Summer time, when the livin’ is supposed to be easy, can pose some serious challenges if we are addicted to food and don’t have a game plan.
This week, Beacon was all aBuzz about weekends. Especially summer weekends, with early Fridays and long summer days and nights – lounging by pools, having long dinners with friends and family, sitting around the kitchen catching up on life, brunching with pals. As fun and relaxing as weekends are supposed to be, they also come with lots of unstructured time and lots and lots of unstructured food experiences. Buddies at Beacon were buzzing about difficulties with planning, regulating, and overeating during their weekend relaxation, causing it to be not so relaxing. #uhoh
As so often happens in my life, I got to experience these issues first-hand this weekend visiting my besties at the beach. First off: So. Much. Fun. A reprieve from my busy work schedule, getting real QT with people I love, getting to experience the peace and quiet that comes with the weekend.
And yet, I found myself challenged by the lack of structure, the not-knowing-when-lunch-was-
should-I-make-my-own-or-have- a-snack-and-wait, the abundance of food seemingly everywhere, and the culture of snacking and picking that comes with relaxing on the weekends.
It leaves those of us addicted to food in a bit of a bind. How do we find the middle path of wanting to relax with the best of them, wanting to be included, wanting to honor long-term food and weight goals, AND, more than anything, wanting to leave the weekend feeling truly relaxed and good about ourselves? That, as we say at Beacon, is a problem to be solved.
Some tips on how to make these unstructured relaxing weekends actually relaxing:
Macro-Plan. I know, I know, we are like a broken record with this one. And in the scenarios I’m talking about, sometimes bringing a structured plan with all of your snacks and meals and skills isn’t all that effective. The day takes over and you’re left feeling worse because you spent time making a plan that you didn’t follow through with. I get it, AND planning is so important. Try a Macro-Plan: a larger-themed plan of what you will and won’t do: “I will not eat any sugar this weekend”, “If lunch is not served by 1:30, I will make my own and eat solo”,”I will only have 2 cocktails each day” – you get the drift. Something is always better than nothing, and when we fail to plan, we plan to fail. #nobueno
Your. Plan. Works. The pillars of your plan: meal-regulation, writing down your food, and planning out your meals have served you BIG TIME. Remembering why you are doing them is pretty important when you are watching your friends and family eat with impunity. And I don’t only mean your personal commitment statement and your values about your long-term goals. I mean the actual value of these skills – meal regulation (eating 4-5 times a day, 3-4 hours apart) keeps your risk of binging at an all-time low, food monitoring allows for you to stay accountable to yourself, and the quality of food you are eating helps to keep urges at bay. It’s super hard to remember when the potato buns and ice cream sandwiches are being passed around, so double down on your memory of why this works for you.
Reduce the harm. Sometimes things simply get tricky and sticky when we are addicted to food. We find ourselves with our hand in the potato chip bag, grazing against our better judgement, or eating food that is off plan. Remember that you can be doing something at 3:30 in the afternoon and be doing something completely different at 3:31. You can restart your day at any time, no permission needed. And if that feels too hard for you, there is always value in reducing the harm of what you are doing – trading out potato chips for carrots and sugar-free dip; eating extra chicken instead of more french fries; loading a few scoops of the fruit salad onto your plate when everyone is having dessert even when you are already full. It’s not the day we want on our “Best Selves Magazine,” and sometimes second best is our very best. In all cases, be nice, you’re doing your best, and you rock. #forreals