Some dieters in our new class are struggling with giving themselves credit (discussed on Day 4 of The Beck Diet Solution), which is a very important skill. So many aspects of dieting are difficult—at first: withstanding cravings, making food plans, resisting emotional eating, turning down food pushers, etc. The more dieters do these things, the easier they become, but this only happens if they are able to give themselves credit. For example, every time a dieter resists a craving and praises herself, she builds up her confidence that she is capable of resisting cravings and she increases the likelihood that she’ll be able withstand the next craving she has. If she withstands a craving but doesn’t credit herself for it, then the next time she has a craving she won’t be sure she’ll be able to hold out and may struggle a lot more.
Dieters need to give themselves credit for every positive diet and exercise-related behaviors they do. For instance, every time they stop eating before they’re overfull (Day 18), get back on track after straying (Day 20), eat slowly and mindfully (Day 5), or do any kind of exercise (Day 9), they need to say something to themselves, such as “Great,” or “Good, I did it.” Many people who have struggled with their weight are hard on themselves and overly self-critical. By consciously recognizing the dozens of things they do right each day, dieters build up their self-confidence and awareness that they’re strong and in control.
At the beginning or end of each class we go around and have everyone tell some things they did in the past week that they deserve credit for. In the beginning it was difficult for some of our dieters to come up with credit-worthy behaviors, but because they’ve been practicing this—and hearing what the others say—throughout the past several weeks, they’re getting much better at it. They are also noticing that the things they consistently give themselves credit for (such as eating sitting down) are becoming easier and easier to do – and this is no coincidence!