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.
His 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.