Volume 4, Issue 2

Spring 2012



From Dr. Judith Beck

Welcome to the Spring 2012 Beck Diet Solution Newsletter!  We had a busy winter and we're happy to be ushering in the warmer weather.  Last month we held a Beck Diet Solution Workshop for Professionals and received very positive feedback.  We're now hard at work finalizing our next workshop - which is for dieters.  We hope to see you there!

From Deborah Beck Busis, LSW

With summer just around the corner, we know many dieters are anxious to really kick-start their efforts and begin dropping the pounds.  While it's great to be motivated, it's also important that dieters continue to have reasonable goals in mind - so that they don't become discouraged and risk giving up.  We hope this newsletter will not only help dieters set reasonable goals, but help them achieve those goals, too. 

Beck Diet Solution Workshop for Dieters

Have you ever had trouble consistently sticking to a diet? Have you ever struggled to lose weight only to gain it back? The reason you haven't been able to do this successfully is because you don't know how. In this one-day CBT workshop,  which is based on The Beck Diet Solution and The Complete Beck Diet for Life and designed for dieters, you will learn registerhow to make permanent changes in your thinking so that you can make permanent changes in your eating.
In This Issue
Common Thinking Mistakes
Ask the Diet Program Coordinator: Losing Weight for Summer
Best of Facebook
We Want to Hear from You!
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Common Thinking Errors

People who have difficulties in losing weight or keeping it off display a pattern of thinking errors that are associated with overeating.  We always tell our dieters: Just because you think something doesn't mean it's true.  Some common thinking errors (and helpful responses to them) include:


All-or-Nothing Thinking (when dieters see things as completely one way or the other when there is really a broad range in between)

Sabotaging Thought: Either I'm completely perfect on my diet or I've completely failed.

Helpful Response: No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. It doesn't make sense to let one mistake derail me completely. I just need to refocus, recover immediately, and then I'll be right back on track.


Self-Deluding Thinking (when dieters rationalize eating something they know they shouldn't)

Sabotaging Thought: It won't count if I eat this because nobody is watching.

Helpful Response: Of course it counts. Whenever I take in calories it counts. My body doesn't know or care whether or not I'm eating alone or in front of 100 people; it processes food the same way.


Discounting the Positive (when dieters unreasonably discount their positive actions or qualities and do not give themselves credit)

Sabotaging Thought: It doesn't matter that I'm now instituting positive eating behaviors; I should have been using these techniques all along.

Helpful Response: I couldn't have done these things; I didn't know how before. I deserve credit for every positive eating behavior, and giving myself the credit I deserve is crucially important in building up my confidence and sense of self-efficacy.


Negative Fortune-Telling (when dieters make a negative prediction without recognizing that it is not the only possible outcome)

Sabotaging Thought: I won't be able to resist eating desserts at the party so I might as well not even try.

Helpful Response: No one will force me to eat. I've stayed in control at other parties and I can do the same for this one if I prepare myself in advance, including using the skills I learned and planning to have a reasonable amount of dessert.  


Positive Fortune-Telling (dieters are overly optimistic about the most likely outcome)

Sabotaging Thought: I can get the larger bag of potato chips because I'll be able to have one serving, stop, and feel satisfied.

Helpful Response: History has shown me that stopping at one serving can be very difficult and I almost always want more. To save myself the mental struggle, it's worth it to get the smaller bag with only one serving.


Jumping to Conclusions (when dieters take one observation and assume it only has one possible implication)

Sabotaging Thought: Because I didn't lose weight this week, it must mean that this program isn't working for me.

Helpful Response: People just don't lose weight every single week, even if their eating has been exactly the same. There are a lot of physiological reasons why this is so.  I need a lot more data in order to see whether or not my weight loss has plateaued, and even if it has, there are things I can do to start making it go down again.


Mind Reading (when dieters are sure they know what others are thinking, even in the absence of compelling data)

Sabotaging Thought: Everyone will think negatively of me if I eat differently.

Helpful Response: It's actually likely that some people will be proud of me for losing weight and eating more healthfully. It's also likely that a lot of people won't even notice my eating at all, or if they do, they won't think about it one way or the other.  Losing weight is more important to me than trying to make sure that no one is critical.


Irrelevance (dieters link two unrelated concepts)

Sabotaging Thought: It's okay to eat this because I'm really upset.

Helpful Response: Just because I'm upset, it does not mean I need to eat. Yes, I do deserve to calm down and be comforted but I don't deserve to eat off track, feel bad about myself, and possibly gain weight. People without a weight problem manage to calm themselves down without turning to food and I can learn to do the same thing.


Adapted from The Beck Diet Solution Weight Loss Workbook. � J Beck, 2007.

Ask the Diet Program Coordinator

Deborah Beck Busis

Q: With summer just around the corner, I really want to lose a lot of weight quickly so that I can feel good about covering up less. I know that you encourage slow and steady weight loss, but I don't have enough time for that! What can I do?


 A: When dieters first come in to see us, many think, "I want this weight off forever, AND I want it off now!" This is no surprise.  It seems as though every women's magazine features, at one point or another, the ever popular "Lose 10 Pounds in 10 days. . . Without Changing Your Eating!" story. Unfortunately we've found, and we bet you have too, that when a claim like this sounds too good to be true, it's because it is too good to be true.


In fact, in our work with dieters, we spend the first few sessions teaching them and having them practice certain critical, foundational skills, before we ever focus on changing their eating. While some dieters lose some weight in the first few weeks of the program, some don't lose any weight at all.


How do we get dieters to accept a route that's slower than they'd like? We ask them to reflect on their dieting history. When they do, they invariably conclude that trying to lose weight quickly has always led them to gain weight back (or they wouldn't have come to us for help in the first place). We have found, over and over again, that when dieters try to make big changes in their eating while simultaneously working on the initial skills (like reading their Advantages List; reading Response Cards; eating everything sitting down, slowly, and mindfully; arranging their environments; giving themselves credit; and creating time and energy), they get pretty good at a lot of skills but they never fully master any of them. And how could they? Their focus is constantly pulled in too many different directions at once.


Failure to master skills means that they are unable to use these techniques during the times they need them most - that is, when dieting becomes more difficult (as it does, from time to time, for all dieters). Dieters also need to develop confidence in their ability to use these skills no matter what. If not, when they're in a rough spot, they're likely to become easily discouraged and just give up.


How do we help dieters cope with a rate of weight loss that seems rather slow?


We provide a strong rationale and create a "response card" for them to read on a regular basis. A typical card (individualized for each dieter) might say:



Once dieters absorb this message, they usually feel a sense of relief. The slow and steady approach makes sense. They recognize the necessity of preparing for the difficult times. And our emphasis on only making changes in their eating that they can keep up for life, helps them feel reassured that this time will be different. The process of losing weight and maintaining weight loss starts to feel much less daunting because they know they won't be making any drastic changes in their eating.


After a while, with repeated practice of essential skills, our dieters change their thinking about food and eating. Consequently, they are also able to change their new eating behaviors permanently. They recognize how great it feels to be in control of their eating, and how bad they feel when they lose control. They become convinced that they're losing weight the right way, and they are so relieved that they have learned how to avoid being at the mercy of their hunger and cravings.


So here's our advice to you: Make the commitment to get started right now. While the number you see on the scale at the start of summer may not be the number you're hoping for, you can still feel really great about yourself, your eating, and the progress you're making. And. . . if you take the time to really learn and master the skills necessary for permanent weight loss, you'll get to enjoy everything on your Advantages List, every summer to come.  


*For more segments of "Ask the Diet Program Coordinator," visit our Beck Diet Solution Blog


Do you have a question for the Diet Program Coordinator? Email us at info@beckdietsolution.com! 

Best of Facebook

If you were walking down a flight of stairs and stumbled down a few, would you then say "Well, I've blown it" and throw yourself down the rest? No! You would get back up and resume walking. If you stumbled this weekend, immediately pick yourself back up and start eating in a healthy way again.


 When you make a dieting mistake, it's helpful to NOT use the word "cheat" because "cheating" can have negative, sometimes moralistic undertones. If you make a mistake in dieting, it doesn't make you a bad person, it makes you a NORMAL person.


If you think, "I just don't want the burden of thinking about dieting," remind yourself: Eating healthfully is a burden, but being overweight is a burden, too (physically, psychologically, financially, etc.). EITHER WAY I'M BURDENED, but at least in one way I get to be thinner, healthier, and feel good about myself.


When dieters get off track, they often truly forget how good it feels to be in control of their eating. Therefore, the thought of getting back on track usually feels much more daunting and burdensome than it really is.  Once they're there, they feel so great about it.


If you think, "It's okay to eat this because I've been good all day and turned down many temptations," remind yourself that your body has no idea how many things you DIDN'T eat; it only knows what you do eat. Having said 'no' before doesn't automatically mean you can say 'yes' right now.


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We Want to Hear from You!

We are always so inspired by stories of people finally finding success with the help of the Beck Diet Solution, and we know others are too. If you have any inspirational stories, pictures, or thoughts about what worked best for you, please send them in to us (dietprogram@beckinstitute.org). Also, make sure to include whether or not we have your permission to reprint your story and if so, whether or not we should print your full name, first name only, or change your name. Thanks!