If you’ve found yourself wondering why you go off the plan, chances are because you believe you have the willpower to see it through. You’ve been mad at hell and you are convinced that this time you’ll make it happen. Because you want to… and that’s good enough. Right?
But time and time again, people fail when they rely on willpower alone. Here’s why:
Strategy is stronger than willpower.
Don’t let yourself get lost at a buffet after having eaten nothing all day. Plan accordingly. Know your meals and what you will be taking in and how you want to take it in.
Know your weaknesses.
It is better to eat other things that you do not have as strong an emotional connection to that you can push away without feeling guilt or anxiety. Eg your favourite apple pie at thanksgiving.
Think one step ahead
Don’t let 3-4 hours slip by without knowing what your next meal will be. We often make poor decisions when we are low on blood sugar.
Here’s just a few situations that you might have to think through in order to stick to the plan:
WEDDING – Eat on the way to the wedding or just before. Before serving ask the waiter what they have and ask for them to change it according to your preference. If you saw how much that caterer is getting paid, then you wouldn’t mind asking them to floss your teeth after the meal as well
PARTIES – Before: eat. When you get there: find the veggie plate. Guard it. Consume with hummus or guacamole if available. Avoid the creamy ranch-like dips.
AIRPORTS – You can usually find a healthy option where salads are made. If not salads then get a sandwich and remove the bread (or take the top off for just half the bread if you are worried you will die if your wonderbread level drops below a certain point).
SPORTING EVENTS – If you see salads with meat, get it. Otherwise if you can get through the game on a handful of walnuts, then you are doing well. Eat beforehand and have your plan for what you’ll eat afterwards. If you need alcohol then get the hardest liquor you can find and mix it with water and ice (or drink it straight, you lush!)
STAFF MEETINGS – these usually include a ‘catered lunch’. Choose the sandwich with the ingredients between the slices that you are after. Use a fork to eat the ingredients and dump the bread like the rock it will form along your intestinal wall.
RESTAURANTS – Key phrase ‘ I would like it this way, and if it’s a little extra then that’s ok’. Say that and your waiter will have your meal ready however you want it.
BUFFETS – Load up on the foods you should eat. Experiment with flavourings and combos.
BIRTHDAY PARTIES – The event is the celebration, not that they brought in your favourite flavour. The reason you will eat this cake is because you missed lunch, want an excuse to eat cake or are being pressured because other people in the group don’t want you to get too skinny since that would mean they would need to do something about their own weight. Your choice. The birthday person won’t love you and less if you don’t eat the cake.
CRAVINGS – In the first few days/week, this can be a challenge to resist. Do your best to distract yourself, play games, read books. Remember that people quit smoking every day, which is a very hard thing to let go of. You can quit your cravings.
TRIGGER FOODS – Don’t eat a food that you know is going to lead to more. The serving size of a bag of Doritos seems to be 1 – no matter how much you try to convince yourself you’ll only have ‘just one’. Remember that it is what you do when nobody is watching that really counts.
LOVE FOODS – These get made for us. It’s a symbol of their love/appreciation of us. Figure out how you can tell the person how much you appreciate them, but that you can’t eat their delicious treat today (unless it’s your refeed day, in which case explain that this is a 1/week occurrence).
THEY’RE ALL GOING TO LAUGH AT YOU
I had a client refuse to not drink at social events. One day she came in for her 1-1 session and announced that she had been drinking soda water with a lime in a short glass with ice (looks alcoholic). The next month she claimed she drank only a bottle of water at a recent event. I asked why, and she said “I realized that nobody was watching me or judging me at all for not drinking like they were” She since has started losing weight, by realizing that people aren’t staring or judging. Your efforts will reap results – and nobody’s going to laugh at you – and if they do, then remember that and use it in your next workout as fuel to show them how much you can change/lose wt.
POSITIVE MINDSET – Ever noticed how TV commercials seem so much longer the second time you see them? Your brain is adjusting your perception based upon information it stored from last time you saw the commercial. Your mind can make healthy foods taste healthier, help you enjoy your meals and keep better control of cravings and other habits that need to be broken.
HUNGER – Don’t let it happen to you. It’s important for weight loss that you stay a smidge hungry, and don’t ever feel 100% full when you eat (know when to push the plate away), but don’t let yourself get HUNGRY. That’s when the ‘low blood sugar’ version of you comes out and tears the wrapper off the candy bar and shoves it in your mouth before you have a chance to protest.
FINDING TIME TO PREPARE – Prepare meals in bulk, learn what meals are quick and easy to make or buy that fit the food plan
AVOIDING HOTSPOTS (DONUT SHOPS) – don’t go in there. It’s a bad place.
That’s a laundry list you can start with. See which ones work, test them out and adjust accordingly.