Losing (And Even Maintaining) Is Not Always Reasonable

A few months ago, my client, Ann, went on a trip for three nights. Although she didn’t know her entire itinerary before she went, there were some things that we could plan for in advance. For example, Ann knew that her hotel had a breakfast buffet, and she decided that she would forgo all the pancakes and French toast and instead have eggs, which is what she has for breakfast at home. Ann also decided to stick to her three meals and two snacks schedule, try to order a salad for lunch every day, and make sure her dinner portions were reasonable.

When Ann came back from the trip, she reported that she wasn’t feeling great about how it went. She gave in and had carbs for breakfast, snacked too often during the day, and one night had a big dinner that left her feeling uncomfortably full. The scale reflected this; Ann gained three pounds. Ann and I discussed the trip and what she could learn from it, so that she could have a different outcome the next time.

Reasonable

She made some Response Cards:

If I’m tempted to have anything other than eggs at breakfast, remember: It’s critical that I start the day off on a strong note so that I can be successful the rest of the day. If I exercise my giving-in muscle first thing, I’m much more likely to keep giving in all day.

Stick to three meals and two snacks! If I come in contact with food and it’s not time to eat, either save it for when it is time to eat, or forgo it. Once it’s not in front of me anymore, I won’t be sorry I resisted.

Eating too much makes me feel awful! When I overate at dinner I felt sick and it put a negative cast on the rest of the night. It’s not worth it.

Last week, Ann went on another trip. In session this week, she told me that she was disheartened because she had gained two pounds, despite feeling like she had been on track the whole time. She told me that she made good choices, stuck to her schedule, and really watched her portions. I told Ann that I thought it was reasonable for her to gain two pounds on that trip! It’s not always reasonable in every situation to lose weight, or even to maintain weight. It was clear that on the first trip Ann didn’t need to have gained the weight she did because there were several things that could have gone better. But during this trip, Ann made really good decisions, and there was virtually nothing she felt she should have done differently–which shows that she did a great job. The fact that the scale went up doesn’t mean she didn’t do well; it just means it wasn’t reasonable not to gain a little.

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