Dec 21, 2009

Day 17 - The Beck Diet Solution

I found Day 17 really interesting and I actually did the exercise 3 times!

Day 17 continues to focus on controlling overeating.  Beck defines overeating in two ways:

      1. If you eat any food in a greater quantity than you had planned.
      2. If you feel full partway through your meal but continue to finish it anyway, leading to a feeling overfullness.
To be honest, I'm still struggling with her definition of "unplanned eating" and these new definitions left me with more to think about.  Black and white thinker that I am, I immediately thought,"So if I eat two plates of salad instead of one, I'm overeating?"  According to this definition, yes.

I had a few days to think about this since I was so busy over the weekend, it just mulled and turned over in my head and then last night, about midnight, as I tried to fall asleep, I had an A-HA moment.

This book is about behaviours, not food.  The food is not the problem. Salad or chocolate are the same if the behaviour is detrimental to my well-being.  Overeating anything is bad because it's a control issue that is detrimental to my weight loss plan and ultimately my health. This is a heady concept.  I never think of myself as an overeater. I mean, when I think of overeaters, I think of people who binge or just keep eating and eating or closet eaters. I can recognize some of the characteristics of bingeing behaviour in myself, and I probably have binged without realising it.  I have eaten to the point I feel stuffed like a Christmas turkey though and for no good reason except the food was there and tasted good.    But, obviously I didn't get to 250 lbs by NOT overeating, so this chapter was really important to me.  I felt like I was really understanding, for the first time, how my behaviour needs to change.

The exercise was eye-opening and I admit before I did it, I didn't think I would learn anything from it.  The exercise is to put more food on your plate than you planned for and then not eat it, only eat what you had planned to eat.

Now, when I eat in restaurants, I do this all the time. I rarely finish a full serving at a restaurant because I know they're huge and double, or triple what I would eat at home, so I divide my food in half, eat half the plate and either leave the rest or take it home for later. I do this all the time, it's routine now, I've been doing it for several years. 

When I eat at home, I measure / weigh my food and put it on my plate.  Now those of you reading this, who are cringing thinking of this process for each meal - it's not that bad!!! I have serving spoons in 1/2 cup and 1 cup sizes that I use on the table and I preweigh my meat before cooking it or if I'm at someone else's home, I guesstimate!  It's not a big "Oh Enza's dieting, she has to measure her food thing" - it fits naturally into my routine now and does not draw attention to myself or my plate!

So...most of the time I eat everything on my plate because it's what I planned on eating. If I eat more, it is usually salad or vegetables and then I count it and move on.

Now Beck wants me to put MORE on my plate?  So I did. I put double helpings of everything. My plate looked full!!  Even my sons said, "Mom, are you hungry???" but I just smiled and didn't say anything. I divided my plate just like I do at a restaurant and ate my half.  Then pushed my plate a few inches away and continued chatting.  As I sat there, I found myself - not once, but twice - pick up my fork and take another bite. Why? Because it was in front of me. I was satisfied, I wasn't full, I wasn't hungry. It was just there!  I ended up pushing the plate further away from me until I got up from the table else I am convinced I would have eaten the whole plate without even realizing it.  I tried the experiment two more times and each time, I had an urge to reach out and take another bite, these times though I was very conscious of how I was feeling and didn't actually follow through.

Everyone was else was still eating while I wasn't, yet I had food in front of me - it felt wrong to not eat it, even though usually my plate is empty and I don't feel like I am "deprived".  I am not sure what that means, but it was an eye opener to learn.  This is definitely an experiment I'm going to continue 2-3 times a week to see if I can gain more insight into my habits.

Journalling my food here in this blog, just isn't working for me, I already do it on WW online tracker and also a pen/paper journal - so doing it here is just extra work and duplication so I won't be doing that but I will note whether or not I managed to stick to my plan each day.

Giving myself credit for:
1. Reading my response cards 2 x each day over a crazy busy weekend.
2. Doing this experiment and learning something from it.
3. Lots and lots of spontaneous exercise by walking everywhere possible instead of driving, this weekend.


  1. You've totally hit the nail on the head. It's about behaviours, not food. Good for you for doing that exercise. I couldn't do it.

  2. Great a-ha moment!

  3. Sounds like a great book, I should check it out!

  4. wow, nice post! I was raised in a "empty your plate" environment, so I find myself eating everything and going passed the full state. I'm seriously trying to work on it, but changing behaviour is truly hard! Good job on he post, I really enjoy these Beck updates!

  5. The more I hear about this book, the more I feel like I might get a copy after I have the baby. It sounds like it really addresses food feelings and behaviors, and SO MANY diet plans don't do that at all.