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The Best Crash Diets are Crash n’ Burn Diets – An Excerpt from the DBT CBT Therapy Workbook

Crash n’ Burn Dieting

Why do you think a “crash diet” 1 is an Emotional Mind behavior?
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We’ve all heard of these diets and most of us have done them! We see many advertised on magazine covers, “Lose 10 pounds in 10 days with the Grapefruit Diet!” Some have strict menu plans. Many limit food choices. We may be able to eat as much as we want…but ONLY lean meat and vegetables…or boiled chicken and rice all day! Consider how limited a high protein – low carbohydrate diet is. One reason these diets fail is they don’t allow us to eat our favorite foods…and WE’RE NOT GOING TO STAY ON A DIET LIKE THAT…FOR VERY LONG!

Crash diets are driven by Emotional Mind because we’re WILLING to do something DESPERATE to lose weight QUICK. We’re IMPATIENT. We want IMMEDIATE RESULTS. We DON’T WANT TO WAIT to lose weight in a REASONABLE and HEALTHY way…even though WE KNOW it’s the only way to lose weight and keep it off! We’re being IRRATIONAL! We’ve deluded 2 ourselves! We’re believing a LIE. SOMEHOW WE BELIEVE THIS CRAZY DIET WILL WORK…that we’ll suddenly develop skills to control our eating…that we’ll give up most or all of our favorite foods…and just eat certain foods. REALLY, IF WE HAD ALL THIS WILLPOWER, why would we need a crazy diet? Why wouldn’t we just do a “normal diet” and eat like a slender person? They eat all kinds of things…just smaller portions!

Just like other Destructive Coping Behaviors, we want IMMEDIATE RELIEF…for our long-term weight problem. So, we do something desperate to lose weight FAST!

The problem with a crash diet is it’s SO UNREASONABLE and STRICT we WON’T STAY ON IT the rest of our life! When we GET OFF the diet, we return to our old eating habits. We GAIN the weight back…AND THEN SOME! That’s because we’ve been starving our body and depriving it of what it needs to function. Our brain sends out “I’M STARVING TO DEATH” signals that tell our body to PROTECT ITSELF FROM DYING. So, our metabolism 3 slows, we BURN FEWER CALORIES, and fat stores up for future famines. 4 At the same time, our BRAIN POUNDS on us to EAT MORE to replenish 5 our body. Finally, we GIVE IN TO TEMPTATION and the demands of our brain and body and we do a ROYAL PIG-OUT! Then we FEEL HORRIBLE physically and emotionally. We’re bloated, sick, disappointed, and ashamed. WE FEEL LIKE A FAILURE. Weight loss seems hopeless, so, we GIVE UP on the diet. WE GAIN ALL OUR WEIGHT BACK…AND THEN SOME!

We’re willing TO TRY to defy 6 the laws of nature to lose a ton of weight fast! A friend once said, “I’ve given up on dieting. Every time I go on a diet, I end up gaining 10 pounds!” After we starve ourselves, our brain pushes us to gain extra weight so our body is prepared for the next famine!

What kind of diet would Rational Mind suggest? ________________
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Rational Mind would encourage us to EAT THINGS WE LIKE, BUT LESS! Then our stomach will shrink and we’ll REDUCE CALORIES. We’ll get in the HABIT of eating “SKINNY PERSON PORTIONS” 7 and we’ll lose weight. Because we’re still getting our favorite foods, we’re less likely to get tired of this “eating plan!” It’ll become A WAY OF LIFE…that we can LIVE WITH for the rest of our life. We’ll STAY ON IT, LOSE WEIGHT, and KEEP IT OFF!

We’ve all heard THE BEST WAY to lose weight is to do it SLOWLY! If we’re not in a major weight gain cycle 8 and we cut our food intake by one-fourth, we may lose 2-3 pounds a month. That’s 24-36 pounds a year and 48-72 in two years! If we cut our intake in half, we may lose 4-5 pounds a month or 48-60 a year and 96-120 in two years! That’s a lot…and we can KEEP IT OFF if we KEEP IT UP! A “three-fourths” or “halves” diet will serve us MUCH BETTER over time than a “crash n’ burn” diet!

I’d rather lose 25 pounds a year by eating reasonably than gaining 10 pounds with a crash diet!

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Notes:
1. A crash diet is very strict and is designed for FAST weight loss.
2. Deluded – (duh-lew-did) – talked ourselves or others into believing something that’s not true.
3. Metabolism – (met-tab-oh-liz-em) – the process of breaking down the food we eat.
4. Famines – (fah-men’s) – times when there’s little or no food in a country or region.
5. Replenish – (ree-plin-ish) – to restore and fill back up!
6. Defy – (dee-fi) – to go against or to challenge.
7. Ever notice how skinny people eat? They eat many of the same foods as an overweight person…just smaller portions. We had a store and I’d go there after my hospital job. I was always shocked to find half a bag of chips or half a candy bar left on the desk. I could never understand why the employee didn’t eat it ALL! Obviously, their eating habits were very different from mine! They’d eat half when I’d eat two!
8. If we‘re on a major weight gain cycle, we’ll have to cut down even more to get our daily calories in the range for losing weight. These numbers are estimates based on someone who’s maintaining their weight or is only gaining a few pounds a year.

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Using DBT and CBT to lose weight

I’ve lost 145 pounds and now I have to go on a diet! That’s where I’m at right now. I have steadily lost a ton of weight in 4 years and I find myself in need of going on a diet! September was a VERY bad month for me. I had many more bad days with very high calories than usual (in the 1800-2100 range with one day even higher!) Such high calorie days typically happen just a couple times a month…not many times! Last month (September), I ended up with almost 200 more calories per day than typical. May sound like nothing…but, that adds about 1-1/2 pounds to me over the month…and it kept me from losing any weight.

That may not sound bad…but, the problem is…I really struggled this past month. I was “out-of-control” with eating. I’d pig out some days…and then work hard other days to get my overall monthly calorie count lower…only to have more pig-out days…followed by major attempts to control my eating…which still very often resulted in more calories for me than usual. Overall, I did not have a natural eating pattern this month…it was a time of out-of-control eating.

I recognized that I was in a period of early relapse with my eating disorder (over-eating)…and that if I didn’t gain control, I would lose control, and end up “out-of-control” and back in a cycle of weight gain. I was mindful that I could end up gaining a bunch of weight and perhaps end up fatter than when I started. Scary. Don’t want to go there on purpose.

Because I live, eat, and breathe the teachings of the DBT-CBT “Out-of-Control” Therapy Workbook, I began dealing with this early relapse and my neurotic self. Towards the end of the month when I thought,

“Oh my God, I’m going to gain all my weight back”

and various other statements of an Emotional Mind panic, Rational Mind came to my rescue.

“If I don’t gain control, I will lose control, and gaining weight is certainly likely. I’ve done well with this diet thing for 4 years. I’ve been within ideal body weight for a year now. I’ve been losing weight up until this month. I’ve got the skills, willpower, and know-how to get control of myself. I’ve just gotta tighten up and get a Game Plan for getting through this.”

Wise Mind clicked on and I thought, “I’ll just go back to the early days of my diet and start over. I’ll do things like I did back then. I’ll just start from scratch.”

Emotional Mind clicked on, “I can just not eat much tomorrow and the next day, that’ll cut my calories down a lot for the month…and more in line with a normal month.”

Rational Mind and Wise Mind jumped me, “That’s a bad idea. You know better. You’ll just end up pigging out again. You can’t do that. It’s certainly tempting, but not the way to go. I just need to tighten up and do things like I did in the early days of my dieting.”

Emotional Mind reared up again, “Well, I can just starve myself tomorrow and the next day so my calories won’t be bad for the month and THEN I can start over. I don’t want to have such a bad month…and show a 4-pound weight gain this month. That’s awful”

Rational Mind said, “What’s done is done. It’s just numbers. You’ll show a gain this month, and then next month, you’ll go down again. It’s not real weight, well, just a pound or so. You don’t gain 4 pounds eating an extra 5000 calories a month, that’s just a pound and a half or so…and really instead of losing a pound n’ a half this month, you’re just breaking even. You’re on your period so the extra weight is probably just water.”
Wise Mind said, “Chill, you’ll be okay. This is just temporary. Let’s just get a plan.”

So, I began thinking of how I used to do things. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to be on a diet! I had developed such good eating habits that it became a natural part of living, more a lifestyle than a diet! I actually eat a very healthy diet…I’m just eating more…more yogurt, more fruit, more chocolate protein bars!

Part of my diet basics is to let the people I’m around know about my struggles and to solicit their help. So, I told the family I had a very bad September, that I need to tighten up…and that I don’t want to start the weight gain cycle. I asked them not to offer me food and to put their food up when they’re done. Of course, they’re not perfect in my recovery, so when I notice they’ve left something out that could be tempting to me, I put it up!

I’m also walking past temptation telling myself, “I can’t just eat that, I’m on a diet” instead of having a couple bites, a bowl, or a handful. I’m setting limits because my wants now are much greater than they’ve been for a long time…and I guess I’ve slacked off too much. I find myself eating because I feel like it, rather than eating when I’m hungry.

I’m also setting limits and making choices about when I’m going to eat…not just allowing myself to graze.
I also decided that I would count calories through the day instead of just doing it at night. This will increase my mindfulness of calorie intake throughout the day.

This morning as I was waking up and thinking about my day, I decided what I would eat. Since I slept late, I’d eat two meals and an evening snack.

I’ve also thought about the work week because my calories are higher during the week than on the weekends. I will bring a limited amount of food to work. For instance, instead of a huge bag of grapes that should last a few days, I’ll bring about 100 calories worth. I’m in the process of figuring out what my food day will be like at work and what I’ll have at home in the evening.

So, I’ve gone back to some of the basics, but, I’m not perfect in recovery. I’ve had one “bad day” this first four days of October, but three very good days. My overall calorie count is lower than desirable, but I have faith in myself, I’ll be able to get it up without any problem!

FYI: DBT-CBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy)