I probably quit this program in the same place that 99% of other people who picked up the book quit: Day 14.
Why Day 14?
Today, you're going to write a food plan that includes everything you're going to eat tomorrow. And, tomorrow, you'll check off whatever you eat that's on the plan and write down any food you eat that isn't on the plan.Let's put it this way. My "sabotaging thoughts" about this were not argued away by Beck's very reasonable discussion of why this was a good idea. I understand why planning ahead is a great idea, I just don't want to do it. The exact reason it's a good idea is the reason I don't want to: It prevents spontaneous decisions about food. If something unplanned comes up, what you're supposed to do is say "Oh Well" and wait until you get a chance to eat the food you've planned.
You'll continue to plan and monitor your eating in writing every day for many weeks and months, possibly until you've lost all the weight you want -- and maybe even beyond.
In some sense, I already do plan my food. I eat the same breakfast almost every day. I often plan my dinners at the beginning of the week. But I want the option to respond to a situation that comes up, as long as I make it fit with my points. Yesterday, for example, I was at a farmer's market buying some fresh peaches and other fruit. I saw avocados (not local, of course) and thought of a salad that I saw in a magazine. So we had avocado, tomato, and onion salad for dinner (too much onion, next time I'll use less) with fresh sweet corn.
Theoretically, I know that even if I had committed to writing down ahead of time what I wanted to eat, I could still change my mind and do something else and write it down. But it doesn't feel that way to me -- it feels "unfair, punitive... too regimented," just like Dr. Beck knew it would.
After all, many people who aren't dieting don't have to plan like this. They can just stand in front of the refrigerator and think What do I feel like eating tonight? People who want to lose weight, however, just can't have that luxury.So why can't we? I guess because we've proven that we can't make good choices by getting fat in the first place. That's the thing that grated on me while I was reading this book. The examples of good behavior that Dr. Beck used occasionally seemed like the behavior of someone mentally ill, or at least bizarre, like the woman who was offered a homemade chocolate chip cookie and didn't want it right then, but asked if she could take one home for her snack later.
Consider the difference between sitting and eating a cookie with a friend, chatting happily, and eating it alone, at the end of the day with no one else around. Sure, you can chat with the friend while she eats the cookie and you don't, but there's some tension there, and then at the end of the day you nibble at your cookie by yourself, trying to make it last as long as possible. And why do you have to do this instead of being a part of the human race? Because you're fat. Maybe when you've gotten to goal weight and have proven you can be trusted, you can eat your cookie with everyone else.
This book has some excellent strategies, but a few things like this sort of ruined it for me. Maybe I'm in deep denial and just not able to see what's in my best interest. Maybe it's just not worth it to me.
On a related but slightly different note, I was in a bookstore yesterday and leafed through Gina Kolata's Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss -- and the Myths and Realities of Dieting, which I've read about but still haven't actually read. I just couldn't justify spending the money on yet another diet-related book right now, since I feel like I have my own Fat Library already. But I read through the prologue and the epilogue, and I am going to have to see if my library has it. Kolata, at least, seems to be trying to defend people who have trouble losing weight against accusations that they're not really trying or that they just don't know what's best for themselves.
By the way, I have to add in a big thank you to Erin for her nice comments about me in her excellent post the other day. I think the whole body politics/self-esteem/weight thing is a hard knot to unravel, but I'd like to think that the conversations we're having about it in Weight-Blog Land are getting us a little closer to sanity.