Back in 2011, as noted yesterday, I seem to have "blown off" the full identification of the 9 (or 12) sabotaging thoughts.
But in 2011 I did a more thorough job of blogging about Beck's Day 27 Seven Questions technique. I "recalled" them. I analyzed them. And I applied them to my own situation (synthesis). There was a full cognitive effort!
So here's how the Seven Questions technique works. After I identify the particular sabotaging thought, I'm supposed to challenge it. And the method of challenging the particular sabotaging thought involves asking a sequence of questions.
Back in 2011, I identified my most persistent sabotaging thought as being "this all takes too much time". Inelegant, narcissistic etc. etc. And of course underlying THAT sabotaging thought, I now realize, is the "exaggeration" response -- that is, other people don't have to devote such an inordinate amount of time and effort to being or becoming or remaining thin. Which when I challenged it, I had to acknowledge wasn't true: Beck really doesn't take me a whole lot of time.
So what about this round, what's my most persistent sabotaging thought? Candidly, it's probably competitive. I'm not "winning"!! I'm not a "superstar maintainer"!! Because, my goodness, there are people right here at Spark (TINAJANE, SLENDERELLA) who have moved on! Who have graduated to "intuitive eating". Who don't need to track obsessively anymore!!
All right then; let's deal with the current prominent sabotaging thought using Beck's seven questions.
Question one: identify the thinking mistake. I'd call this one "jumping to conclusions". I haven't graduated to intuitive eating like other long-term maintainers have done. And that means I'll never graduate to intuitive eating and I'll always have to track.
Question two: ask myself what evidence I have whether I'm unable to eat intuitively. So far actually I don't have a lot of evidence that I can't do "intuitive eating" since I've always tracked over the past 10++ years of maintaining even before I started at Spark People in 2009. (Although after 27 days on the Beck refresher, gotta accept there was a considerable amount of "lenient" tracking happening, including eating standing up and underestimating portions of cheese, peanut butter and nuts!!).
Question three: is there another way to view this situation? There are several ways, of course. I could experiment with intuitive eating and see if it works for me. OR I could accept that this is an experiment of one, that tracking is not so inelegant and narcissistic, that (as my previous blog on this topic pointed out in 2011) it doesn't actually take much time, and just keep on doing what works for me. Without assuming that "intuitive eating" is somehow better and I'm a failure because I haven't achieved it. What's the competition? SLENDERELLA and TINAJANE aren't asserting some kind of superiority etc. I genuinely rejoice in their success. It's working for them and that's what counts.
Question four: what is the most realistic outcome of this situation? I could experiment with intuitive eating, beginning with 1 day while monitoring weight fluctuations, and if that works well try a couple days, then a week and so on. And if intuitive eating results in unacceptable weight gain: Oh well. I can go back to tracking. Without labelling myself a failure it if turns out I don't do well on intuitive eating . . . but of course I'm worried that if I stop tracking and experience weight gain I won't get back to my approach, which has worked for me, and I'll explode upwards to 230 pounds again.
Question five: what is the effect of my believing this thought and what could be the effect of my changing my thinking? So long as I believe that the "real superstar maintainers graduate to intuitive eating (and I have not)" I'm going to be tempted to be loose about tracking. With potential to fall off my own program, whatever I choose. Because my program can work either way -- I can try the intuitive eating with careful weight monitoring, or I can continue doing what works for me. But realistically speaking I know what the research says (Beck, Refuse to Regain, National Weight Loss Registry etc. etc.). Most people who keep weight off continue to track nutrition and weigh regularly. That's the norm. Graduating to intuitive eating is probably the exception. Because logically (based upon inductive reasoning) intuitive eating post weight loss doesn't appear to work in maintaining weight loss for most people.
Question six: What advice would I give a friend or family member in the same situation? Probably, keep on tracking. It's not so tough, and it works for you. There's no special virtue in achieving intuitive eating and the chance is pretty good (given what I know about my own personality and logical habits of mind and general comfort with self-discipline) that intuitive eating is not going to be as successful for me as what I've been doing up till now. If I keep on tracking, I'll probably still experience intermittent rebellion and frustration and discouragement about the planning and monitoring tracking requires, but that's OK. I can anticipate intermittent rebellion and accept intermittent rebellion (without liking it). I can continue with NO CHOICE and OH WELL and rein myself in when necessary! There may still be some yo-yoing but it's been within an acceptable range and that can continue.
Question seven: What should I do now? Keep on keeping on. Tracking. Why risk an intuitive approach when what I'm doing is working? I can read my Advantage Response Card. Remind myself that my own number one priority for keeping weight off is reducing the likelihood of recurrence of estrogen-positive breast cancer. In February 2011 I was not quite 2 years all clear; in November 2014 I'm well over five years all clear. And, more frivolously, I'm still wearing my size eights (and size sixes) and having fun with clothes. I'm also enjoying fitness (yesterday, so great to get back to the gym post-flu and sweat with the cardio, heft weights upper and lower body strength training!). The pre-planning is pretty routine for me: for next week's suppers I've made a big pot of black bean chicken chili soup with sweet potatoes; smells terrific! Salad fixings for next week's lunch salads are also in the fridge ready to go.
Yup, I am feeling reinvigorated with this Beck refresher . . . motivation is high. Life is good!
[Sorry again: another loooooooong blog, but I'm just thinking it through for myself. We're through "the worst" -- or maybe the best-- of Beck: the most intensely theoretical and convoluted part!! And I'm now accepting completely that this is the kind of cognitive effort I need to keep on keeping on. Beck offers cognitive behaviour therapy: I'm a cognitive kinda person, and that's why it works. For me.]