On our post about Lori’s Busy Week, one reader asked whether she would be able to celebrate special occasions like birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries with food. Here was Judith Beck’s response, advice which you’ll find in different parts of The Beck Diet Solution.

I’m so glad you asked. What I suggest is that you plan in advance how you’re going to modify your diet on occasions like your birthday. It IS important to celebrate. However, if you want to be able to keep off whatever weight you lose, you do have to accept the fact that you just can’t eat whatever you want, in any quantity you want, without planning it in advance, even if it is a special day. So perhaps you’ll want to plan to eat an extra 500 (or even more) calories that day, knowing that you may not lose as much weight that week. But that’s fine! I don’t suggest that people overly skimp on food the day before or the day after, though, because doing so can trigger overeating.

You might also want to think right now about what other days fall into the special occasion category of eating more than usual. One trap people fall into is their idea, “It’s okay to always eat more than usual if it’s a special day.” Unfortunately, they put lots and lots of days in that category, not only their birthdays and anniversaries, but birthdays and anniversaries of family members and friends, parties, eating at other people’s houses, picnics, showers, family reunions, receptions, all holidays, and receptions.

So, absolutely, splurge on your birthday but plan to do so in advance. Then eat your birthday cake guilt-free! I know it’s hard to accept the fact that you need to change your eating, and not only while you’re actively losing weight. That you just can’t forget about your diet altogether on special days. That you still need to plan and restrict yourself. But I’m just being honest. And the payoff is that you’ll be able to enjoy the advantages of weight loss EVERY DAY: looking better, feeling better, being more self-confident, being healthier, having more energy, feeling better about yourself, etc., etc., etc.