- In last week’s blog post, I wrote about creating two eating plans, a Food Plan and an Urge Plan. Let’s make that happen today!
But first, we can’t get started without acknowledging that this year’s holiday table will be unlike any we’ve ever known. Probably just the immediate family in your “safe bubble”. Many beloved faces missing from the scene.
If you live in a warm climate, perhaps you can stretch to become a bit more inclusive because you can celebrate outside. But for many of us, our celebrations will be inside and very, very small.
This year, the holidays are just me and my husband. FaceTime and Zoom are the life lines that connect us to family and friends. We depend on them and are grateful for their reach around the world.
Perhaps you’re limiting the menu to just the most simple versions of family favorites. But I’m willing to bet that it includes some traditional treats, either homemade or store bought.
If serving all your favorites, plus your traditional cookies, cakes, candies and pies, is a must, preparing food and urge plans in advance is a must too.
You can already imagine that there will be plenty of delicious left-overs tempting you back to the frig day after day until they’re done and gone.
And you may lean on go to thoughts like,”What a year this has been. I deserve this.”
That’s where creating realistic food and urge plans can come to your rescue!
During holidays, celebrations or vacations, you know you’ll be exposed to more temptations and options than usual. Deciding how your going to respond in advance is key to successfully navigating the abundance.
You can even have standing plans for each of these occasions.
A Food Plan defined.
A Food Plan is a list of foods that you want to eat to nourish your body. It’s as simple as that.
- It can also include foods you have decided you don’t want to eat.
- And it can include foods that you may decide to eat on occasion when planned for in advance.
- You can decide to eat anything you want with advanced planning. Nothing is off limits.
The key to success is that you plan what you’re going to eat at least 24 hours in advance. And you follow your plan no matter what.
No calorie, points or macro counting. No measuring required.
When it’s time to eat, just serve yourself an eye-balled portion of the foods you’ve already planned to eat. You haven’t got this far in life without knowing what a realistic portion of any particular food might be. This isn’t rocket science, just common sense.
An Urge Plan defined.
An Urge Plan is your strategy to deal with desires or cravings to eat foods that aren’t on your food plan. Or for when you want to eat more of a particular food than you decided in advance that you would. Or for when you do, in fact, actually sastify the urge and eat off your plan.
An Urge Plan has two parts:
- Part 1 is what you will do when you experience the urge so you can allow it to be present without answering it.
- Part 2 is what you will do when you answer the urge and decide to eat off plan.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
I bet you’ve heard that more than a few times. But, you know what it means. Advance thought and planning leads to greater levels of success.
The magical effect of food and urge plans lies in the advance planning and simply following the plan.
You’ve probably already heard of the compelling research that shows that people who actually identify and set specific goals have a higher probability of meeting them.
And that people who commit their goals to writing increase the probability that they will achieve them.
People who identify goals, write them down and add specific measurable details succeed at an even higher rate.
Be that person who plans at least 24 hours in advance and who:
- Writes down her plan.
- Includes measurable details like time, date, amount, frequency, place.
- Commits to following the plan.
- Has your own back in the follow through.
- Reviews what happened if things didn’t go according to plan and LEARNS from her missteps.
- Figures out what she needs to do to plan better next time.
Think of your plans as loving, caring commitments to your well-being that you will keep no matter what.
Some helpful tips to consider as you design your Food Plan.
- Decide that, whether you’re the guest or the host, you’ll survey all the food options available first, before making any decisions.
- Imagine your dinner plate. Divide it into four sections. Now imagine your selected foods and decide how you’ll fill each quarter. I imagine 1/2 my plate filled with salad, veggies and fruit. A quarter filled with protein. The final quarter filled with carby foods, potatoes, stuffing, bread if those are on your list of foods you want to eat or exceptions you want to make because of the occasion. Otherwise increase the veggies.
- Imagine your smaller desert plate divided into four sections. Decide in advance that you will only fill half the plate. There is no law that says the plate has to be 100% full. In the half you intend to fill, include slivers, bites, tastes of whatever deserts you’ve decided ahead of time that you will eat.
- Decide what beverages you will drink. If alcohol is on your menu, decide in advance how many and when?
- Determine ahead of time how you will signal to yourself the end your special meal. You might choose a cup of tea or coffee. You might add some helpful thoughts to think that indicate the meal is over. Consider what other cues you could add that reinforce that the kitchen is closed. Turn off all the lights in kitchen. Listen for the hum of the dishwasher.
Some helpful tips to consider as you design your Urge Plan.
Part 1, once you become aware and acknowledge the urge is surfacing these are useful steps to include in your plan to allow urges:
- Create a 100 Urges Worksheet. You are going to track each urge and note whether you’ve allowed it or answered it. Just keep adding to your list. There’s no need to start over again if you’ve answered an urge rather than allowed it. Keep adding.
- Make a note of the date and time and brief description of what it was and what you did, allowed or answered.
- Identify the sentences/words in your head that are communicating the urge
- Identify the feeling that that those thoughts create that drive your craving or urge
- Allow those thoughts and feelings to surface rather than trying to resist or ignore them.
- Become the compassionate third person observer of yourself. Watch your thoughts and feelings as they’re happening to you.
- Process the feelings that emerge by giving them a name, even describing their physical characteristics. Observe them moving through your body.
- Give yourself at least 10 minutes to allow the urge, process the feelings, and experience the urge receding.
- Affirm your ability to allow an urge with encouraging words and acknowledgements.
- Remind yourself that whatever you truly want can be added to tomorrow’s plan.
Part 2, if you’ve answered the urge or craving by satisfying it, it’s time to learn from the experience and draw some conclusions about what you could do differently or better next time.
- Use this as a learning experience to prepare for the outcome you want next time.
- Ask yourself what you could do differently or better next time and write it down.
- Refer back to this strategy when urges surface again.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself in situations that you know will stimulate an urge. The more practice you have in allowing your urges and cravings, the easier it becomes to manage them.
If your harsh inner critic rears her head to chastise you, plan so me go to responses to her negativity that show compassion and grace for being human.
I can help you design food and urge plans that work for you.
They’ll stand you in good stead for this holiday season and beyond.
Let me know you’re ready for a free, no-strings attached strategy call right here. so we can talk about your situation.
You deserve the relationship of your dreams with food, your body and your weight. Let’s make that happen!