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PastaQueen does the Beck Diet Solution: Week 2 – Get Set: Prepare to Diet

For those of you just joining us, read the following text like those recaps before TV shows that summarize previous episodes:

Previously on PastaQueen.com!

PastaQueen regained fifty pounds during a period of chronic pain and depression, but vowed to lose the weight one more time in 2010. She bought a copy of The Beck Diet Solution, a cognitive therapy program, and is reporting on the results each week. Unfortunately, due to thee days of nausea induced by the H1N1 vaccine, she put off Day 8 of the plan for three days, which ironically is called, “Create time and energy.”

Day 8 – Create time and energy

Once I finally found the time and energy to read this chapter, I was tasked with writing a schedule for when I would exercise and complete other activities necessary for weight loss. As a freelancer, my schedule is pretty flexible, so it wasn’t hard to schedule time to exercise. I also decided I can spend two hours on Saturday or Sunday planning and preparing dinners for the week to get it all over with at once.

Day 9 – Select an exercise plan

I’m going with The 10-Minute Total Body Breakthrough as I blogged about earlier. I’m hesitant to do too much at once in regards to exercise. This is a chronic illness thing. We can’t upset the balance!! My goal most days is to simply maintain an equilibrium. If I can get through a day without feeling like crap, it’s been good day. I don’t have to feel super-duper great, just ok is fine with me. I’m afraid to rock the boat by trying to do too much at once and radically changing my schedule by, say, suddenly training for a marathon.

Of course, exercise is ultimately good for your health and I know it would be beneficial in regards to my illness, so I should stop making excuses and just do it. That’s why I’m starting with a 10-minute plan. It’s better than nothing and doesn’t seem totally overwhelming.

Day 10 – Set a realistic goal

Dr. Beck recommends demands, that your goal be to lose 5 pounds. That’s because 5 pounds is a small, achievable goal which won’t overwhelm you. Once you lose 5 pounds, your goal is to lose another 5 pounds, until you get to a weight you’re happy with.

I understand the reasoning behind this, which is why I set my first weight loss goal to 20 pounds although 50 pounds is my overall goal. So…even though I get what she’s saying, my goal is still to lose 20 pounds, not 5. Sorry, Dr. Beck! To say otherwise would be a lie!

Day 11 – Differentiate between hunger, desire, and cravings

Some of the other days have been pretty easy to do since they’ve only gone over things I already knew, but this one contained some information that made me really think. During the day I had to write down my hunger level on a scale of 1-10 before and after each meal. The exercise was meant to make me focus on whether I was actually hungry or if I simply desired or craved a food. Here’s how each is defined:

Hunger – When you haven’t eaten for many hours and have an empty sensation in your stomach, often accompanied by stomach rumblings.

Desire – You eat a big meal and yet still want to eat more.

Craving – You have a strong urge to eat, accompanied by a feel of tension or an unpleasant yearning sensation in your mouth, throat or body.

Focusing on this topic made me realize I sometimes eat out of desire and not real hunger. I also eat because of cravings, but that ain’t no surprise.

Day 12 – Practice hunger tolerance

On this day you were asked to skip lunch, unless you had medical reasons not to. The practice is supposed to show you that hunger may be uncomfortable, but it is not something to fear. Being a bit hungry won’t kill you, so the next time you’re tempted to eat something extra that is outside of your food plan, this exercise is supposed to remind you that you’ll be ok even if you don’t have that extra cookie.

However, when I mentioned on Twitter that I was attempting this, a few people sent me concerned emails, afraid that I was on a crazy, crash diet or that I had suddenly become anorectic. Thank you for your concern, but I assure you that I enjoy eating far too much to start skipping lunch on a regular basis. Besides, when you think of all the people starving in Haiti right now, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to wait a couple hours to eat lunch. I caved after two and a half hours anyway and made myself a peanut butter sandwich. Yum!

Day 13 – Overcome cravings

Dr. Beck reviews some strategies to overcome cravings in this chapter. At the beginning of the text she says:

The more often you wait out your cravings, the less intense and less frequent they’ll be in the future. Eventually, you’ll experience a craving, and, instead of feeling bad, you’ll feel good. You’ll spontaneously say to yourself, “This is great…I’m feeling a craving, but I know I can tolerate it and it’ll go away…It’s great that I’m tolerating it!” Instead of feeling deprived, you’ll feel good—proud, strong, confident, in control. Dieting will get so much easier.

My response to this was, “Bite me, bitch.” I certainly wish it were like that, and maybe after I practice a lot there is a remote possibility it could become like this, but for real y’all, that just sounds like bullshit. Cravings are not fun. Cravings are CRAZY!! My cravings get the worst when I’m having a bad headache day, a headache day that lasts for at least 16 hours of consciousness, meaning I want to eat some ice cream all day. I don’t foresee myself ever feeling great about not eating the ice cream. Instead, I have long 30-minute debates in my head about why I shouldn’t eat the ice cream vs. how much better eating ice cream will make me feel, because it will.

So, uh, Dr. Beck gives you some of the usual advice about cravings, basically that you should step away from the food, drink some water, and try to distract yourself with something else. There are also some mindset techniques where you’re supposed to recognize and label the feeling as a craving, tell yourself it will go away eventually, go over all the reasons you want to lose weight, and ultimately tell yourself there is no choice, you simply can’t indulge the craving.

I’ve tried these techniques 2 or 3 times this month and…they are only moderately helpful. The truth is, when my head hurts, I want some frickin’ ice cream, and the feeling of pain is NOT going away, sorry Dr. B. I’ve tried distracting myself with video games, which is mildly effective, but cravings just suck and I hate them and that’s about it. I just try to keep the bad stuff out of the house because I rarely feel well enough to drive somewhere for my fix when my head hurts.

Day 14 – Plan for tomorrow

For the last day of the week, you’re supposed to write out a plan for what you will eat tomorrow. Like my cats, I already have a fairly predictable feeding pattern. I wrote it out anyway, with a few snacks having an option 1, option 2, and option 3 depending on what I want to eat. My dinner is the most variable part of the day, so I should start planning those out in advance, probably on Sundays.

End of week impressions

At this point in the plan, I’m getting really sick of reading my weight loss advantages list over and over again. I’ve been getting my email reminders to do so and just deleting them. Perhaps I should just cut back to reading it 3 or 4 times a week? I also didn’t find the advice about cravings all that helpful, since it doesn’t seem to account for people who are in chronic pain.

On the bright side, I have been having much longer debates with myself about my cravings, even if I still lose a lot of the time. I’ve been paying much more attention to the eating experiencing too, focusing on what I’m eating and enjoying it as much as I can instead of mindlessly snacking. I’ve also been more mindful of my hunger, reflecting on whether I really need to eat before going to the kitchen. Also, simply following a new plan has kept my mind focused on weight loss in a way it hadn’t been for awhile.

On to week three!

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
Home: Main index


Leah • January 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

Hello! I’m a frequent reader but not a frequent commenter, and I found your website a while back as your cousin was working with my partner at the time! Um, or something of that nature.

Anyway, as someone also in the process of losing a large amount of weight, and un-thrilled by most forms of exercise, I wanted to put in a plug for my WiiFit Plus. I don’t want to be redundant if someone’s already mentioned it to you or if you already have one, but I got one for Christmas and I’ve really enjoyed it. I mention it because you said you wanted to start out slowly, and there are a lot of options for that. I like that it’s a workout video game that doesn’t require you to jump up and down on a plastic mat and kill your joints like most dance games do (all while some invisible voice is scolding your lame skills). It can be as gentle or as demanding as you need it to be. It also keeps track of all your weigh-ins, BMI tracking, exactly how long you’ve been exercising, how many calories you’ve burned, and all that jazz for you. I know that taking that daily drudgery away from me and putting it on a cutesy calendar that I can put stamps on really won me over.

At any rate! I know it’s a horrible uphill slog and you’re doing it with unfair handicaps, but you were a real inspiration to me when I lost my first 30 pounds, and you continue to be one. Thanks. ^_^


Rebecca • January 26, 2010 at 9:32 am

Damn cravings!

That is all I have to say.


G.G. • January 26, 2010 at 9:34 am

The Day 11 stuff was very helpful to me when I worked on the book 2 years ago. However, when I went through a period of extreme stress a year later, knowing I was eating for comfort rather than hunger didn’t help at all (and didn’t make me stop b/c I was in pain). Just made me feel worse.

The Day 13 stuff is the suggestion I’m most leery of. Yeah, when I was in HS and flirting with anorexia, I got a charge out of waiting out my hunger until it got to be a game to see how long I could go. I don’t think it’s a good strategy for everyone to try.


DebraSY • January 26, 2010 at 10:18 am

You’re nailing it on the “cravings” mumbo jumbo, and NOT just for people living in chronic pain. You’re hitting a universal truth here. I don’t think Dr. Beck or any person who is living near their “natural” weight range can understand what’s happening with those of us who are living at a radically lower weight than our bodies think is “normal.” (Wouldn’t it be great if we could just teach our bodies to read a BMI chart?) All that craving mind game stuff works when you’re in the early phases of weight loss, because there are certain hormones that just aren’t kicking in yet.

This whole Beck thing is going to be different for you than Joe Average Dieter who is starting from the top of the ski slope. You’re really near the bottom, even at a regain of 50 pounds. You’re wearing the cross country skis, but listening to downhill advice. It ain’t gonna resonate.

Science is failing us with this hunger-craving-desire stuff, (also emotional eating, also mindful v. mindless eating, also “intuitive” eating). These theories suggest that we’re just less mindful, or more emotional, (or dumber) etc. than naturally trim people. That is not my experience. (“Bite me, Bitch” is a handy thought.)

Here’s my theory (and there is some science to support it, but the science is incomplete and doesn’t describe the process fully). There comes a point, after you have lost a great deal of weight, that the chemical cotillion inside your body starts dancing to the “Wow, we just figured out that you lost a bunch of weight and you gotta eat” Tango. The known, resident dancers include, in alphabetical order: adiponectin, agouti-related protein, CART and CCK (if it goes by an acronym, that means even scientists recognize it’s overcomplicated), cortisol, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, ghrelin, insulin, leptin, melanocortin, nitric oxide, NPY, norepinephrine, peptide YY3-36, resistin, serotonin and visfatin, while thyroid hormone serves as the drummer in the band, setting the pace at which everyone moves. A grand troupe of gastro-intestinal micro-organisms dances in a complicated kick line of its own about the edges. In addition to the resident dancers, you may introduce guest performers who may or may not throw them off balance, such as glucose, fructose, MSG and other additives and preservatives, aspartame, livestock hormones or antibiotics, fatigue, stress, pesticides — and in your case, a chronic headache and all the drugs that attend it.

Before you lose a great deal of weight, the chemical cotillion is pretty content to leave you alone, but after a great deal of weight loss, the “PLEASE EAT” Tango begins. The social director at your internal dance, your DNA, announces to the chemical quicksteppers that you are capable of a much higher BMI, and you aren’t living up to your potential anymore. The crowd goes wild, because everyone desperately wants to help you. So they dance and send you physical hunger cues, and, more importantly, they speak or sing in mental impulses, some you might be able to verbalize, but most are extraverbal. The dancers speak Endocrine, the language of your body. It is as real as English, Russian, Chinese or French, and as persuasive as a Parisian paramour. There are probably a dozen dialects of Endocrine. High-Weight Endocrine may be a very different language from Low-Weight Endocrine. And when your body, which speaks High-Weight Endocrine, finds itself in the province of Low Weight, a confusing argument ensues. It pushes you, impels you to go commune with the cracker box in the pantry, and/or the cheese brick in the fridge, and/or the ice cream tub in the freezer, and/or any other method of transport back to your home province of High Weight.

In your everyday life, you find you’re not concentrating well. You’re distracted at work. You’re impatient at home. You’re forgetful, edgy, annoyed. You make your way to the kitchen. The first one, two, three times you may stop yourself. “Why am I doing this? I’ve had plenty of calories/points.” Finally, you succumb. You are answering the Endocrine call. Your body has been pressing you persistently to quell the argument inside, while you have been trying, with varying degrees of success, to live your life. (And the “you” I’m using here is universal. It’s not just you with your chronic headache. It’s all of us. But back to my narrative . . . )

In what seems like a mindless trance, you start chomping on your favorite (or not favorite) foods. This may go on for quite a while. Mentally you work through how to help your kid handle a problem. And you keep eating. You may remember what it was you needed from the store, jot it down, then return to eating. Your edginess and anger soften. You contemplate clashing personalities at work and figure out how to delicately word a memo, so that no one takes offense. This satisfies you. Until you catch yourself mid-munch, “Oh, God, what have I done?”

Every women’s magazine will tell you that you’re an emotional eater or some such broken person. My theory is that you’re normal, and you’ve done something NORMAL. (Your body, moreover, has rewarded you by helping you think clearly again.) I think that overcoming a natural impulse to eat when your body is at a radically lower weight than it thinks is normal, is extraordinary. It compares to overcoming an impulse to fall asleep while driving on the highway, when your body is operating on no sleep for two days.

I have my methods of overcoming this normal urge, but I have blah, blah, blahed way too long, I know. The point today is just to say that you are right; Beck is wrong.


Carmie • January 26, 2010 at 10:40 am

I refreshed your site a billion times yesterday waiting for your week 2 update. When I saw you were going to go through the book, I dug out my old copy (that I never got past week 2 on) and dusted it off so I could follow along with you. Thanks for being such an inspiration, Jennette!


PastaQueen • January 26, 2010 at 10:47 am

@G.G. – Yeah, I think that’s a reasonable concern. If you think delaying lunch might trigger a bad pattern of behavior, I definitely would not recommend doing that day’s exercise.

@Carmie – These entries take awhile to write. I wanted to post on Monday, but the entry wasn’t done, so you got the image-heavy bok choy follow-up instead :)


Jen B • January 26, 2010 at 11:09 am


Yesterday, I was reading Good Calories, Bad Calories again. Specifically a section that explained why we have cravings. Cravings are very, very real.

Taubes says that overweight people have an elevated insulin level all the time. It’s called hyperinsulinemia. Normal weight people with less bodyfat fat usually have lower amounts of insulin.

Between meals, your body is supposed to use fat from adipose tissue to provide nutrients to the body’s cells. But with hyperinsulinemia, the insulin is in charge. It shuts off access to the adipose tissue and tells the body to get it’s nutrients from glucose (from the food you just ate). This is a normal response when you’ve just finished a meal. But in this case, there is no glucose to be found. The insulin screws up the signals. Your body has no access to fat or glucose to consume. And now your body cells are starving for fuel. Guess what happens? Cravings! Cravings where only glucose will do. Even if you eat protein or fat instead, the insulin will just store it away in fat.

The only way to fix hyperinsulinemia is to lose body fat.

So long story short, unless Dr. Beck has been obese, she has no idea how strong those cravings can be. And that they are very real.


RG • January 26, 2010 at 11:39 am

“Science is failing us with this hunger-craving-desire stuff” – I take issue with this part of your comment, Debra; intuitive eating et al. are not scientists. Go read someone like Lyle McDonald, who is a scientist and a weight-loss expert. He talks about the hormones and not in a blah-blah “I’ve lost weight and my body is broken forever” way. It takes ONE DAY to reset your leptin levels. PQ has been off diet for more than a year, she is not in starvation mode. It’s not like her body remembers forever the weight she was at 5 years ago. There is SCIENCE behind the hormone dance.

Cravings are real, and in her case are about being in pain. I’m not in chronic pain so I don’t know how to respond, other than to suggest that exercise can combat a lot of ills, including insulin issues. I find something to listen to and go outside and walk. And then jog occasionally. And eventually jog the entire time. Or on cold, wet days I go on the treadmill and read something. I know it for me personally, I can feel the difference if I skip even one exercise session.


AndrewENZ • January 26, 2010 at 11:49 am

@DebraSY – What a great comment!


Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • January 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Your commentary is classic, and funny, loved it!


rlevine • January 26, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Beck doesn’t say cravings aren’t real, nor does she say they’re easy to overcome. I lost 90+ pounds, and have kept it off for almost six years, and I still crave certain foods sometimes – especially when my own chronic pain issues flair up – but the cravings have become less frequent and less intense with time, just as Beck says. The sad truth: you really DO need to “tough it out” at first after you lose a lot of weight, and let your system adjust to the new reality. It’s not fun, but it can be done.


Rahim • January 26, 2010 at 1:40 pm

This Beck Diet sounds challenging but Fun! Keep up the good work and stay focused.


Carmie • January 26, 2010 at 2:18 pm

@PastaQueen – Oh no! I wasn’t trying to make you feel bad or anything! Just letting you know that I’m looking forward to them! :)


Oinkstop • January 26, 2010 at 2:44 pm

@Leah – I definitely agree that the Wii Fit Plus is a great way to exercise without killing yourself. I’m really overweight, and I’ve found that I’m able to work up a pretty good sweat without beating my poor joints into oblivion. Pretty much everything else is OUT right now because either it a) requires me to go outside which I won’t do when it’s cold/raining, b) demands I wear a bathing suit, or c) makes my already overloaded joints hurt even worse.

Maybe when I’m thinner I’ll do something else, but for now I can manage an hour and a half of exercise (three 30-minute blocks) per day which I couldn’t do before.


Jes • January 26, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I’m admittedly not a frequent visitor to your site. I happened across it a few weeks ago when I was also beginning the Beck Diet Solution and decided to follow along.

At first glance, you seemed to me to be a pretty serious, by-the-book sort of person and I figured you would hold to the straight-and-narrow of the the Beck book and consistently post about it’s awesomeness and how you were following it to the letter.

My thinking was: that Pasta lady will inspire me to do this program.

Then I began reading the book, and by the time I reached Day 8, my BS-O-Meter was going full force. I assumed, however, that it was just me, and tuned in to hear your earnest report.

Your “bite me, bitch” comment made me spew coffee on my keyboard, because sister, I am so there with you. Also, you’re funny!

That section of the book was where it really hit home: Dr. Beck is thin.
She has always been thin.
Her whole family is probably thin. The Becks are just thin people.

That being said, I do think there is value to behavioral modification. I am not going to blame it all on hormones and genes.

I’m planning on finishing the book, because I hate to leave a book unfinished, but I’m taking it with a large grain of salt.

What I really want to read is the Diet Cure by Julia Ross – she supposedly puts the behavioral and biological aspects together and I’ve heard the book is fantastic.

Good luck to you! Sorry for the long post.


Christine • January 26, 2010 at 4:39 pm

This morning, NPR featured an episode of Radiolab called “Choice.” They talked about an experiment involving choosing a snack of fruit or chocolate cake. It seems that if an individual has to remember 7 digits (as opposed to, say, 2 digits) he or she chose cake over fruit twice as many times.

In other words, its really, really hard to make good choices when you’re doing anything else with your brain. So kudos to you to winning those craving debates in your head at least some of the time.



DebraSY • January 26, 2010 at 4:59 pm

@RG: I will add Lyle McDonald to my reading list. I would warn you that I approach cautiously anyone, yet, calling themselves a “weight loss expert.” We don’t have this field nailed. Empirical research puts long-term maintainers in a minority of 3%. The most rigorous survey research puts us in a minority of 20% but defines success so weakly, we wouldn’t claim it as success. (One year at a 10% loss from all-time high. That’s the NWCR.)

It’s harsh to look at reality, but it frames our challenge better than living in some fantasy land. Sorry you see it as so much blah, blah, blah.

With regard to leptin: indeed, it is the short-term satiety hormone (and dances in the cotillion monogamously with grehlin). One day may reset it for you. It takes much longer, however, to work with the pair aghouti-related protein and peptide YY3-36 when they start dancing in the wrong direction. This is the pair that is likely really messing with those of us in long-term maintenance (though the science is still inconclusive).

You do not know whether Pasta Queen’s body “remembers” its top weight. The scientists haven’t actually come to any agreement on this. I theorize that it does.

I’m maintaining 60 lbs for seven years, so I have allowed myself the leaway to develop my own thoughts and theories. And I do read scientists. Sorry you couldn’t infer that.

If you would like a good book to add to your collection, especially as an overview, I would suggest Gina Kolata’s Rethinking Thin. She gives an overview of some of the best “lone wolf” research happening in the field (independent and not underwritten by funders with and agenda). It is NOT, however, a book of inspiration for weight loss, so I offer it with that warning.

I am not trying to discourage Pasta Queen. I think we all recognize her as both an inspiration and a general good egg. She also, however, makes truthful statements from her experience and intuition — and today I wanted to affirm that intuition with my own experience.


DebraSY • January 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Oh, and thanks Andrew.


PastaQueen • January 26, 2010 at 5:56 pm

@Jes – The coffee spit-take is not my fault! I have a clear disclaimer about that above the top ad in the right column :)


Margaret • January 26, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I misunderstood you on the first read-through of Day 13, but it may have led to something productive. I’m going to try out what I thought you meant at first. My next craving, I’m going to snarl at it, “Bite me, bitch,” and see if this works.


Shh • January 26, 2010 at 9:40 pm

I don’t know why I was shocked to read that Dr. Beck is a woman, but I was. Weird, huh? LOL


Renee • January 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Own your book. Loved it. Found your blog. Ordered the Beck Diet Solution, so I could “follow along” with you. I’m a week behind you. Loved your “bite me” comment. I do find you hilarious. And dieting/weight loss/headaches is so discouraging and hard, it is good to laugh. And laugh alot. One thing I also find about Beck….well, 2 comments. One is she lost 15#. Her big weight loss. Whip-dee-do! And the other was her story on page 36, about the dinner party and how “good” she was with the light eaters, and what the normal eaters ate, and how the clean-your-platers were all overweight. I know she was trying to be helpful. But I don’t find that helpful at all. I think her “cognitive therapy” is just to get us to “think through” our problems. As an aside, I have a skinny mother who loves to cook, is always worried we won’t get enough to eat (like we live in Biafra), and loves to fix these delicious holiday meals and then doesn’t eat them. We feel under her scrutiny as we “feel” her counting every calorie as we put it into our mouths. It makes us loathe visiting her. Skinny people. Snots. Why do we want to be like them? Well, I think people who have alot of weight to lose, end up being alot more understanding. They are nicer people. I love your blog. Thanks.


ToyLady • January 27, 2010 at 8:49 am

For what it’s worth, the “Day 13” stuff about waiting out cravings? It’s exactly the same technique used to quite smoking – and it does work.

I quit a 26-year smoking habit over 4 years ago. You just have to keep at it. Sucks, I know, but not forever.


DebraSY • January 27, 2010 at 10:44 am

I think there’s a difference between food cravings and cigarette cravings. With cigarettes you can actually break the hormone cycle that impels you to smoke a cigarette. With food, however, since you have to eat, and virtually every day, there’s always a hormone cycle going on. Getting control of that cycle is the trick. Dr. Beck advises you to make friends with hunger — or at least drop your fear of it. I would say develop respect for it and knowledge of it, but don’t get too friendly with it. I would advise you to get to know hunger intimately (which you, PQ, may already have done from your first trip down the ski slope), only so that once you are in maintenance you can know exactly how many calories it takes to avoid it. Again, this is just MY theory. I am not so brazen as to claim to have “the Ultimate Solution” or to have discovered a “break through” or start a “revolution.” But all those windbags have NOT improved the odds of long-term maintenance, and they haven’t prevented the center of the bell curve (representing our average weight in this country) from shifting upwards by 11 to 24 pounds in three decades (depending on the study your consulting).

Enough said. Here’s my theory for maintainers: Once you know how many calories averts hunger for you and for how long, then ice skate just at the edge of it. I never let hunger fully kick in, because that is an invitation to start a rave at the hormone cotillion, which could mean days or weeks of those stupid cravings/impulses. More warm and fuzzy people than I might say that their bodies need to “trust” that they will not let them go hungry. Perhaps. Or perhaps its just a chemical reaction.

Regardless, I have figured out that for me, on a day when I exercise, 100 calories lasts about an hour, 300 calories = 3 hours, 450 = 4.5 hours, up to 600 calories = 6 hours, then there are some diminishing returns. Definitely, 1000 calories in a single sitting won’t hold me for 10 hours. I’ll get hungry long before the 10 hours is up and I will eat, and surely the excess calories will file themselves away in storage. Ack! Sometimes 700 = 7 hours, and sometimes it doesn’t. Because it is iffy over 600 calories, I avoid eating any meal over 600 calories. I also know (thanks to an experimental period with “intuitive eating”) what “pre-hunger” feels like — the feeling just before hunger kicks in. (For those of you who practice intuitive eating, this would be a 4.75 on a ten-point scale). If I sense “pre-hunger” I do something to avoid hunger — eat a small granola bar, or some such. If I feel pre-hunger at a time that I think I shouldn’t, it usually means my calorie estimate on some food item earlier in the day was low. If I am full for longer than my calorie estimates would predict, then it probably means I underestimated the calories on a particular item.

Carrying around this mental/physical balance sheet requires a good chunk of mental real estate. (though a lot less now than when I was first figuring it all out). If someone asks me about weight-loss, I usually advise them just to eat as healthfully as they are able, exercise a lot, and treasure the body that happens. That’s the healthiest thing a person can do, unless you really like doing these mental game things, which are necessary if you’re going to maintain a loss.

Thoughts for today.


DebraSY • January 27, 2010 at 10:48 am

Grammar corrections above for sticklers: you’re, it’s, capital T, period in the parenthesis. Ack.


Shannen • January 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Debra you should have a blog!!!


Jes • January 27, 2010 at 1:30 pm

@PastaQueen – Egads! So you did! Hmph – no lawsuit then. There are so many reasons why “bite me” was the perfect rejoinder to that particular chapter. And it’s not that I hate the book – I totally don’t. She just gets a little spouty right there and it suddenly becomes clear that she’s thinny thin thin with thin on top and might not actually understand what she’s talking about.


Jen B • January 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Hi, I made the Good Calories, Bad Calories insulin related comment earlier.

I forgot to mention that exercise can help control the hyperinsulinemia situation and of course, a low carb diet. But until body fat is reduced, the cravings will continue, even if you’re on a diet and exercising.

For the record, my cravings last for 3 hours at a time. It is very difficult to wait out a craving for that amount of time. I would be interested to see how long cravings last for other people.


Winkie • January 28, 2010 at 11:35 am

I had a killer craving this past weekend, and I got through it by using the chart in the BDS book and blogging about it. It lasted about 4 hours; the first 1.5 hours were by far the worst. Then after 4 hours or so, I suddenly noticed that my body was relaxed, like after a good cry. The craving was out of my system.

I had wicked cravings even when I was thin. It was a long time before I gained weight, but when I did, the cravings certainly contributed to it!

The first time I read the chapter, I thought it had been written by someone who had never had a craving, or at least not a strong one (bite me too, bitch!)! But she has probably worked with people who have them. She says that you often need to try 5 or 6 different distractions from a craving before it works, so she does recognize that distracting yourself from a craving is not easy.

I’m still skeptical that my cravings will go away completely as I keep doing this, but the only way to find out is to give the techniques in the book my *best* shot, so that’s what I’m doing.


Winkie • January 28, 2010 at 11:45 am

By the way, Dr. Beck wrote another book after The Beck Diet Solution, in which she goes over most of the same techniques as in this book, *and* reveals the calorie-counting system that she herself uses.

She says she still has to limit her calories in order to maintain her lower weight, and that she does not always enjoy doing so! She says she’d “rather eat chocolate all day”! (What she does is allow a small treat last thing at night. She says it helps her to stick to her diet during the day knowing there’s a treat coming.)


DebraSY • January 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm

@RG: I visited the Lyle McDonald’s website. At first I was a bit put off by the title of his most recent book, “Ultimate Diet 2.0,” but as I read his articles, I could see he wasn’t really talking about weight loss or weight-loss maintenance in the routine sense that most people hope to attain. His audience is, er, more hard core, body building enthusiasts and the like. Moreover, he’s not nearly as arrogant about his work as you are about it. He acknowledges that he doesn’t understand weight-loss “stalls and whooshes” entirely, for example, and that he’s studying the phenomenon. In terms of weight-loss maintenance, he doesn’t have a lot to say, other than you start with a basic calorie equation (weight x 14 for women, weight x 15 for men), then adjust based on what your real world circumstances turn out to be. I can’t argue with that.

It seems he’s most interested in increasing relative muscle mass and doing other body tinkering that is beyond the scope of most work-a-day people. The Ultimate Diet 2.0, for example, has some pretty severe pre-requisites in terms of nutritional requirements and accumulated time spent in body building prior to starting the diet. For the day-to-day maintainer, he’s not our guy. If he says anything about the cravings/impulses we’ve been discussing here, especially as experienced by radical weight-loss maintainers, I couldn’t find it in my scan.


Donna • January 28, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I hope you’ll say more about the 10-minute exercise program. I love all of your posts for their honesty, humor, and helpfulness, but I wanted to know how that part works for you.

In 1998-99 I lost 43 pounds using the points system with WW and have maintained the weight loss. During my 7-month journey with WW, I didn’t do the exercise part. Now here I am 11 years later at the age of 64 and all my weight is in my midsection. I know I need to exercise, but never seem to be able to stick to it. Maybe I can do 10 minutes a day and build on it.


Kendra • January 29, 2010 at 2:55 am

Oh holy crap, I completely understand what you are saying about cravings and chronic pain. As a former sufferer I know that it didn’t matter in the least what that food was going to do to me, I HAD to have it. Soda was the worst for me.

I’ve been reading for a little, since just before I started my own weight loss goals and started a blog too and I won’t offer any remedies for it but I too had a several years long headache. I strongly considered decapitation some days.


Laura Jane • February 2, 2010 at 8:37 am

Loved reading your thoughts about Day 13!


Kamanu • February 2, 2010 at 4:12 pm

You hit the nail on the head. Just make sure that whatever you crave is NOT IN THE HOUSE. If it is chances are great that you will cave. As I read your post, I recalled my craving last week for black jelly beans (I know that grosses out a lot of people). If I had it in the house/at work, I would have eaten any and all in sight. But it wasn’t available nor are black jelly beans easily accessible unless you want to pay something like $9.99 a lb at the candy store. I wasn’t willing to do that. But I did post it on my Facebook hoping one of my family or friends would get some for me as a nice treat. It didn’t work. And surprisingly, I forgot all about it! So out of sight, out of mind, I guess. Just keep fighting it. It’s worth a try. I’ve never tried much in the past but I’m trying now. I figure why the heck not! After all these years, we deserve to at least try to conquer our bad habits.


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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