Around the Holidays, Be Real with Your Goals

A few weeks ago, two of my clients came in for their regular appointments (at different times). Our plan was to discuss weight and holiday strategies.dieting, diet, diets, healthy diet, healthy diets, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, eating disorder, body image, overeating, nutrition

What struck me was that their attitudes were totally different, and I could see it in the way they behaved in my office. Let me first tell you that in my practice, I like to talk for a while with my clients before I weigh them. It helps me get a sense of how they are doing, what’s going on in their lives that may affect their weight plans. It also helps me when it comes time to set goals for our next visit.

He decided not going to “follow his meal plan” for three week. He had several family weekend activities and he also loves Halloween. So he had no guilt associated with the eating he was doing. He was quite surprised, and pleased to discover he had not gained an ounce since our last appointment. He had, in fact, continued his activity, but he had stopped following any kind of eating “plan”.

On the other hand, she came in very frustrated and upset with herself. Keeping food records is one of the methods she uses to help herself “stay on track.This had worked for her since our first meeting, and it she said she wanted to keep recording her intake. But she had stopped recording her intake two weeks before our monthly appointment. She felt she had been overeating, and just didn’t want to see it on paper. She was feeling out of control and very guilty about her behaviors. She had injured her shoulder and couldn’t exercise regularly, and she felt in a downward spiral. I tried to make several suggestion, such as taking small walks, setting less ambitious activity goals-anything to help her pull herself out of this slump.

But she didn’t want to hear any of it. After a short while, we took her weight, and she discovered she had not gained an ounce. Suddenly, her entire demeanor changed. She was smiling, and open to many of the suggestions we had just discussed! She said that she felt optimistic and now thought she would be able to start keeping records and becoming active. She was a different person.

Why was he so positive when he first came in, and she so negative? The answer is easy- attitude.

His attitude was much more realistic than hers. He had decided NOT to diet, and so if there were no “rules” to break, he was still in control. He had no reason to feel disappointed, because he had done nothing “wrong.”

She, on the other hand, had a much more negative attitude. While she had given up keeping food records, she had not given herself permission to stop dieting. Her attitude was that she was out of control, and so she had failed.

It is important to be realistic about your behaviors, especially around the holidays. I tell my clients the goal is to work to stay active and to maintain weight. He was being realistic about his behaviors, and so was much more pleasant not at all disappointed. She, unfortunately, had been unrealistic, and so disappointed herself.

Don’t set goals you cannot keep. Maybe it is best to forget about your eating behaviors for the next few weeks. Set yourself activity goals instead. Walk around your living room for five minutes before you go to bed. It may turn out that five minutes is goes by really fast (especially if the TV is on), so you’ll walk for tenÂ…fifteen. You get the idea.

You may also find that if you allow yourself to eat what you want, when you want to eat it-your need for the food may decrease. When foods are not forbidden, the need for those foods becomes less and less. And, the amount of food it takes to satisfy you becomes less as well.

Try it-and have a wonderful holiday season.