A 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.
When 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.
Finally, 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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