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Planning: The Skill You Need

Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between someone who gets through a difficult situation in a way that is in line with their long-term goals, and someone who doesn’t? The answer is not about having more willpower, trying harder, or being less lazy. The answer is actually about being more skillful and planning. 

It’s always a great time to talk through the essential skills you need to navigate your food plan with success. And while there’s so many different strategies to choose from, planning is truly the most important thing you can do today.

Plan plan plan

I say it all the time, and I still can’t say it enough. When you plan, you need so much less willpower and are so much more likely to be feeling proud and happy with your decisions by the end of the day. 

Planning isn’t just about what to do, it’s also about preparing for the obstacles you might face. If you anticipate a family member offering you some chocolate, rehearse a script for how to politely say no. If you know you’ll be around tricky foods for most of the day, think about some skills that can help distract you or an emergency plan for what to do if those cravings get too strong (such as go to the bathroom or call a friend or accountability partner). When you know what’s coming, and have already mentally rehearsed how to cope with it, you have a huge leg up for navigating all the tricky moments.

So where to start with planning? 

To get all your ideas straight, it can be really helpful to think through or write down these things:

  1. What are your eating times?
  2. What do you plan to eat at those meal times?
    1. Do you need to call ahead and ask for what options are available?
    2. Do you need to prepare food to make or bring with you?
    3. Visualize what your plate will look like
  3. What foods might be tempting or triggering? 
    1. Make a list of foods that you’ll have a “hard line” to not eat.
    2. Rehearse what you’ll say to friends or family when they offer you these foods (or maybe you want to tell them your plan in advance!)
  4. What are the coping strategies you can use when a craving comes up? Some of my favorites: go to the bathroom and splash cold water on my face, reach out to a friend for support, use distraction skills to let the cravings pass, or think through how I’ll feel tomorrow when I’ve stuck to my goals.

While all these steps are helpful in planning, even doing one of these things can make a HUGE  HUGE difference. Remember, so much is in your control- planning will help you navigate these tricky situations and feel empowered by your choices!

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