Hopefully, the celebration you are attending can be in ‘real life’ as opposed to a zoom screen filled with balloons and you and your family squishing for a space to see or be seen. Whether it be on a screen or in person, there will undoubtedly be some sort of food and drink involved.
As a society we associate celebrations with food and alcohol. It is the norm in our society, and it has been like this since the beginning of time. The norm of our society now is that most people are overweight. So, when losing weight, you need to do some things that to other people, may be abnormal. This feels a little uncomfortable, because our human instinct is to be one of the herd, to fit in.
But the results are worth it. The feeling that you get when you put yourself and your weight loss goals first and decide that you are more important than other people’s opinions or judgements is amazing. It fuels self-confidence and shows you that you are capable of achieving new things. New things that will help you develop into a better version of yourself.
You may feel an urge to eat some foods, either through old patterns or an overdesire that has been conditioned, but not having the food won’t kill you. In fact, it may just get you thinking how else you could enjoy the celebration when not using food as the main source of joy at the event. You might decide to brush off those dancing shoes, or chat to some friends or family you have not seen in a while down the other end of the table. People that you may not have had the desire to speak to, because the desire for food and eating ‘all the things’ was paramount.
Below I have shared two different actions you can use when wanting to maintain your weight loss journey at a celebration. Pay attention to the details so you can take in all the tips to help you to follow through on yourself.
· Action 1 is to plan ahead of time to eat on your weight loss protocol
· Action 2 is planning ahead of time to allow yourself to eat off your weight loss protocol or normal food plan (this sounds too good to be true right?)
Believe it or not, both of these decisions can lead to you feeling in control. Feeling out of control, guilty, disappointed and ashamed lead to actions of overeating. Nod, nod you reply.
Let’s start with planning ahead of time to eat on your normal weight loss protocol.
Action 1 – Planning Ahead of Time
If you are used to my blogs, you will hear me harp on about planning your food. Planning really does allow your smart brain to make good decisions for your future weight and well being. It can override your primal brain, that in the moment will seek pleasure. Pleasure being all the foods laden with flour and sugar. It is how our brains are wired. This level of planning needs to be done 24 hours in advance and even better if you write it down to make it a reality. It takes 5 minutes.
You decide ahead of time that you will eat the foods on your normal food list, and eat till you are satisfied, and not stuffed. If you know what foods there will be at the event, even better, as you can decide what you are having beforehand and how much. Will it be one starter with foods on your food list, and one main meal plate with the foods you would choose at home?
You need to remain conscious and enjoy each mouthful. This may mean you politely turn down the nibbles, starter and dessert. More on how to do that shortly!
The plan you have created in advance gives your brain direction. It likes direction.
Carrying out action plan 1 will also involve you being open to experience some level of discomfort.
Discomfort will come from:
1. Your conditioned response to desire sugar and flour and your brains illogical thought error that it is essential to survival
2. You wanting to avoid the emotion of feeling restless or bored at the celebration (especially during speeches right?)
3. You not wanting to be judged by other people, or you wanting to please other people by taking what they offer
Have your own back on this! Here’s how
1. Allow the feeling of desire, don’t resist it, just let it be in your body. It won’t kill you. Our brains may think it is essential for survival, but your smart brain knows better. Deconditioning your desire for sugar and flour is something I work on with my clients. Check out my blog ‘If I know how to lose weight, why can’t I just do it’ for more information on overdesire created from flour and sugar.
2. Avoiding negative emotion is what we have learned or been conditioned to do. When you walk into a celebration or event you may feel restless, agitated or nervous. The waiter comes around and offers you an escape from these uncomfortable emotions in the way of a scrumptious nibble (we will look at alcohol in next week’s blog). Your brain says, “Excellent, an escape from my negative feeling”, AND if it is made of sugar “this will make me feel awesome”. If it looks pretty, perhaps something like “it just looks so good, I have to try it”.
What if you just sat with a feeling of bored or restlessness and not tried to escape it? Would it be so bad? Is the alternative of eating all the food better?. Get curious to why you feel restless or fidgety, what are the thoughts causing these feelings for you? What else could you think in the moment that would make you calm or settled?
3. Now, discomfort caused by people pleasing is a whole different blog, which is due out in 2 weeks, so I will only touch briefly on it here. Putting yourself first and having love for yourself, sometimes means saying “No”. It is saying that you are important, and you know what is best for you.
The trouble here is that when Great Grandma Bessie offers you some of her famous rhubarb crumble you don’t want to disappoint her. Instead you are willing to sacrifice your own goals and dreams to please someone else and create a feeling disappointment within you. Women are particularly good at this to preserve an image of being selfless. Practice saying “no thanks” or “I would prefer not to”. The more you do this the easier it becomes. Promise.
Action 2 – Planning ahead of time to eat off your normal plan
This sounds a bit like throwing in the towel, but if you plan to eat off protocol very sporadically then this type of planning can be very powerful. I encourage my clients that these exceptions should be few and far between, but are a good way to demonstrate you can eat off protocol, and then take the very next action to slip straight back into eating on your usual protocol without feeling like giving up.
How does it work?
You make the plan 24 hours in advance. Something like, ‘I will eat as much of a starter, main and dessert as I want. And these may include foods high in sugar and flour. I will drink 3 glasses of wine’. You may like to constrain a little more than normal and cut out one part of the celebratory food you would normally eat out of the plan. You have the best wisdom, just plan it ahead of time.
This plan allows you to feel like you are not reacting or responding to an urge, but following an agreement you have made with yourself using your smart brain. Part of this planning needs to include the consequences you maybe signing up for, so you are prepared and have made these decisions with smart and conscious intentions. E.g. I may feel sluggish and may gain weight. I will allow for these.
Having this deliberate plan stops you from feelings of disappointment, regret, out of controlness (new word) and guilt. You have planned this knowingly and lovingly. This ensures you get straight back on your protocol to be your best self, without beating yourself up. Doesn’t that sound good!
Which ever plan you choose, make sure it is planned 24 hours in advance and that you are switched into a mode of kindness towards yourself and curiosity to what may come up. Coach yourself to stay conscious through this as it will teach you things about yourself that help you to create strategies and move forward. Ask yourself a great question: If I am not using food as a source of joy at the event, what else can I do to create enjoyment?
Lastly, make sure you equip yourself with great thoughts and practice them often.
· I can do this
· Me and my weight loss goal are important
· I will make planned choices for my health
· I am in control of my weight loss
· I am making better decisions for my health
If you want some help with your forever weight loss solution and to learn more tools to be the best version of yourself let me know, or, check out my Stop Overeating program here. I have got you.