It’s summer! It’s that time of year when temperatures rise, clothing covers less, and thoughts turn to having the perfect “swimsuit” body and that favorite of four-letter-words: DIET. While there are a multitude of books available promoting weight loss; most are based on unhealthy fads that do not translate into long-term weight loss. Most of these tomes tell what magical mixture of foods, or lack thereof, will cause the pounds to melt away. The only problem is that, once you return to your normal pattern of eating, the pounds find their way back home and bring their friends. A few years ago, I was faced with a diagnosis of diabetes and the reality of needing to lose 35 pounds on a permanent basis. I set out to find a way to change not only my eating habits but, most importantly, how I thought about food. Fortunately, I discovered Dr. Judith Beck’s “The Beck Diet Solution.”
Dr. Beck’s book seems unique in the weight loss genre: it doesn’t suggest any particular diet or exercise program. It promises to work with ANY healthy diet and exercise plan. This book uses techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (a mental health technique created by her father, Dr. Aaron Beck, to treat depression) to identify the distorted thoughts that keep one from being motivated, disciplined, and successful. Dr. Beck’s book goes beyond “eat less and move more” and teaches how to do so when you don’t want to or when it’s not easy. People who struggle with their weight, says Beck, all have one thing in common: They don’t know how to think like a thin person – their behavior, mindset, lifestyle, and habits all sabotage their best intentions. For example, she writes, people often have thoughts such as “I know I shouldn’t eat this, but I don’t care,” or “It’s okay if I eat [this food] just this one time.” Permanent weight control requires a life long change in thoughts and attitudes while dealing with such sabotaging habits and behaviors. Three years later, I’ve been able to maintain the 35 lb. weight loss I achieved using her techniques. So before you sign up for hormone weight-loss shots or some other fad diet de jour, consider checking out “The Beck Diet Solution” and see if there are some sabotaging thoughts that are derailing your best intents and efforts. While you won’t drop “7 pounds in 7 days”, it certainly is more palatable than Dolly Parton soup and grapefruit for every meal.