Last updated: Feb 12, 2009

Judith S. Beck, PhD, our Feel Great Weight motivation guru is director of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research; associate professor in psychology and psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania; author of The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person.

Look at the small picture. Con­centrate on just losing 5 pounds at a time. When you lose the first 5, celebrate, then decide if its reasonable to lose another 5, and so on. Focusing on a big number can be overwhelming; in bite-size chunks, it will seem more manageable.

Sack sabotaging thoughts. “Its OK to eat this because Im celebrating.” “I dont have time to work out.” Sound familiar? These kind of thoughts can derail your best efforts. When you catch yourself making self-defeating excuses, shoot them down by saying, “If I want to be healthier, thinner, and more energetic, I have to follow my diet-and-exercise plan.”

Ditch that all-or-nothing mentality. Instead of scrapping your program when things get hectic, “Look over your upcoming week and plan how to fit everything in,” Beck says. And remember, five minutes of exercise is better than none.

Plan for curveballs. Youll be stuck at work late one day and wont have time to sear fresh fish and steam veggies. “Keep a stash of healthy convenience food so you can grab a protein bar or heat up a low-calorie frozen dinner for busy times,” Beck says.