Carolyn has pretty much mastered the skill of working any food into her diet. Unlike a lot of dieters, she doesn’t have foods that are completely off-limits, and she doesn’t have certain foods that she labels either, “good” or “bad.” Instead, she has come to realize that any food can be eaten, as long as it’s worked into a daily plan (discussed on Day 2 of The Beck Diet Solution).
One of Carolyn’s favorite desserts is a special lemon cake she only buys at one store that she doesn’t get to very often. Carolyn had thought she would go to this store on Friday and then plan the cake into her meal plan for Saturday, as a weekend treat. However, Carolyn instead ended up going to the store and purchasing her lemon cake on Thursday, not Friday. When she got home with the cake, Carolyn knew both that she would be very tempted by it and that she hadn’t planned to eat it until Saturday. That night she was having all sorts of sabotaging thoughts that were urging her to eat the cake, “It’s ok to have just a small piece; it won’t really matter; it’s so good I can hardly resist.” (Day 25) Carolyn recognized, however, that even though she was craving it, it was important to not eat the cake, and not just because it would put her over her calorie limit for the day. If she gave in and ate the cake, she would weaken her resolve to resist cravings in the future. However, if she answered back to her sabotaging thoughts and didn’t give into her craving, she would build both her resolve to resist future cravings and the confidence to know that she can withstand them (Day 13).
Carolyn went immediately into the kitchen and put the cake on top of the refrigerator where she wouldn’t easily see it. She also went and read her Advantages List and reminded herself why it was so important for her to resist the cake and lose weight. She firmly told herself, “No choice, I am not going to eat the cake,” and within in minutes, her craving diminished. After Carolyn used these techniques to strengthen her resolve, it was no problem for her to resist the cake on Friday as well. She ate a piece on Saturday exactly as she had planned, and felt extremely happy and proud about it.