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There’s a definite pattern when it comes to adults and Halloween candy. Many adults resist candy on Halloween. Then, the next day if it’s in the house or at the office they start to pick. “Just a couple” pieces here, a couple there. The same thing goes for Thanksgiving. Day of, many clients are on plan. The next day? The leftovers take them down.
Why is this? Many people make a decision, ahead of time, not to eat candy on Halloween or not to eat the 5,000 calorie meal on Thanksgiving. It’s clear what the plan is for the holiday itself. The day after? There’s no plan for that and so deliberation begins. “Should I have it?” and this line of questioning rarely ends well.
I read a thought-provoking Vox article, “the myth of self-control”. The first portion of the article is a little depressing as the case is made that it’s super tricky to pass things up. “Human beings are terrible at resisting temptation.” Then came the interesting part. “The people who are really good at self-control never have these battles in first place.” It’s not that some people have more willpower, it’s that some people avoid having to exert it.
If you want to avoid the exhaustion that comes with fending food (or other temptations for that matter) off some ideas:
I talk about this throughout The Little Book of Thin. The fewer food decisions you make on the spot, the better. When you’re staring face to face with the muffin tray and negotiating, your odds are slim. A Foodstalking client has a coworker with a candy bowl or “bowl of bullshit” as she calls it. The bowl was her downfall every afternoon. “One or two things only” wasn’t cutting it. Instead she called out of B.O. B. and put it on her “no” list. No piece here or piece there, no contemplating no bullshit…period.
Reminders and reinforcement
In research mentioned in the article, people were texted reminders of their goals to help them make good choices. A couple of years ago, we started our Foodstalking program. We were astounded by the success and demand for spots. In this email-based program, we are in touch with clients daily. This encouragement and accountability helps establish new behaviors. Having a buddy is another way of doing this. Enlist a friend or coworker (spouses aren’t best idea for this) and work together to skip the candy, make it to your workouts etc.
“No candy” for some sounds daunting. In order to avoid the bowl of bullshit, my client has an RX Bar at 3pm every day. You can replace a food with a food or it can be a behavior. Taking a walk after dinner or meeting a friend for a workout instead of a drink are other examples of substitution.
So don’t beat yourself up for a slip. Instead, backtrack and see where you could’ve avoided that temptation all together. I’ll remind you about this again before Thanksgiving and leftovers come into play.