Thinking Thin

Training your brain to think like a thin person, and other psychological techniques for healthy weight loss.

Are You a “Normal” Eater?

Learn a different way of thinking and eating to make permanent changes

People who have never been overweight and have not had significant issues with their weight eat, think, and behave differently from chronic dieters. If you're a chronic dieter, do you have a tendency to:

  1. "Graze," i.e., eat a larger amount of food than you intended throughout part of the day, or binge-eat
  2. Feel a lack of control over your eating
  3. Try not to notice how much you're eating
  4. Eat until you feel uncomfortably full
  5. Overeat and stop only when the food is gone
  6. Eat alone (maybe in secret) because you'd be embarrassed by how much you're eating
  7. Obsess (think too much) about food throughout the day or evening
  8. Feel depressed, guilty, or disgusted with yourself after overeating
  9. Eat as a primary coping strategy when you're upset
  10. Eat when you're bored
  11. Significantly overvalue body shape and weight
  12. Weigh yourself more than once a day
  13. Become pre-occupied with how heavy your body feels or how tight your clothes are after meals or throughout the day
  14. Plan ahead so you never have to be hungry
  15. Avoid the scale when you think you have gained weight
  16. Feel unable to control what you order to eat or what kind of food you buy
  17. Make one "mistake" (i.e., "cheat") and then eat with abandon
  18. Feel helpless when you gain weight
  19. Continually make exceptions to your eating rules
  20. Eat whenever you feel like it, regardless of your level of hunger
  21. Try to fool yourself about the amount you consume or the consequences of your consumption
  22. Skip meals to lose weight
  23. Outlaw certain foods completely

These characteristics are generally not shared by "normal" eaters and they can make it difficult to lose weight-or to keep it off. You may be able to curb these tendencies for a period of time, especially if you're highly motivated. But chances are you will revert to these behaviors at some point and regain weight-unless you learn a different way of thinking and eating that allows you to make permanent changes in your behavior.

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Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., is President of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and author of The Beck Diet Solution (Oxmoor House).

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