Lori, a 44 year old attorney, started dieting at the age of 14. She says that she has attempted to lose weight, “too many times to count,” and has tried at least 5 different diets throughout the years. In the past she’s lost as much as 35 pounds but started gaining it back within the year. Lori has currently lost 32 pounds and is still going strong. In general Lori says that she does not have a very big sweet tooth – almost always if she wanted a snack she would go for something salty, not sweet. However, the one exception to this rule is a special chocolate cake she gets once a year at a retreat in January.
One of the main things we try to teach our dieters is the importance of being able to work planned indulgences into their diets. Deprivation diets and diets that are overly restrictive are just not sustainable over a long period of time because eventually life circumstances will intrude (birthdays, holidays, celebrations, etc). If your diet does not allow for these types of occasions, chances are eventually you won’t be able to stick to it. We want our dieters to become accustomed now to eating in a way they can maintain for the rest of their lives.
The retreat was last weekend, and even though Lori is currently on a diet and trying to lose weight, she did not have to forgo the chocolate cake she loves so much. Instead, Lori decided that she would plan in advance to have a slice of cake, knowing it may slow down her weight loss for that week. If she didn’t plan ahead of time to eat the cake, Lori knew that when she saw it she would really want it and would feel either very deprived, or would give in, eat it, and feel guilty. Planning to have the cake allowed Lori to eat a reasonable amount and not feel deprived.
At the meeting on Monday, Lori reported that she ate exactly what she had planned, that the chocolate cake was just as delicious as she remembered, and she enjoyed every bite.