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Starting My "Diet" (Still Hate That Word): Beck Day 15

Saturday, February 12, 2011

OK, after 2 weeks of preparation, this is day 15 and the official "start" of the "diet".

I'm ready.

Much to my glee and pleasure, I discovered late yesterday that not only can I track ahead (yesterday for today) my nutrition -- so meeting the Beck "planning" requirement with a minimum of paperwork-- I can also track ahead my exercise. The SP trackers are sooo useful with the Beck program!! So, clocked in my planned cross country ski yesterday which will be happening at about 10 a.m: I expect about 90 minutes!

If I don't eat something on my nutrition tracker, I can delete it. If I do eat something unplanned, I can add it -- to snacks. And ditto exercise. So this is going to work really well.

Got up early early -- weighed myself and changed my tracker to 156, which is 1 pound over my goal weight and within my maintenance range -- so not optimal, but not bad. Although of course what I want to do is level out maintenance and possibly move to a lower sustainable maintenance level.

I got up early, have the laundry just about done, prepared a spectacular looking pot of chicken barley mushroom soup without nibbling on anything!! No eating standing up.

Had 3 cups of coffee (one for TEENIE BIKINI!) and read the Globe and Mail, my fave Toronto newspaper, while the laundry whirled around and the soup simmered.

And then, exactly as clocked in yesterday right down to the olive oil Pam spray, prepared my omelette with feta and spinach and Greek seasoning and salsa on the side: so flavourful. I'm stepping up my protein (within calorie range, of course) to try and improve satiety levels. Have a tendency not to hit my protein levels!!

I've taken the new Response Cards out of the workbook: read them through and added them to the stack I'm keeping in my wallet (in a sandwich size baggy, along with the earlier cards and my "reasons for losing weight" card and a few home made ones, such as "hide the chips, peanut butter and cheese"!!)

The new cards include:

10. "If I'm hungry after a meal, don't worry, it may take 20 minutes to feel full." I do feel full right now after my breakfast.

11. "No excuses. Just because I want to eat doesn't mean I should". I wanted to try just a small taste of my new soup, had the ladle out and a tiny tiny sampling bowl. But a taste of soup before breakfast wasn't on my meal plan for today. So I put the bowl and the ladle back. And gave myself credit for that!!

12. "Resistance habit. EVERY TIME i eat something I'm not supposed to, I strengthen my giving-in habit. EVERY TIME I don't give in, I strengthen my resistance habit". Having that tiny bowl of soup would probably not have significantly affected my calorie total for the day. But that's not the point: the point is, giving in would have strengthened my giving in habit.

13. "I can't have it both ways. I can be loose with my eating OR I can be thinner. I can't be both". So, I didn't lick the salsa spoon while standing up. And I don't eat the crumbs of feta cheese on the knife while standing up. I threw them out. Yeah.

14. "It's not okay. It's NOT OKAY to eat this. I'm going to be very sorry if I do". Useful card, I'm sure, when I'm at the club for lunch today after skiing and desserts are offered. It's not going to be okay. I'll take a trip to the ladies' room and pull out the card and read it if I need to.

15. "I'll care later. I may not care right now, but I will care a LOT when I get on the scale". Yeah. I really do care a lot when I get on the scale. And will be happy to see it even .5 pounds lower a week from now.

16. "I'd rather be thinner. Being thinner is SO much more important to me than eating this food". So true. And great to have the reminder at hand, as needed.

17. "NO CHOICE. NO CHOICE. NO CHOICE." Beck points out that people are very resistant to planning their food daily ahead of time. But that planning means you are no longer faced with the repeated agony of making decisions all day long. "What do I feel like eating now?". "Is it OK to have the chocolate mousse just this once? I'd really like to. Yes. No. Yes. No. All right, what the heck, I will." That's what's tough: having to make decisions all day long. And hating yourself when you make the wrong choices. So much eaiser to have the decisions already made, by pre-planning. And then remind myself, there is NO CHOICE. This is a huge one, for me. Huge. Why is "spontaneous eating" such a highly rated value -- central to our sense of liberty/autonomy/individuality -- but spontaneous exercise not nearly as appealing? Hmmm. I'm going to express my freedom to be unplanned with as much spontaneous exercise as possible, instead of indulging in spontaneous food choices!!

I'm loving this Beck approach. For the first time in my life, I really believe I'm going to learn to think like a thin person!!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 2/21/2011 8:05AM

    Wow! hmmm maybe I do want to pick up this book afterall!! I do the YES NO YES NO YES and MAYBE's allll the time!

WAY TO GO!! Sorry I missed DAY 1 of the official *diet*.....you are doing GREAT!!!

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MSSNOWY 2/13/2011 10:22AM

    Sounds like you've got good plans. I will consider this. I do find nutrition tracking very useful. When I get sloppy is when the weight goes back on. And if you are 1 pound over your target weight, you are certainly going to nip any gains in the bud. Good for you!

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TRYINGHARD1948 2/12/2011 6:27PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

I am so impressed Ellen, gold stars all the way. All the very best, I know you can do it.

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CMB2048 2/12/2011 4:09PM

    I'm just about ready to buy this book and workbook!!!

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TBANMAN 2/12/2011 11:26AM

    12. "Resistance habit. EVERY TIME i eat something I'm not supposed to, I strengthen my giving-in habit. EVERY TIME I don't give in, I strengthen my resistance habit".

Wow. Wowie wowie double wow. Does that ever resonate with me. Especially after "giving in" to the craving to have a small cup of cajun snack mix last night. Not only did I have it, but I opened the package to get it, which means it's that much easier to eat now.

I love love love this!

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PENNYAN45 2/12/2011 9:17AM

    Good for you!

Determination and planning - should go a long way toward your goals.

I personally hate planning food and meals ahead, but number 17 above rings very true to me. I will be very curious to see how it all works for you. Then perhaps I'll be convinced to try planning more too.

Go for it! I wish you well on your diet!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Planning for Tomorrow: Beck Day 14

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yesterday's distractions worked very well: in fact, I was so busy at work that I really did not experience anything more than mild hunger, and did not need to seek out deliberate distractions. But I'm glad to know about that technique and I've got my list (on a card) for when I need it). Had a professional "cocktailes" type thing last evening and managed to restrict my intake to one Virgin Mary (looks just like a Bloody Mary, basically tomato juice and lime wedge over ice with a salt rim) and even had it sitting down!! Left before the snackies came out, feeling I had been sufficiently convivial!!

Got to the gym this morning for my third time this week, as planned: 32 minutes on the elliptical, 400 calories; upper body free weights work out, abs, stretch: I feel terrific!

Today is all about planning for tomorrow! I'm supposed to log my food and exercise for tomorrow, and get ready for my first official "weigh". I know that I'm about 3 pounds more than my ticker weight of 153 -- and that's well within the maintenance range I've been allowing myself. . But of course part of the purpose of Beck for me is to level out the maintenance range and also to see if I can sustain (not achieve) a lower maintenance range.

Much to my pleasure, I discovered (for the first time) that the nutrition tracker will permit me to forward and put in my food in advance -- so I'm going to plan my food for tomorrow on SP this evening. Breakfast will be an omelette with spinach, low fat feta, salsa on the side. I'll be cross country skiing in the morning, then having lunch with friends at the club -- .can't know exactly what's on the menu, but I will select a salad with grilled chicken and black coffee, dressing on the side -- so I can estimate that with reasonable accuracy. Supper will be soup; home made chicken veggie (supposing I find time to make it, since last week's chili will be gone with my supper this evening).

Because I pretty much eat the same things every day, the advance planning of the food is not such a big deal for me -- and SP makes it so much easier than doing it on paper. SP and Beck: together, a terrific combo!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRYINGHARD1948 2/11/2011 10:41PM

    You are definitely doing it. emoticon

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JHADZHIA 2/11/2011 9:57PM

    You are doing so well!! I eat pretty much the same things too, so not much planning needed, I make good use of the food groupings!
Keep up the fabulous work!!

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SLENDERELLA61 2/11/2011 4:06PM

    Congratulations on yesterday!! Getting through that hungry time is a real accomplishment. That is great you didn't even have to work hard to distract yourself. Your ability to recognize and deal with hunger is strong. Your goal to maintain steadily with only minor fluctuations looks very reasonable given your skills!!

Meal planning for me is a challenge. I need to spend a little more time to do it better. I know that planning up front is my best chance of optimizing my nutrition and maintaining my weight. I did plan 15 evenings in a row and ate with very little deviation. (My worst was a 180 calorie treat unplanned. One other time I had 15 calories worth of coffee creamer unplanned. Another time I had 10 calories worth of Carb Well BBQ sauce because my meal just seemed so boringly plain. The other 12 days I do believe I was 100%.) Last night I failed to plan, but will get back to it.

I think the way you estimate what you are going to eat is great!! I do something similar. Once I was going out and I just wrote down "eating out - up to 480 calories" and then did my best to estimate.

Best wishes for a good weigh in experience tomorrow and a very enjoyable cross country skiing expedition!!! You are doing great!!

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CRYSTALJEM 2/11/2011 12:15PM

    Planning meals, not my favourite, but sparkpeople and sparkrecipes really does make it a lot easier when I'm not in the mood. That's when I cheat for the fast stuff. Now I can make fast healthy stuff without having to work my brain too hard at the time of day when my mind doesn't want to deal with it. Well done.

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FROSTIERACES 2/11/2011 10:49AM

    Meal planning is a huge challenge for me. I just don't like to do it much at all. I will plan supper for the kids/hubby...but what I'm eating throughout the day...I never want to plan that. I know if I did...it would help tremendously. I love reading about this...it's inspiring.

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FREELADY 2/11/2011 10:40AM

    Your path encourages me so much. Though I'm far from goal, I do think about maintenance because I'm determined to make this healthy voyage permanent. I love watching you walk through it and think through it; thanks for showing me HOW, and letting me see IT CAN BE DONE!!

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Distracting Myself From Hunger and Cravings: Beck Day 13

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hmm. Yesterday's lunch skipping went pretty well; I was aware of hunger from about 11 am on but it was "mild" discomfort", intermitent (forgot about it while I was working), and certainly not unbearable. I've experienced much much more severe discomfort too many times to count. Really.

I did have supper (soup) a little early -- at about 5:45!!
Key message for me: "normal" thin-thinking people experience hunger every day without considering it an emergency. They just wait for the next meal. Thinking thin is not about eliminating hunger.

Today the idea is to develop a list of distraction techniques to better withstand hunger and cravings. When you wnat to eat something unplanned, you look to the list of distraction techniques and choose up to five activities -- and then rate the activities on their effectiveness in distracting your obsession with hunger and cravings.

Some of the suggested distraction techniques look more effective to me than others. I did read my list of reasons to lost weight quite a few times yesterday. And reread my response cards too!!. Polishing my nails, tidying out drawers, taking on a home decorating project: probably not for me. More appealing ideas include drinking a low cal beverage (yay black coffee!!), going to the gym (like this one), brushing my teeth (always good: then I hate to eat and "dirty them up"!), taking a walk or a bath, patting the dog, and so on. Tried and tested distraction techniques of my own include going shopping just to try on smaller sizes (love this one), shovelling snow (I need to check the walks at work for liaiblity reasons), golfing or cross country skiing in season, wandering around my garden (this is terrific, winter or summer). And of course Spark is a great distraction, especially the motivational stories.

So many entries on Spark are concerned with lack of motivation, or lack of "will power" to withstand temptation. I know that I don't have motivation until after I've done what I need to do: motivation never seeks me out, it's always after-acquired. I know that I can't resist temptation, so I have to eliminate it (throw the food out, hide it, not bring it into the house in the first place -- all recommended by Beck).

Beck really does provide cognitive strategies to deal with these issues. It's not about the "diet"; any reasonable eating and exercise plan is going to work.. It's about sticking with the plan, and learning the techniques that make it possible to stick with the plan. It's taking a lot of time and effort right now, but I'm grateful for the reinforcement and for the additional strategies to deal with what is going to be a life long challenge for me. And although I'm reconciled to the reality this will be a life long challenge, I'm also developing some optimism that it's going to get a bit easier when these strategies become second-nature.

Thanks, Judith S.!! And thanks, SLENDERELLA61, for introducing me!!.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 2/11/2011 10:44AM

    Wonderful distractions you have listed. I know all about distractions...for a variety of reasons that I have to use them and sometimes it is hard but you're right..when you let yourself...keyword *let* yourself truly be distracted the hunger pains do vanish. It's the cycling back that gets me...lol - oh that's right distract again. I think you're doing amazing and wow, what healthy eating knowledge. Awesome!!

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TRYINGHARD1948 2/11/2011 4:32AM

    I've also found having a grand project very good at keeping my mind from thinking about food. At the moment, making curtains and refurbishing the house is taking quite a lot of time up and will do so for the rest of the year. Hopefully by then I will lose this couple of kilos that just seem to sit there forever. All the best with your distractions. emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 2/10/2011 10:22AM

    Yes, yes, yes!! It is going to become easier and second nature to us. I can feel some of the changes happening. I expect challenges will arise from time to time when we'll have to figure out a new distrction method or other technique. I suspect this program is a keeper, to review many times.

So glad your day of purposely experiencing hunger went so well!! You are truly doing great!!

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LUNADRAGON 2/10/2011 9:17AM

    Very cool ideas, thank you!

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JHADZHIA 2/10/2011 9:07AM

    Brushing and flossing my teeth is the biggest distraction. Its such a struggle with my arthritic fingers, that I do NOT want to do it again. So I never snack after my supper because of this.. But during the day its worse, especially coming home from the club at 4 pm is when I get my biggest snacking urge..I always drink water as soon as I get home, but it doesn't always work.. Shopping is doable, but the mall (the only shopping near me) has all those nasty food court odors that don't help lol.
Good luck with this, its tough all right..

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GROEDER 2/10/2011 8:36AM

    I just got my copy of the book. I am so glad you posted about it. Now I am going to add learning from it to my "tools" to stay healthy.
Thanks again.

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Tolerating Hunger and Cravings: Beck Day 12

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The essential lesson today is that hunger is not an emergency, and that is because hunger is not even very uncomfortable.

Beck asks us to think about past experiences of severe discomfort (for me, day after recovery from various surgeries); moderate discomfort (toe nail removal); and mild discomfort (achiness after cross country skiing).

She then suggests that we eat a normal breakfast, skip lunch, and not eat again until dinner time. The purpose of this exercise is to track on the hour how much "discomfort" (not "hunger") we experience (severe, moderate, mild) and also how long that discomfort actually lasts.

Those of us who struggle with weight tend to think of hunger as a hugely oppressive emergency which must be alleviated immediately. But in fact, she says even severe hunger constitutes only moderate discomfort and the sensation of hunger-discomfort doesn't last very long whether we eat or not.

Yesterday's monitoring of hunger, desire and cravings was very interesting. I was hungry only at one point, 11 a.m., and told myself that it was just an hour until lunch. I did not experience any desire to eat or any cravings all day (maybe because I'd organized my environment and hidden the peanut butter!! DH and son are being very very kind about putting it back out of sight after they use it!!).

Got to the gym this morning for full cardio and upper body weights workout: I'm feeling great. Had a high protein breakfast of omelette with 2 Omega eggs, arugula, lean turkey, salsa plus fat free sugar free yogourt and blackberries, blueberries, strawberries. A lot of satisfaction, I'm hoping, since it's going to last me until supper time. Not taking any lunch salads with me today !

Beck is providing an excellent training in learning how to think differently. Much like when I returned to school and had to learn to think "law", I'm finding my mind running in different grooves.

Hunger is not an emergency!! It's not even severe discomfort! I've experienced much more hunger than is likely to arise on missing one lunch: and I've experienced much more discomfort.

One thing that Beck does not fully consider here -- psychic discomfort. I believe this chapter could have been strengthened had she taken that into consideration. Because for most of us struggling with weight loss/weight loss maintenance, it's the "psychic discomfort" (not the physical discomfort) which does us in. However, having read ahead, I'm thinking she tackles this component with her cognitive strategies for dealing with sabotaging thoughts: one hurdle at a time!!

My other thought: a week of practising some of the key skills (sitting down while eating, tolerating hunger) before moving on might be even better. But of course I can do that, if I choose to: and depending on how things go today, I just may slow down and repeat. Sabotaging thoughts will also be a biggy for me!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLENDERELLA61 2/9/2011 9:07PM

    Your recognizing hunger day must have gone really well. Good for you!!

I can't wait to hear how your no-eating-day went. I found I learned so much during my day of no eating. I gained so much confidence in my ability to handle food and no food. Over a week later, I still feel changed!

I lost over 80 pounds by eating many small meals, the most satisfying foods I could find, drinking lots and lots of water and low calorie drinks, and avoiding hunger like the plague. Finding that actually I can tolerate hunger and that it does not cause me to binge was tremendously freeing.

Wishing you a continued journey of health, learning, and discovery!!

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CRYSTALJEM 2/9/2011 2:20PM

    Your breakfast sounded wonderful, and it's so nice that your family is so supportive. I've just been doing the same type of exercise I've realized. I've noticed that you are exactly right. I'm already feeling better, even though at times I feel a little hungry, I'm easily distracted. (I'm not sure exactly what that says about me on one hand!).

A friend gave me a great tip years ago when she lost an astounding amount of weight seemingly effortlessly (I know it wasn't effortless at all). She told me she kept a huge bowl of lettuce, nice crisp romaine, washed and ready in the fridge. Anytime hunger got the best of her she allowed herself to snack on the crisp leaves or stems as much as she wanted. But that was it, other than her regularly planned snacks and meals. She said it really helped, it took her mind off of the hunger and allowed herself to say "yes" to her hunger without feeling controlled by it. I've tried it and I've found it very helpful. I've noticed when I don't have a bowl prepped in the fridge, I tend to find something else to snack on.

This week I've eaten healthy meals so far and really curbed my snacking - what a difference on how I already feel (only day 3) and what my caloric intake is by comparison. If that doesn't motivate me for the rest of the week don't know what will!


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JOHAL52 2/9/2011 1:52PM

    emoticon - you are doing great!! And your breakfast sounded yummy, wish I could have joined you. Oh, yes, you are in winter. Maybe in the summer emoticon.

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PHEBESS 2/9/2011 11:24AM

    I'm glad it works for you. Really, I can't imagine it, because my body wouldn't be able to do that. Seriously.

I often wonder about people with normal metabolism and all. I have low blood sugar, and my body lets me know when it needs food, often before I'm hungry. So my indicators (cold sweat, dizzy, spacey, unable to think, even nausea) are nonexistent for most people - sort of a strange concept, when one becomes so used to those feelings.

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JHADZHIA 2/9/2011 8:50AM

    Awesome breakfast! I usually have a big breakfast, and don't even feel like eating at lunch quite often. My problem is rushing my meals and rarely sitting down to eat them slowly. Too long living alone as a bachelor. Eat and run is engraved in me lol.
I eat only out of boredom, rarely because I feel hungry..
Good luck with it.

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Hunger, Desire and Cravings: Beck Day 11

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Learning to distinguigh among hunger, desire and craving for food is going to be very important for me.

Hunger is a physical sensation in the stomach -- rumbling, emptiness -- when I have not eaten for 3 hours or more.

Desire is simply the inclination to continue eating, even though I've had a reasonable meal.

And craving is that tension and yearning for food, experienced in the mouth or throat or body, even though I might actually be "full": potato chips, I yearn for!!

OK: how do I learn how to differentiate among these sensations? Again, Beck provides a cognitive stragegy: monitor for a complete day (I should be doing this much more regularly) every hour on the hour by asking myself the question: Do I feel like eating now?

Identify the bodily sensation: is it hunger, desire or out-and-out craving? And label it accordingly.

Dieting (still not a word I like) will be easier when I learn to distinguish among hunger, desire and craving. I do not need to eat when I'm experiencing desire, or craving. And even hunger is not an emergency!! I can wait it out until it's time to eat.

I will be monitoring today. Right now, I've just had my breakfast of oatmeal, flax, raisins, 1% milk and I do not feel like eating now. I am pleasantly full! And have my salad with low fat feta cheese and my chopped fruit ready for my lunch, my pot of chili soup in the fridge ready for dinner (with yogourt and berries).

Here goes Day 11 -- together with sitting down while eating, this is right at the heart of the cognitive training for me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CMB2048 2/8/2011 5:18PM

    Yep, I'm a "desire" gal. Wish it weren't true but one of my problems is I love to eat and eat when I am not hungry. I do get cravings though at times, especially for peanut butter!

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JHADZHIA 2/8/2011 9:57AM

    Great summary! This is the biggest challenge most people face on a healthy lifestyle especially all the temptations out there. Craving is my problem, which is why I must make sure nothing tempting comes into my house..
Good luck with it!! Your meals sound great for the day :)

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SLENDERELLA61 2/8/2011 8:57AM

    You are doing great!! You have summarized the chapter perfectly and are on track to learn this important lesson. Good for you!!

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SERENE_ME 2/8/2011 8:25AM

    I knew you'd write about this! My issue is almost totally with desire - hunger I take care of regularly and cravings have pretty much disappeared over time but the DESIRE - that's the one I have to really watch out for!!

Thanks for this!

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AUNTB63 2/8/2011 7:59AM

    Best of luck to you on this journey of a healthier lifestyle. You seem to have a plan that with a little practice will put you on the right track. You've put thought into what your actions are going to be..........well done. Have a great day. emoticon

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