You’ve heard it time and time before, I’m sure. But just because it’s a cliché, doesn’t mean it isn’t true! No matter what you want to achieve, you must have a plan.
One of the most important situations you need to plan for is handling the busy festive period. Your usual goodwill to eat healthy is likely to be tested. The countless events and gathering, social pressure to conform and give in to the food can be a challenge.
It’s important to understand that there are two main reasons why other people apply social pressure. They may think your behaviour challenges their beliefs or it triggers guilt or shame.
Once you understand the different types of social pressure and the internal forces driving each of them, you can work out a plan to handle them with grace. It might be useful to write down the response and rehearse it in advance. This could help you feel more confident when refusing to conform to any social expectations.
One of my clients, who I’ll call Leanne, used the method of planning to keep herself out of trouble. Specifically, she wanted to avoid eating cake.
Leanne has a busy social life and her friends like to meet over a rich, multi-course restaurant meals. Dessert became Leanne’s nemesis. Once she had just one bite of cake, an addictive switch flicked in her brain and her diet would go off the rails.
Eventually, this addiction hit a peak and she developed a severe migraine following a particularly sweet dessert. After recovering from the migraine, she swore off cake and recommitted to a healthy diet, only to succumb to temptation and social pressure at the next night out with friends. She was committed to stop this pattern! So she came to me for help to break this self-destructive cycle.
Together, we formulated a plan-of-action to help her handle this difficult social situation in a way that protected her from unwanted scrutiny by her friends. This plan allowed her to stay on track to ensure good physical and mental health.
Five years down the track, Leanne is now migraine-free, remains at her healthy weight without struggle, and has no temptation to eat cake! While her friends attribute their creeping weight gain to ‘middle-aged spread’, Leanne enjoys being a hot mama in her 50s.
Article from Hopewood contributor Robyn Chuter