Willpower can not be bought in a book. That’s why diet books are such incredible money makers–they just keep failing and we move on to the next one, hoping that the magic cure will make us thin and sexy forever. You already know the magic formula. We all do. Burn more than you eat. Vegetables are better than Twinkies. Eat like your grandmother told you to. The problem isn’t that it’s hard to understand these principles, it’s that it’s hard to stick with them.
Temptation is everywhere and we lack the skills to fight back. We have a host of thoughts and beliefs that get in our way. At 7 am, we are all about egg whites and whole wheat toast, but by 4:30, we want Pop Tarts. “I deserve them,” we might think. Or, “Oh, I just have no willpower.” How convenient.
These automatic thoughts sabotage our efforts. Whether you follow basic principles of good nutrition, or follow a fad diet (or two or three), they will always be there to take you down. We need to shut them up.
That brings me to the one and only diet book you’ll ever need: The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person by Judith Beck.
Beck uses the principles of cognitive therapy to train people to fight back and reclaim their own thoughts.
In an interview with SmartBrains, Beck explains some of the principles of her program:
1. Plan in advance. “A typical reason for diet failure is a strong preference for spontaneity. I ask people to prepare a plan and then I teach them the skills to stick to it.”
2. Write down responses to sabotaging thoughts, such as “It’s not fair that I can’t eat whatever I want.
3. Learn to tolerate hunger and craving. She makes an interesting physical distinction. Hunger, she explains, is felt in the stomach. If you feel it in your mouth and throat, it’s most likely a craving. And it’s not going to kill you.
Personally, my favorite suggestion is to write down why you want to eat healthy, or lose weight, or exercise more. Read it several times a time so it’s always in your mind. You could put a paper in your wallet, or schedule a reminder on your phone–especially right around times that you know you’ll struggle.
If you have the book or have read it, let me know what you think. Do you have any tricks or tips that help you stay on track?