One of my favorite things about Weight Watchers is that it allows for indulgences. That’s not to say it is always easy to lose weight and keep it off, but it can be done without starving or feeling deprived all the time.
It would not be realistic for me to give up pizza, chips, or desserts forever. When I have tried being overly restrictive in the past, I have always ended up giving in and eating more than I probably would have if I had just given myself permission to eat things in moderation to begin with. Weight Watchers uses the term “flexible restraint” which is a great way to look at it. I need to exercise restraint, but I still have flexibility to have some fun.
This topic is very fitting for me this week, as I am planning for a big splurge this weekend. I’m going out to eat with a friend at MELT to celebrate her birthday. I am not going to a place that is famous for amazing and creative grilled cheese sandwiches and ordering a salad. If I ate there all the time, I would try to find a healthier option. Since I don’t eat there very often, it’s worth it to me to splurge on it. Knowing that event is coming allows me to plan around it.
Five reasons to plan for splurges:
1. FEEL IN CONTROL
Having a plan just makes me feel more in control in general. I am less likely to overdo it (like having 3 donuts instead of 1) if I have a plan. If I know that I am going out to dinner, I can figure out some options before I go so I’m not making a decision while I’m starving and smelling other food. It’s like envisioning what I need to do to be successful. If you don’t know what you need to do, how can you do it?
2. BUDGET WISELY
Having a plan for a splurge also lets me make adjustments on other days to work the splurge into my points+ (calorie) budget. The Weight Watchers plan includes 49 weekly allowance points that are mine to spend however I want, whenever I want throughout the week. This is another reason why I love meal planning. Creating my meal plan forces me to look at the week ahead to see where I might want (or need) to splurge a bit.
If I know what splurges are coming, I can budget some or all of my weekly allowance points to cover those splurges. This allows me to still be able to eat somewhat normal on the other days. If I felt like I had to starve or eat nothing but grilled chicken and steamed vegetables for a week straight, I would go crazy. I’m not even joking. I love chicken and vegetables, but it gets boring. I need to keep my eating plan interesting if I am going to stick with it. As soon as I get bored, suddenly fast food and candy bars start sounding good.
3. DETERMINE VALUE ~ IS IT WORTH IT?
Having a plan leads me to figuring out what’s really worth it to me. This will be different for everyone. Maybe saving 10 points for a donut is worth it to me, while you would rather use 10 points on pasta. That’s the beauty of the Weight Watchers plan. I GET TO CHOOSE WHAT’S WORTH IT TO ME.
In the past, I would just eat whatever was available without really considering what looked the best to me. I used to eat things that I wasn’t really loving just because they were there. Now I try to be more picky. I look at all the options and figure out what is worthy of my allowance. It sounds funny to say it that way, but if I don’t love it, why should I waste my points on it?
I don’t know where I heard this, but a favorite quote of mine is: “I can have anything I want. I just can’t have EVERYTHING I want.” Sometimes what I want is not what I need. Eating everything I wanted in the past led me to being overweight and suppressing my feelings. When I start to feel deprived, I remind myself of this quote. I can CHOOSE to have anything I want. I just need to plan/budget for it!
4. AVOID THE GUILT
Having a plan allows me to indulge without any guilt. I don’t feel like I “cheated” on my diet. I don’t have that feeling of failing because I didn’t have will power. I don’t worry that I’ll gain weight.
When I have an indulgence built into my plan, it is just another meal in my tracker. There is no shame in spending my weekly points allowance. That’s why the weekly points are there….so we can stop dieting and start living!! I know that is an advertising slogan, but it is really true!!
Planning doesn’t make me feel restricted. Planning makes me feel free…free from guilt and self loathing over “messing up.”
5. BE ACCOUNTABLE
Having a plan helps keep me accountable to myself and my goals. Accepting personal responsibilty for my own food choices was a huge mental shift for me. It’s not “oh, poor me, I’m on a diet and can’t have a donut.” In truth, I am CHOOSING not to have the metaphorical donut this week so that I CAN have a big sandwich and fries at Melt. In truth, I COULD have the donut if I wanted it, but having the donut doesn’t help me achieve my goal of sticking to my weekly points+ budget. NEVER GIVE UP WHAT YOU WANT MOST FOR WHAT YOU WANT IN THE MOMENT. In the moment, I might want a donut. In the long run, though, I want to reach my goals more than I want that donut.
WE ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE. I ask myself what I want more. Do I want to overeat and exceed my budget and gain weight? Do I want to plan for occassional splurges within the constraints of my budget and lose weight? It’s not about depriving myself. It’s about exploring my options and choosing what is best for me.
You are in always in control of your own choices. You may not always be in control of your situation or environment, but you can always control how you react to it. Try to pay attention to what messages you are telling yourself. Are you a victim? Do you feel sorry for yourself that you “can’t” eat what someone else is eating? You CAN eat it if you want.
Change your inner voice. Instead of “I can’t have that,” tell yourself “I choose not to have that because…” You can choose to stay the same or your can choose to change.
What do you choose?
Want more? Check out all my Habits of a Loser posts!