Decide before you decide…

Want to know one of the greatest tricks I learned while losing weight (actually can apply to any goal that involves making decisions)???

DECIDE BEFORE YOU DECIDE!

Scenario:  you are going out Friday night for date night with the hubby.  You want to relax and enjoy, not overshadow the night with fearful, fretful decisions about what to eat, how much to drink, maybe just sulking the entire night because you want to relax but you also want to reach your goals.  The night is no longer fun – and hubby isn’t having too much fun with this “new you” either.

New Plan of Attack:  DECIDE ahead of time what you will have, whether you plan to abstain (you know from the food heehee), whether you plan to indulge, whether you plan to cut back on some of your snacks ahead of time to leave some more wiggle room… just decide first that way you’ve already fretted and himmed and hawed and you can just enjoy the evening.
An example from one of my real nights out – I want to drink with the hubs at our favorite honkey tonk. I am not particularly interested in eating a deluxe dinner so I opt for a chicken salad and ate a little more veggies and a little less carbs earlier in the day too.  3-4 beers is my limit so that I can enjoy the next day too!  And I know I cannot sleep on a stomach full of beer so I plan to have another chicken salad after we leave the bar.  I’ve made my decisions ahead of time so I don’t feel one bit bad about ordering my beer, and I don’t sit there with my phone trying to calculate how much another one is gonna set me back.  Having decided ahead of time ALSO keeps me from ordering a burger at 2am because I’ve already decided I’ll be having a chicken salad :)

Scenario:  Everyone in the family really wants to eat at the local pizzeria, which has a small menu so basically the only thing you can get is pizza. aaahhhhh

New Plan of Attack:  Decide ahead of time to eat a salad before I go, perhaps even a little lean protein, and then eat only one slice of pizza.  If I am in a stricter phase of my diet I may just sit and enjoy a drink with them after eating my dinner at home.  Since I’ve decided already (and eaten already) I am not sitting at the table making everyone uncomfortable trying to decide WHAT to do!

Scenario:  Birthday celebrations – cake, cake and more cake.  Need I say more?

New Plan of Attack:  decide ahead of time whether you will have any cake, how much cake, then when the birthday host asks you if you’ll be having some you’ll know the answer already!  Much easier than telling yourself no (or yes) on the spot!

It can be really uncomfortable to make these decisions when other people are waiting on you or watching you AND their comments about “just this one time”  “let your hair down” start to influence your decision.  It can also be uncomfortable when faced with your favorite flavor of cake staring back at you waiting for you to decide.  What should really be your influence is what YOU want, what YOU are working toward.  I am not here to tell you you should eat the cake or not, but instead that it is easier to stick to your plan if you decide BEFORE you even get into the situation.

And by the way, I do believe in indulging appropriately, HOWEVER if you indulge every time there is opportunity or every time you can’t make up your mind, you won’t get to your goals very quickly.

And a few bonus tips on treats!  Make your own treat so you can control the ingredients and use lower fat, lower sugar recipes :)   but assuming you are choosing from ready-made treats cake (knock off the icing) trumps cookies or brownies, salsa trumps bean dip trumps cheese dip, baked or grilled meats trump fried, whole meats with natural fat (chicken, roast) trump added-fat ones (hotdogs, salami, sausage)

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