Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Plan now to be successful over Labor Day weekend

In just few days, those of us in United States will enter the Labor Day holiday weekend; often considered the “last hurray” of summer before the kids go back to school. Many of you will be traveling and the north woods will be full of weekend visitors. I will have a large group of family members gathering up at the family camp, “Pip’s Place”, for a few days of family fun. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and my sister, brother and their families will all be here. After a week of extended work hours, I’ll be ready for a long weekend, but along with the family, comes a whole lot of temptation because I will be surrounded by all sorts of good food and treats for three days.

One of the keys to my success thus far has been in “Making a Plan” to keep on track so that I can eliminate any excuse to abandon my plan and/or give into temptation. I’m not saying my “way of thinking” is any better than anyone else’s, but I know my own mentality and I’m not one that is able to “take a weekend off plan” and pick back up on Monday, so I have to think ahead. I just don’t trust myself to “eat what I want on the weekend” and return to my “way of life” when I return to work. For some of you, this works, but for me…it’ doesn’t….and so now, early in the week, I’ve already begun to plan ahead for success. How…..you might ask? Are you really going to make it all weekend without “cheating”? Yup….been there; done that….for more than three years without giving in….not even once….so I’m planning NOW to do it again. As good as a big, juicy cheeseburger or a piece of birthday cake might be, it’s just not worth it to me. So…. How are you going to be surrounded by BBQ’s, big breakfasts, birthday cake, and Uncle Bob’s famous spaghetti and stay on track without feeling deprived?

Well, I’ll take it one meal at a time and make some substitutions. My grocery list this week will include a package of low-calorie hot dogs (there is an Oscar Meyer brand that is only 50 calories each), a pound of ground turkey for burgers, a loaf of 35-calorie-a-slice wheat bread to use instead of buns for either the hotdogs/burger and for French toast with sugar-free syrup and spray butter, a spaghetti squash to shred instead of pasta, and a whole bunch of fresh fruit (peaches and melon are now in season) and vegetables. And…you guessed it…a watermelon….or two!!!! I’ll make a smoothie with yogurt, unsweetened almond milk, and frozen strawberries for the birthday party and eat it like ice-cream when cake is served, and maybe add fresh blueberries to oatmeal when the family is eating biscuits and gravy. The berries will be a special treat to the usual plain-ole oatmeal I typically eat, making it feel like a “holiday”. When the family is enjoying campfire treats, I may make air-popped popcorn if I’m feeling like I need to snack. I might make a side dish of butternut squash sweetened with Splenda and cinnamon or perhaps a baked apple for a dessert. I’ll be sure to have a lot of options available…just in case the smell of s’mores becomes overwhelming.

I’ve been down this road before and have not strayed off track….but only by planning ahead (and the Grace of God) and having things on hand to eliminate any excuse to give in to the “Oh, you have to try this” or the “Just a little bit won’t hurt” that I might encounter from a well-meaning family member that really doesn’t understand my “I could…but I choose NOT to” mindset. Also… I’ll keep myself busy playing with the nieces and nephews, taking walks or bike rides, working in the flower beds, swimming, and being as active as possible. And when all else fails, I’ll remove myself from the temptation and go home if I feel myself feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or tempted so that I don’t give into emotional eating. Certainly I won’t make others feel bad for my choices. It’s just not worth it to me to take two steps back….for what…..a few minutes of “oh my goodness…this is SO delicious?” If it’s worth it to you; go for it, but plan to minimize the damage with an extra-long walk or more time on the treadmill. Remember, our journey is personal; what works for me may not necessarily work for you.

So….what are your weekend plans…..and how are you going to stay on track if you are camping, having a BBQ or picnic, or traveling? Are you planning for success….or taking the weekend off? Do you have any tips for the rest of us? Whatever you do, don’t set yourself up for failure by failing to plan ahead. I’m living proof that YES…you can get resist temptation….Yes, you can enjoy a holiday weekend without giving in…and YES, you can go back to work on Tuesday without feeling guilty or afraid to face the scale, but it doesn’t ‘JUST HAPPEN” by itself. You have to think ahead…plan ahead….and then, finally, stick with it! You can do it, my friends….You CAN do it!!!!!