Nobody loves a thin crust pizza more than me. I’d be willing to bet money on it!
I always used to say that if I were stranded on a desert island with only one food to eat for the rest of my life, I’d want it to be a thin crust pizza with ALL the toppings.
If I thought I could never again enjoy a crispy slice, or two or three, fresh from the pizza oven, I’d become unglued. I’d swear, “No way! Done with this cruel and unusual punishment.” And never look back.
But the good news is that pizza is not banished from my food plan. Neither is vanilla ice cream with hot fudge sauce and nuts, a slice of tart key lime pie, birthday cake slathered with a butter cream frosting or warm apple crisp topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
Allowing and planning for exceptions like these is part of any sustainable weight loss strategy.
But, to do this effectively, you need a Master Food Plan.
You know the old adage, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
And that saying applies to exceptions in spades.
Create a Master Food Plan (PLAN) designed for success.
Learning how to create and follow a Master Food Plan is a foundational part of my weight loss program.The PLAN is comprised of your Food Protocol and your Exception Protocol.
And the Food Protocol part of your personal PLAN consists of 2 lists:
- The first part lists all the nourishing whole foods you’re wanting and willing to eat.
- The second part lists the nourishing foods that you do not currently eat but will consider trying or introducing into your daily meal plans. Maybe they’re unfamiliar to you, like hemp seeds, or maybe a different cooking method would make them tastier.
The third list I ask clients to make is the basis for their Exception Protocol.
- It catalogs those foods or edible food products that are low on the nourishment scale but high on the flavor and entertainment scale without which life would lose some of its sparkle.
- You can choose to eat foods on this list on occasion, but not as a regular addition to your Food Protocol.
- Eating foods on your Exception Protocol ALWAYS requires at least 24 hours advance planning.
- This means no spur of the moment pinches, grabs, licks or tastes.
- It means delaying, but not denying.
Sounds pretty simple, right?
Your goal is to plan daily meals that include any of the foods from your nourishing list and foods from your willing to try list. When a special occasion occurs, you can plan in advance to include a choice from your Exception Protocol.
You’ve substituted a food plan for food drama.
Your exceptions list is not a list of banished foods.
There’s no such thing as a banished food.
You are simply deciding to delay eating certain foods and that it’s worth it to save those indulgences for a special occasion. Planned in advance. Not on a whim, availability or in response to a craving.
You never have to deny yourself any food forever, unless it makes you ill, there is an allergy that prevents consumption, or you just don’t feel good after eating it. But even if your choice gives you unremitting heartburn, and you are willing to pay that price, that’s still your decision.
So whatever your Food Protocol is, these are the foods just don’t make the cut.
When you choose to eat them, you’re eating “off plan.” But the important distinction is that you’re doing so with eyes wide open. On purpose. Not on the sly. Not gobbling it in hopes that no one will notice. No hiding. No guilt or shame.
This means you have thought about it ahead of time. You have planned to eat this food and truly enjoy it. It’s all about the pleasure. You savor each bite.
Your harsh inner critic, dread and remorse are the only things to banish.
Overeating Exception Protocol foods is too often in response to some sort of negative emotion.
Perhaps you’re trying to avoid experiencing something unpleasant or disturbing. Or trying to distract yourself from some emotion that you’re already experiencing. When that happens, you’re barely even tasting the food. You’re just looking for a means to an end.
You just want to feel better.
And when you get that rush of dopamine that sugar, flour, alcohol or other highly processed foods delivers, it seems like a good choice. In the moment that is. The unintended consequence of excess weight or poor metabolic health is too often the result.
Planned exceptions are not cheat days, cheat meals or cheat foods.
The idea of “cheating” is a very common way that most of the weight loss industry discusses eating food that’s off plan.
The only thing banished from my weight loss program is the word “cheating.”
There’s no such thing as “cheating” on my It’s Never Too Late Weight Loss Program. Whatever you decide to eat, you have two outcomes to consider and evaluate. Either you’re either succeeding by following your plan and protocols or you’re learning how to do it better.
Furthermore, in my weight loss program you don’t cheat on yourself. You plan and take action.
You’re an adult. You get to decide to do whatever you want to do.
You get to eat whatever you want to eat.
Chewing and swallowing food has no moral value. There’s nothing inherently good or bad in that!
This new way evaluating what you eat puts a stop to the “I’ll start on Monday” mentality, or “I’ll start after my birthday.” Or some holiday. Or a cruise with unlimited access to food. You’re never cheating so no repentance or starting over is ever necessary.
The term Exception Protocol is a neutral way to describe foods you eat on occasion.
Creating an Exception Protocol is a more neutral way of managing your desire to eat food that appeals to your palate but doesn’t necessarily nourish your body.
You have your Food Protocol, the foods that nourish your body that you can can choose from 24/7. That’s what you eat most of the time. And then, on occasion, you are free to chose something different from you Exception Protocol.
None of these protocols is etched in stone. They’re living documents that can be adjusted, tweaked or rewritten at any time.
You are in control and get to decide whatever makes sense to you.
You might ask yourself, “If I’m trying to lose weight, why would I make an exception?”
Some people balk at the idea. They question why would they ever want to eat foods that light up their brains and create cravings and over-desire for more of that food.
That’s a fair question and you have to answer it for yourself. I teach criteria to help you decide whether it’s best for you to plan an exception from the beginning of the program or delay it until you’re new habits are firmly established.
What never has to happen is an automatic ban on certain foods.
I can guarantee that banned foods have an out-sized ability to haunt and torment you.
My weight loss program teaches you how to become comfortable with new habits that are meant to last a lifetime. Not for a few months or a years until you lose the weight. Because if you revert to your old habits, you can count on regaining the weight over time.
Ultimately, your goal is to learn how to get pleasure out of food in appropriate amounts.
You want your food to taste good, nourish your body and enjoy eating it.
Let that pleasure be good enough.
When you plan exceptions, you’re teaching yourself that you are the higher power on your weight loss journey. You really can have whatever you want.
Just plan for it.
You eat it when you’re hungry or you still have more room.
And you only continue to eat it while it still tastes good.
Create an Exceptions Protocol that’s unique to you.
You can enjoy exceptions without fear that they will jump start a binge cycle. That you might go off the rails for good. That all your hard work will unravel.
Together, we can design a Master Food Plan that meets you where you are today. A plan that can help you improve your relationship with food, your body and your weight. One day at a time.
So, please take me up on my offer for your FREE Strategy Call. Then you can see for yourself how it’s possible to jump start weight loss by intentionally narrowing your focus to what matters most.
This exploration can help you reach your weight loss goals with a lot less stress and drama.
It’s totally possible to make 2022 your year to create the healthiest you. No matter your age, stage or past disappointments.
Jump start your fresh start. A year from now you will thank yourself you reached out to me today.
I’m looking forward to meeting you soon.
It’s Never Too Late to make your weight loss journey easier. Let’s go!