Last week I had a session with Edie, who was leaving the next day to go on vacation with her husband for a week. We spent most of our time formulating a strong vacation plan so that she would be feel comfortable and confident on the trip.
One of the main challenges Edie faced was that all of her meals would be served in the restaurant of the mountain lodge where they would be staying. Edie knew ahead of time that breakfast would be a buffet, and lunch and dinner would be menu service. Edie also told me that her main goal for this trip would be to maintain her weight, and so we talked about what she would need to do to make that happen.
Edie and I first discussed breakfast buffet strategies, and decided that she would:
1. On the first day, look at all of the options before deliberately deciding what to have that morning.
2. Remind herself that she didn’t need to eat everything she wanted all at once because she would have many other opportunities to do so. If, for example, she wanted an omelet, oatmeal, and yogurt with granola, she could have one option each day. She didn’t need to have all three in one day.
3. Make sure to eat every bite sitting down, slowly, and mindfully, instead of snacking while she was going through the buffet line.
4. Not put more on her plate than she was planning to eat.
Then Edie and I talked about how she would handle lunch and dinner each day, and came up with following strategies:
1. It’s important for Edie to remember that almost every restaurant meal is too big and contains too many calories, and if she wants to maintain her weight on this trip, she probably can’t ever finish everything that is served to her. She’ll likely need to leave food behind during every single lunch and dinner, and so it’s necessary for her to go in with the expectation that she just won’t clean her plate.
2. Edit decided that she would do her best to make healthy food decisions and, whenever possible, order food that she knew she would find satisfying and filling, even if it wasn’t what she most felt like eating at that time.
3. Edie and I also discussed that she shouldn’t be afraid to ask for special requests, such as sauces on the side or vegetables steamed without oil. I reminded Edie that one of her major reasons to lose weight had to do with her health, and it was perfectly legitimate to ask for what she needed to ensure her good health.
Edie also decided that she would bring some healthy snacks with her so that she wouldn’t have to rely on less healthy options, and that she would make sure to take advantage of available activity/exercise options, like going snow shoeing and light hiking.
Edie came back to see me this week and reported that not only did she have a great time on her trip, she also didn’t gain a pound. Edie told me that one of the things that most helped her was going in with the expectation that she wouldn’t clear her plate at lunch and dinner, which made leaving food behind so much easier. Edie and I also discussed the fact that she felt great about her eating both during the trip and after, especially when she didn’t have to struggle to get back on track once the trip was over. I asked Edie if it was worth it to her to continue working on healthy eating during future trips, and she told me, “Absolutely, 100% YES!”