Holiday Sabotage

Our dieter Eric was having a tough time committing to making a holiday plan.  We went over with him how important it is to have a plan and learn how to follow it. We reminded Eric that it’s fine if his holiday plan calls for eating a set amount more each day or at each event. He probably won’t lose weight, but he’ll maintain or gain only a little—IF he sticks to his plan.  We told Eric that our experience with dieters has been if they don’t plan at all (“I’ll just try to limit myself”) or if they have too loose a plan (“I’ll just have a little bit of everything”), they just gain too much weight. Or if they have a reasonable plan but decide not to follow it (“It won’t hurt if I have this food I hadn’t planned. I can always start again tomorrow”), they gain too much weight. In any case, they feel SO sorry afterwards. 

wine.jpgHis plan is to add one glass of wine and half a dessert, whenever he goes out this month, to his usual intake. He’s also going to add 100 extra calories to his nightly snack any night that he wants to. We think these planned indulgences will keep him from going overboard on any given day.

We have found that dieters sometimes get angry or sad or rebellious at the idea of having to curb themselves during holidays. We always give them the choice. They can decide to eat whatever they want, whenever they want, and have a poorer long term outcome OR they can learn essential holiday planning and eating skills that they can use for the rest of their lives to maximize the chance of a good long term outcome.

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4 comments

  1. Dovetailing with this blog, a bit of diet advice for myself and everyone else. Do not gain. Let me repeat that. DO NOT GAIN. I have just gone through a somewhat rocky diet period–finally fully back on program and in the past two weeks lost 5 more pounds. What has been different from other off times was that I did not gain. I exercised regularly, I did not go to extremes eating, I weighed myself every few days. So now, back with the program, I lost 5 pounds that I have been carrying around for some years, rather than having to start over and re-lose weight that I lost and gained back, and my overall weight trajectory is still down. I seem to be able to get back on the diet after lapses pretty quickly compared to other times–thanks I would say to the Beck plan. So if you are not going to diet and exercise enough in the holiday period to actually lose, it’s good to remember you will be much happier to be status quo on Jan. 1 rather than 5 or 10 pounds heavier. It may be some people can plan to gain a pound or 2 now and take it off later, and really that is sensible enough. But the losing and regaining is not something I want to aim for. (I read somewhere the average American gains 7 pounds in the holiday season–my guess is that a lot of us keep it on throughout the year.) If you are like me you need a plan, if only a relatively easy, modified plan, to maintain your weight

    Happy holidays to Dr. Beck and staff. Fellow dieters–I wish you all a wonderful, healthy, lean 2008. (And Dr. Beck–your book has helped me get to my lowest weight in recent memory. Even though I still have a way to go, I’m thrilled, Many thanks.)

  2. Argh — I am struggling with this myself right now. I’ve lost almost 50 pounds and I DO NOT want to gain any back. But it’s cold, it’s Christmas, and I miss baking and casual snacking with my family. Plus, at the moment I am just really tired of having to police everything that goes in my mouth.

    Last week I sat down and came up with a whole list of Christmas survival strategies. They include:

    –I will plan my meals to have fewer calories (about 100 less per meal) so that I can have more planned snacks.
    –I’ll make some jicama chips to enjoy instead of tortilla chips, so I can have guacamole and a small amount of other types of dip (if planned).
    — I’ll keep a glass of club soda with a little juice beside me at all times!
    — I can have some microwave popcorn instead of chips.
    — I’ll skip the sweets unless I have planned to have them.
    –I’ll try to exercise more during the holidays.

    My weight loss goal for the week of Christmas is to maintain or even lose a little. I just bought a pair of new jeans, so perhaps they can help keep me on track! 😉

  3. I, too am struggling with this. Friends, family and eating out aren’t issues for me – its’ the relentless Christmas parties at work! I don’t mean to sound like a scrooge – but if it were my choice, I wouldn’t go. After all – how much can you engage in mandatory idle chat with colleagues? Unfortunately, I have to go and am struggling mightily with the miles and miles of gourment sweets on buffet tables that are always a part of these things. Equally as unfortunately, although I have been trying to follow the program faithfully, and am planning beforehand, I haven’t stuck to plan and have gained 5 pounds.

    Trying not to beat myself up too much, everyday, I get up and get back on program again. I continue to exercise, monitor my eating, and have only missed 1 weigh in. I believe as long as I keep working the program, I will succeed. The key yo me is – it is a choice! Do I want to not fit into my new clothes and feel awful – or do I want to feel great.

  4. As with everyone else, the Xmas pig-out sessions called “parties” are not easy to manage. I have been eating a lot, but so far have not really gained any weight…yet.

    What I have decided to do is allow myself to sample any food. But I have to write down the calories eaten in my little notepad, as I eat it. That keeps me on-track.
    I know if I eat 500 cals of cheese, or 800 cals of sweets, then I am going overboard.

    What I did after a few events where I overate, is that I just had a smaller supper, with lots of veggies, but a balanced meal, and that balanced the calories out, and I was not hungry, as I had eaten more than enough anyway for the day.

    So for me just keeping a WRITTEN running total of calories seems to work the best. So if its 4 pm, and I am at 1800 calories from eating at an afternoon event, then I know its going to be a light supper.
    I like the Calorie Counting flexibility, but that is not for everyone. But I find the only way it works is by writing down every calorie I eat, otherwise its easy to go into Denial…

    we’ll see if it works…I think it should work.

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