Be Well: Sticking to the Plan

Image via Tarts & Typography

One week down on my new diet (that word really bums me out). How am I doing so far? I think I'd have to give myself a C.

I know, I know - that's not that great. But it's all I deserve. After holding strong through the work week (no carbs! no desserts! no processed foods!) I totally cratered on the weekend. I had two slices of pizza for dinner on Friday night, and followed it up with my dinner party Tex-Mex bonanza on Saturday, which included strawberry margaritas, queso, guacamole, and SO many chips, as well as fajitas, refried beans, and cake. Delicious, delicious cake.

My weekend crater made me realize that when you're restricting what you eat, having a plan is the most important thing you can do to ensure your successes. When I started my diet, I formed simple ground rules for myself: eat meat and vegetables. And some fruit. And that's it. But I didn't decide what my policy was in special circumstances. For example, this dinner party had been planned long before I started the diet. Did that mean I got a pass to eat a few chips or dessert? If so, how much?

The importance of having a plan extends to more than just special circumstances. It also applies to everyday meals. If you haven't decided what you're going to do for dinner before you get hungry, chances are you're going to make a bad decision. That's how hunger works. Case in point - me eating pizza for dinner on Friday night was the result of me not making Friday night dinner plans. Instead of setting myself up for success by determining what I would eat for dinner several hours before dinner rolled around, I waited until 8PM to figure out a plan. When it's late and you don't have groceries in the house, there are very few diet-friendly foods that are available to you. All of a sudden, ordering pizza is an irresistible option.

Here's why having a plan is important: if I haven't decided what my policy is on a given situation, I'm hungry, and I'm faced with something delicious (and totally not diet friendly), nine times out of ten I will cave and eat that delicious item. But if I've planned ahead, then I'm able to stay strong. Dinner party coming up? No worries - I'll allow myself ten chips and half a slice of cake. Done. No Friday dinner plans? I'll decide what I want to eat on my way home from work and make sure I show up at home prepared. Don't let hunger make your decisions for you. Empower your brain to make your decisions. That's a lesson I struggle to learn every day.

However, in the course of a week I lost one pound! And about half an inch off my waist! It's not much, but it's something. And it's enough to help me re-commit to my diet and exercise plan for the upcoming weeks. Here's hoping that next week when I step on the scale and pull out the tape measure I'm even happier.

Have a great Wednesday!