“I’ll Think About It Tomorrow”: The Scarlet O’Hara Holiday Syndrome

Okay, let’s face facts: only one more day left in the holiday weekend.
And today is a perfect day to evaluate the damage we’ve done at parties, barbeques, and at home.

BE HONEST, but don’t fall into the trap of needing to be perfect! Take pen in hand, and write down everything you ate, including all the samples you tasted when you were cooking, or if you were lucky, just keeping the cook company while you sipped a nice Chardonnay.

If you’re from planet Earth, I bet you weren’t totally perfect, and I’m so glad, because, I’m not perfect either.  I and the many guests I work with understand that perfection is unattainable.  Moreover, it leads to frustration, which leads to more indulgence to deal with any unpleasant feelings we (Type A’s especially!) experience when we can’t succeed 100% at a valued goal.

Review your list, suspending judgment.  Check out what your temptations were, what settings posed the most difficult challenges, and which “off plan” treats were most satisfying and mindfully selected.  You’ll hear me use the word “mindful” a lot because awareness is very important in succeeding in lifestyle change. 

In our holiday events, being mindful is making a conscious choice, for example, to have one burger on a bun (which you’ve been totally craving), but you’ve also made a conscious choice beforehand that you’re going to pass on the dessert and the extra imported beer. In other words, you know you’re making a non-Pritikin choice, but you’re not going wild, and you’re in control. 

Also, on these occasions, ENJOY your choice.  Savor your food, eat slowly, and ditch the guilt.  Guilt leads from the burger to picking the salad with creamy Roquefort dressing and eating as much ice cream as the kids. Why?  Because you’re thinking, “I already blew it, I may as well go for it.  I’ll start over again tomorrow.”

But tomorrow, in this sense, may never come.  Most people I counsel have told me they’ve fallen off the wagon this way.  So take my advice, advice I live by that allows me and savvy Pritikin guests to keep the weight off without being perfect: THINK ABOUT IT TONIGHT, and dump the guilt.  You’ll feel better emotionally and easily get back to your healthy lifestyle.

A wonderful holiday to our wonderful Pritikin guests,
Susan Grober

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