Last week, my dieter, Kim, and I spent time in session coming up with a strong Easter plan. This week, Kim reported that not only was she able to follow through with her Easter plan, but she felt great about it, and she lost weight this week – something that would have been unheard of in years past. What did Kim do that made her Easter so successful?
1. Kim made it a priority to read her plan and Response cards before she left for the day. In session last week, Kim and I had written out a plan for how she would handle Easter. Usually coming up with a mental plan doesn’t work as well because it’s much easier to erase and cross out things in your mind than it is when it is actually written out. Not only did we write down the plan, but Kim made sure to review it in the days leading up to Easter (so it would be etched more firmly in her brain), and right before she left to go to her sister’s house that day. She also read Response Cards about cravings, holidays, and reminding herself how she’ll feel if she stays in control.
2. Kim looked at all of the food being served before deciding what to have. Although Kim had a pretty good idea of what was being served (she had contacted her sister ahead of time and asked what the menu would be), when it came time to eat, Kim made sure to survey all the dishes and decide deliberately what she would have. This way, she didn’t end up eating a full plate and then see something else she really wanted to have, and end up overeating.
3. Kim was also careful about how much food she served herself. Kim and I had discussed how important it would be for her to only put on her plate what she intended to eat. In doing so, she could eat everything that was on her plate and feel satisfied, and not have to question whether or not she was eating too much or whether or not she should go back for more.
5. Kim had no candy and only one portion of dessert. Deciding how much, if any, candy and desserts Kim would have on Easter was a big part of the plan. Kim is a self-proclaimed chocoholic and loves any and all Easter candy and desserts. Kim told me that in Easters past, she would go overboard on sweets and end up snacking on candy all day long. Kim and I decided that, for her, the best course of action would be to have no candy on Easter and one portion of whatever baked good she wanted. We decided on this plan because we knew that if Kim got started snacking on Easter candy, it would make it very easy for her to continue going back for more and more. The baked goods being served (mainly cupcakes) were already portion-controlled, and not as easy to keep dipping into. This way, Kim wouldn’t have to struggle against whether or not to have more candy and instead she could focus on enjoying her cupcake. Because Kim really likes candy, we also decided that she didn’t have to deprive herself of all candy – she just wouldn’t have any on that day because she was eating so many other delicious things. We also planned that post-Easter she would buy her favorite Easter candy (on sale!) and she enjoyed it even more the day after, when she could really appreciate it. When Kim was tempted by the candy on Easter, she was able to tell herself, “I don’t need to have this now, I’m going to have some tomorrow, instead. Besides, I’m having a cupcake today.”
6. Kim made sure to eat everything sitting down, slowly, and mindfully. By doing so, Kim told me that she was able feel very satisfied (even though she was eating less than previous years) because she really took time to savor and enjoy every bite that she ate. She also didn’t feel guilty about what she was eating, which made the food taste better.
7. Kim didn’t take home any leftovers. Kim knew that it might be difficult for her to control herself if she had lots of Easter leftovers lurking in her refrigerator, so she decided that his year she just wouldn’t take any home, thus eliminating the potential struggle altogether. Kim reminded herself that if there was something there she really liked, she could either wait until next year to have it again, OR make it for herself at some point in the near future. It wasn’t as if she either had to have it right then, or she’d never get it again.
To sum up her day, this is what Kim told me: “At the end of the day, I felt great. I didn’t feel deprived about what I didn’t eat, because I did get to enjoy good food, and instead I really did feel proud and happy about staying in control and following my plan. I was surprised that I also didn’t struggle much because I just knew, ‘If it’s not on my plan, I’m not having it.’ It made the day so much better.”