Secret of Dieting Success

    Lori Jo VestA huge thank you to Lori Jo Vest’s  determination to change her less-than-desirable habits as part of her journey to drop 40 by 50. It was her Habit Number 2 “When the calorie-rich snacks come out at the office, I will head for the Keurig and make myself a cup of iced green tea instead. It’s something I enjoy and it will give me something to do with my hands” which spurred me to write a comment. Rereading the comment I realized (unbeknownst to me at the time), I’d happened upon a simple solution to dieting success.

    Here’s the comment:

    Rather than deprive yourself [of the decadent goodie], make a special occasion of it and allow yourself a taste. Let me explain.

    BingingWhen my daughter was young she was allowed a “four o’clock snack” every day. This was a non-healthy, non-nutritious, edible “treat” she chose. The item itself was never limited, the quantity was. For example, a “serving” of ice cream was one of the liquid medicine caps. A cookie was usually small. A single Hershey’s kiss. If she wanted chocolate chips, together we decided/negotiated what would be a “reasonable serving.” (Maybe 10?) By doing this my daughter didn’t feel deprived. When presented with unlimited access to “goodies” (others’ homes/parties/etc.) she never went overboard. (I’d often seen children whose parents completely refused them “treats” make themselves physically ill by cramming sugary treats into their mouths.)

    “Four o’clock snack” was always a special occasion. “Goodies” were never blindly consumed. We took a break from whatever we were doing so she could focus on the “treat” and truly enjoy it.

    4 oFinally, even though we called it “four o’clock snack,” it could be at any time of the day. It gave her something to look forward to (a treat). A pleasant aside is it wound up helping her define value and worth for herself. (“Hmm, would I get more pleasure from this “goodie” or that “treat?”) Delayed gratification. (“If I have it now, I can’t have it later. Maybe I’ll want something else later, so I’ll wait.) And, ironically, it empowered her. (“I get to choose what I want for my ‘four o’clock snack.'”)

    The interesting thing is, as an adult my daughter’s serving sizes have increased, she does not tend to go overboard on “treats.”

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    Kitt Crescendo - September 11, 2013 - 10:49 am

    That’s such a smart way to teach a child moderation and portion control with the “non-healthy” stuff!

    Tana Bevan - September 11, 2013 - 2:06 pm

    I don’t recall how I came up with the idea of making a “treat” an event — something fun & special. That my daughter learned value, delayed gratification, became empowered, and now as an adult doesn’t overindulge mindlessly was a wonderful by-product. Thanks for stopping by Kitt. Always good to hear from you.

    Shelley - September 12, 2013 - 6:04 am

    I love it! A four o’clock treat. It’s a brilliant idea. I’m going to do that for each hour of the day. ;)

    Tana Bevan - September 12, 2013 - 10:12 am

    Shelley — It never once occurred to me do that! (Guess I was too focused on what her four o’clock choice of the day would be.) Appreciate the chuckle. Thank you for stopping by and having your say.

    Suerae Stein - September 13, 2013 - 5:29 am

    I wish I was better at moderating my kids treat portions, especially my son’s, but he’s in college now, so that ship has sailed. Lol! That is a great idea, although I don’t know if I would have the willpower to stop at the small amount, but then again, I wasn’t raised with that option. Good for you!

    Tana Bevan - September 13, 2013 - 9:07 am

    Most parents who care about their children do their best. But let’s be honest, most of the time we’re flailing. Every-so-often an unexpected flail turns out to be a Better-than-Expected. This was one of those instances. (Counterbalances the oopses.)

    Regardless of his eating habits, I have a strong hunch your motherly heart goes pitter-patter and swells with joy and pride when you think of your son. That’s an absolutely Wonderful, Terrific, and Marvelous! Yay for Suerae!!!

    Missy Homemaker - September 23, 2013 - 5:10 pm

    This is brilliant! I think this is something to implement in our house.

    Tana Bevan - September 23, 2013 - 8:56 pm

    Wish I could say I had implemented this after thinking the whole thing out in advance. I can’t. I have no idea where the whole four o’clock snack thing originated. Suddenly it was there. And, as noted in the post, there were some really wonderful unexpected side benefits. Since I had some major oopses along the way while rearing my child, I’m grateful for having some Rights to counterbalance them.

    So glad you stopped by and commented Missy. Keep me posted on how the four o’clock snack works out for you and yours.