We have met with and talked to many dieters since Thanksgiving, and we asked each of them, “What worked for you this Thanksgiving?” This is a very important question for all dieters to ask themselves, and especially for those who had very successful Thanksgivings. The reason for this is simple: Thanksgiving happens every year and likely what worked well this year could bring similar success in years to follow, so it is worth it to take a few moments to develop a strong plan that dieters can replicate in years to come.
We also encourage all of our dieters to actually write down what worked for them this year because although it is very fresh in their minds right now, a lot will happen over the course of a year which can drastically erode their memories.
One dieter, Karen from California, wrote in to us and told us specifically what led to her Thanksgiving success. Because she employed so many wonderful techniques, we have decided to share it on the blog so that others can benefit from her ideas, as well. Here is what Karen had to say:
1. I acknowledged to myself that a holiday is NOT “just ONE meal” –it is potentially a week off track, followed by “food guilt” if I follow my old ways of eating.
2. I started listening to The Beck Diet Solution audiobook on Sunday before Thanksgiving to mentally prepare.
3. We decided to let someone else do the cooking (a restaurant in our case) which created MANY benefits, including: a) I bought only our regular, healthy food at the store b) we didn’t have lots of leftover, potentially high calorie, food in the house c) I was not stressed, so there was no temptation to “stress eat” Wednesday night either.
4. Because I wasn’t cooking, our family took a long walk before getting ready to go out Thursday.
5. I kept my pretty, little notepad in my purse to write down what I ate (my phone and iPad are not discreet enough and take too long to enter info).
6. We were eating at a buffet, so we walked past all the food before choosing. I knew I would not eat anything unless it was truly irresistible in flavor (“undressed” veggies being the exception).
7. Because I like stuffing/dressing, I opted not to have bread/rolls.
8. Because it was a buffet, I didn’t worry about “wasting food”, so I had one or two bites of THREE desserts! With many sips of excellent coffee in between.
9. We purposely took a long time, making our one and only plate last as long as possible. The turkey was the star, veggies made up 1/3 of the plate, but the bite of stuffing with each bite of other food was the treat.
10. I limited alcohol to 5 oz of champagne, which I took a long time to drink (normally I would choose wine OR dessert, but I had both!)
11. We went for a long walk at the park (in our fancy clothes) after we finished since there was no clean-up to do.
12. That evening our son was hungry, so I fixed him supper, but I asked myself if I was hungry and the true answer was no, so I didn’t end up eating again, I just had two cups of tea.
13. Because we had no leftovers or unusual cookies/cakes/pies in the house, we went back to eating the food we regularly enjoy for the rest of the weekend.
14. I estimate I ate about 1500 calories total that day (I was prepared to have 1800, but my bigger concern was preventing over eating all the OTHER days before and after T-day–that is what normally starts the bad holiday cycle, not just the actual Thanksgiving meal). Who knew eating out would actually help me stay on track!
Karen also had the fantastic idea to attach her list to her electronic calendar for next year, so in the week before Thanksgiving, she would automatically be prompted to remember not only what she did last year, but HOW GREAT IT FELT when she did it!
Isn’t it worth taking just a few minutes to write down a similar list with all of the things you did well this year (or all of the things you would like to do differently next year) if it means you get to stay in control of your eating, feel good about yourself, AND lose weight and keep it off?