need to experience hunger to decrease my fear of it. This experiment will help reduce my anxiety about hunger in the future. The best way to get over my fear is to face it. This experiment will strengthen me for the next time I'm hungry and it's not time to eat."
I may write more about this book as I get farther into it, but so far, I really like it. I really want to work on my mental barriers as far as controlling my weight goes, and I think this will be really helpful.
Have you read The Beck Diet Solution (in its entirety)? I should have read the whole thing back in 2007 when I bought it, but I don't know if it would have helped as much as it will now. I was too impatient then; now that I've lost the weight, I'll do whatever it takes to gain control over my binge eating.