How to Stay Focused on Long Term Goals in the Face of Temptation
Note: this post is somewhat excerpted from the Impulsive Ketocast episode 50 with Ben McDonald, with some additional material and thoughts. If you’d like to listen to the podcast in its entirety, you can do so here: http://impulsiveketo.com/wp/ikc50/
With the Holiday Season in full swing, you’re probably knee deep in temptation right now. If you managed to make it thru Halloween without eating your kids trick or treats, and were able to to brute force your way through Gram’s famous stuffing, you might be thinking that you’re out of the woods and it’s all downhill from here. And you might be right about the downhill if you’re thinking about a severe backslide in CarbTown.
As with most things Christmas-y, the carb landmines, and food pushers, and alcohol peddlers kick it up a notch from Black Friday on, and if you have even a moments weakness, well that ruffian pack of Carb Crocodiles and Binge-y Beavers (all predators make no mistake) will pounce and have you for dinner.
Now, before I scare you into staying home for the holidays and hiding under the tree skirt, Let me share with you some actionable tips you can use to stay on track during the holidays. And just for clarity’s sake, I’m going to break these tips down by where you are in relation to your temptation, party, or event. Let’s get started!
Before the Event
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
- Know what’s on the menu so you can navigate and plan ahead. You may need to eat in advance of the event, or bring something you can nosh on that’s in line with your plan.
- Don’t go hungry. You are so much more likely to give in to temptation if you go to your event starving. Also be sure you are properly hydrated.
- Have a backup plan. If you get there and there’s not much you can have or eat, be sure to have brought something you can eat. I’m not talking about a keto casserole here. I mean perhaps have some almonds, or a homemade jerky, or pemmican with you that you can step outside or run to the car and nibble to prevent the hangries.
- Make an obscure note or symbol on your hand that will remind you of your goal – just be sure to have an explanation if someone asks about it.
- Consider getting a custom made silicone band with a quote or abbreviation that only you know what it means. They can be as creative (and obscure) as you want. I have created multiples for milestones on my own journey. Examples:
- WWHDTBDF? (What Would Healthy Do To Be Diabetes Free?)
- LBD (Little Black Dress)
- 135x123119 (135 “pounds” by 12/31/19)
- Get yourself 3 pieces of paper or card.
- On one, write down a couple of positive motivational notes or quotes.
- On another write down all the negative consequences of going off-track. This isn’t about “I’ll feel bad, or fat.” Rather, include things like weight water, headaches, digestive complaints, and whatever else you experience.
- On the third, write down your big WHY. Why are you doing this? Who are you doing it for? Get in touch with it again. This isn’t about making yourself feel bad, it’s about strengthening your resolve.
Keep these notes with you. When you are feeling weak, slip off to the restroom and read them.
At the Event:
- Read the notes and motivations you made for yourself.
- Keep a bottle or glass of water to help you avoid alcoholic temptations.
- Find places away from the food to chat and have conversation, if you can.
- Have reminders on your phone go off every hour or two with a message or alert to help you stay on track.
- Relax the rules but don’t break them. It’s much easier to get back on track when you never really get off track. Consider allowing a “fudge factor” of a few carbs, especially for those foods that “appear” to be okay, but aren’t. At a special event of gathering, it’s okay to add a few extra carbs to your plate. And by extra I mean between 5 and 20. Of course, how many you can tolerate is personal, but don’t use the gathering as an excuse to go hog wild and throw all the rules out the window.
- Don’t abandon your food diary or tracking app. It’s terribly alluring to skip tracking for the day simply because you don’t know exactly what’s in the food you’ve been eating. But here’s the thing – even a slightly inaccurate food log is better than no food log, and it’s definitely better than trying to rely on your memory a week later. It will also be invaluable in helping you determine and understand any negative outcomes from eating off plan.
The best way to avoid falling off the wagon and staying off the wagon for a length of time is to know yourself. Understand your strengths and your weaknesses. If you are not in a space to be able to handle even a minor carb creep, then do what you can to stay strong and hold the course. Do what you can to strengthen your resolve around your chosen way of eaten. Do some research and have comebacks prepared for the typical arguments and push-back you get. Do you need help navigating the holidays? Reach out to me. Maybe I can help!