We’ve talked before in this blog about the importance of always having a plan, but we think it bears repeating, especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner. We were reminded of this during a session with our dieter Rose last week. We asked Rose, who is having Thanksgiving with relatives a couple of hours away from her house, what her food plan was for that day. She responded that she didn’t really have a formal plan but was sure she’d just stay within her normal 1,500 calorie diet that day.
We asked Rose what would be the disadvantages of making a written plan for Thanksgiving Day (it’s important to make a plan for the whole day, not just Thanksgiving dinner). Rose admitted that one of the downsides would be that she wouldn’t feel as free to try different foods. We discussed with Rose the fact that she can’t have it both ways – she can’t eat whatever she wants when she wants it if she wants to lose weight and keep it off. We asked her if she thought she’d be more likely to stay within her calorie limit if she had a written plan and Rose answered yes, it was much more likely if she had a plan. Because Rose reaffirmed that her goal is to lose weight and keep it off, she decided she wanted to do everything she can to reach that goal – including making a Thanksgiving plan. As part of her plan, Rose decided that for this one day she would plan to eat an extra 300 calories, which would allow her to eat a little bit of everything she wants and not feel deprived. Rose recognized that if she didn’t plan to eat this extra 300 calories, she might not stick to her plan and could end up eating hundreds more than she had planned.
We also asked Rose to imagine stepping on the scale the day after Thanksgiving. If she didn’t make a plan, it is likely that she could have gone over her limit by a couple hundred calories (if not a couple of thousand). Rose envisioned that in this scenario she would feel guilty and weak, and angry with herself for overeating. If Rose did make a plan, she was likely to stick with it and not over eat. Then Rose saw herself stepping on the scale and feeling proud and happy – and incredibly glad that she hadn’t overeaten.
With these powerful images in mind, and also with the resolve that she would do whatever it takes to reach her goal, Rose made a written plan for Thanksgiving Day and feels confident that now she will handle the situation with ease.