September 05, 2011

The Beck Diet Solution

I've had the book 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:
11:00- 1
Noon-  3
1:00-   4
2:00-   3
3:00-   1
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.


  1. One of the biggest changes for me on this journey has been to realize that some hunger is okay. I no longer plan my days around food, and I don't fear that I'm going to get stuck without something to eat. Back when I was a teenager, I never thought about food that way. It was only after my first tooth infection and the hypoglycemia that developed afterwards that I started to think constantly about food and when/where I could get it, to make sure I didn't end up in a situation where my blood sugar dropped. I hated living like that. Even a year after the infections were cleared out, I still thought that way, and it wasn't until this year that I finally escaped that mentality.

  2. I have never read nor heard about this book until you mentioned it. I would love to not have food be in the forefront of my mind pretty much all day. Now that I have lost all of this weight, I seem to be even more fixated on food because my caloric allotment for the day is SO much lower! My husband has never had an issue with food or his weight. He's actually UNDERweight at 6' tall, 150 pounds (soaking wet!). He eats when he's hungry; he eats what he wants. He might decide to sit down and eat half a bag of chips as a meal and be done. He might actually get busy (working or playing video games) and FORGET TO EAT! I can't fathom that!

    Feeling the discomfort of hunger is good to get yourself in touch with the actual feeling of hunger. I know a lot of us don't know what it feels like because we are so trained to eat at certain times of the day. I'm sure this technique would work with other anxieties as well. How did you manage to get yourself to fly with your brother on that little itty-bitty airplane? Drugs?

  3. Sound pretty interesting, thanks for the post, I just might have to look more into this book!!!

  4. I have the Beck Diet and I recommend it to everyone I know. It isn't a "diet" book at all. :) I revisit the book regularly for a "shot in the arm". It helps a great deal with the mental aspect of dieting which is 90% of the battle.

  5. Sounds like a great book. I wonder if I could get on Kindle, cause then I could read it at work? It seems like it could really help. I used to avoid hunger at all costs (which meant I constantly ate), and also the feeling of being winded, like from too much physical exertion (so I never moved much). Now I realize neither feeling will kill me, in fact it's good for me. Thanks for the suggestion and good luck with it!

  6. I read this book and it was helpful. That skipping meal exercise was horrible for me. I don't do well with skipping meals because I end up going off a cliff and overeating. I am very conscious of hunger. It did help me realize that it is okay to be hungry at times. Sometimes I forget that and feel like I always need to feed myself.

  7. Wow that book sounds interesting! I may have to read it. Food basically controls my life now. I plan what I'm going to do around my meals and what I will eat. It's very exhausting. As soon as I finish one meal I am thinking about the next. I've lost 75 lbs now and I think about food way more now than I ever did when I was overweight. Some of the people closest to me think I have a problem and I just say I'm keeping myself on track, but secretly I know this is a problem. I cannot do and think like this for the rest of my life! The mental part of dieting is the biggest struggle!

  8. This sounds really neat and helpful! I hope you do post more about this book. :) I'm going to see if my library has a copy. Thanks!

    Hey, I know you do an Indy half every year. Do you live near there? At my Indy half this past weekend, I received a card for a free haircut at Paul Mitchell The School Indianapolis. It's good for first-time guests only, and it's only valid on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Are you interested?

  9. I did the same thing. I bought it, started it a few times and then stopped. I am also a perfectionist so I felt like each time I had to start brand new. New index cards, etc. Last week the book popped in my head. I know how to eat healthy to lose. I know how to exercise healthy to lose. It's the mental part that breaks me every single time. I get to a point then the old me comes back. I thought about giving the book another try. I think I will unpack it and since my DD starts school again tomorrow and that gives me a little free time while my DS naps.

  10. That book sounds very interesting I think I'll give that discomfort list a try!

  11. Very interesting post. I've gotta say, though, that I can't believe you rate going to the dentist at only a 3! I absolutely HATE the dentist!

  12. This sounds like exactly what I need! I just ordered it - hopefully it helps me with the mental side of this journey I am on because lately I have been thinking it is just one large head game.

  13. LoveAnAnimalSeptember 07, 2011

    I placed an on-line order for "The Beck Diet Solution". Thanks for sharing!

  14. I ordered the book yesterday morning from Amazon! I can't wait to get it and start reading. Thanks for the info on it. It seems really interesting and hopefully useful for me.

    You are doing so great Katie. That dress will look fantastic on you!!!

  15. I had never heard of this book, but I think it is just what I need. Thanks for sharing!!

    Congrats on the dress!!! I am sure you will look fabulous!

  16. I read this blog while in Houston last week for work. I spent every day at my customer's office where we were super busy. It was hard to find time to break away for a meal or snack. There were a couple of instances when I was starting to feel a little bitchy about being hungry and then I remembered your blog and stopped to think. I tried to relate the feeling of discomfort like you did above and it totally worked. I'm downloading the book on my Kindle as I type this. Thanks for sharing!!!


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