I finished listening to The Beck Diet Solution audio CD. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to finish it, because--as I noted in a previous blog entry--the reader's voice really bothered me at first. (Interestingly enough, I'm not alone: several of the Amazon.com reviewers also preferred the author's voice to the narrator's, saying that Dr. Beck's voice was more "real" and "personable" and that the narrator sounded too "peppy and Hollywood.")
As I kept listening, though, I found that I didn't mind so much. I'm thinking that one of the following happened:
A. The narrator warmed up to the material as the book progressed.
B. I felt ashamed of my intense reaction and got over it.
C. I realized that the narrator's voice sounded a lot like the narrator in the children's TV show Miffy, and that was somewhat less threatening. (The Miffy narrator sounds like she may have been Martha Stewart's preschool teacher....)
Oh yes! The content:
- The book talks a lot about hunger vs. cravings vs. just feeling like eating, and it coaches you on how to develop mindfulness of and resistance to all three. I don't really like the idea of not eating when you're hungry, but it is something I had to do at first: I always felt hungry, because I was used to eating a larger volume of food than I needed and because hunger can be one of the signs of blood glucose levels that are *too high*. Anyhow, the way she talked about learning to distinguish the three and deal with them made me think that mindfulness training would be very helpful for dealing with the habit and craving part. (Especially if you're having a hard time distracting yourself: sometimes you just need to sit with a feeling.) I was reminded of Pema Chodron's works--a lot of her teaching has to do with addictive behavior--especially Getting Unstuck.
- Similarly to the Life is Hard, Food is Easy book that Juice is reading, Dr. Beck talks very sensibly about deprivation. There are some areas of our life in which we have "must do" and "must not do" behaviors, and we often don't give them much thought at all. What's the deal with food???
- I don't know why, but I liked the "oh well" as a catch phrase for accepting unpleasant circumstances. "I don't like this, but I accept that it's what I have to do, and I move on."
- Some of the sabotaging throughts/helpful responses were kind of hokey, but I think it's a useful technique to talk oneself down from a sabotage situation.
- Negative emotions are not an emergency. How often I forget that simple fact!
- I liked her maintenance advice. I've read it elsewhere (Hi Miz!), and it seems very sound. I like that she emphasizes going for a realistic healthy weight than an impossible-to-maintain goal weight, and that it might take some time for a person to figure out what that range is going to be.
- Word choice. "Diet" and "skinny" and "thin," mainly. I suspect that Dr. Beck uses those terms, because "being thin" really does motivate a lot of people, and she's offering a more sensible way of "dieting" than crash diets and the like. This time around, I am much more motivated to be healthy than to be thin, and my end result may not be my goal weight.
- The "you can't have this" advice. I guess in some ways, I use it, but I tend to not make "always" or "never" type of rules. (Which, as I've noted before, don't work for me: they set up "forbidden fruits.")
- Contradictory, or common sense? There's advice later on to be flexible and to avoid the "always or "never" type of thinking...the context is that being too rigid can put too much stress on a person, and too much stress is unhealthy.
Aside from "the voice," I think the audio CD would be better as a companion piece to the book. There's a lot that didn't stick with me, and were I following the plan, I'd want to have the book around for reference and refreshing. I don't think I'd find the book alone as useful, either: I often have a hard time staying engaged with non-fiction material. And I liked the way that bits and pieces stuck around in my memory later, as sabotaging thoughts and behavior came up, "helpful responses" would pop into my mind. Which is undoubtedly why the program calls for people making response cards and reading them repeatedly. Kind of nice to have the CD do that for me. ;-)
Becking and Blogging
I found that very little of the material was completely new to me, especially since I've been reading numerous health and fitness blogs for nearly a year now and had been a Weight Watchers member in years past. Blogging really complements "Becking," because the online community is like having a whole bunch of diet coaches, and blog writing and commenting provide ways of working through the sabotaging thoughts & behaviors and figuring out helpful responses.