This past month or so I have implemented a new practice into my diet routine. I have been planning what my coach calls a Joy Meal. I have been very strict about what I eat for almost a full year now. In fact I wrote a post about why I don’t cheat on my diet. I still practice eating foods that I have learned are best for my body. I have lost 38 pounds and I have a long way to go. But I wanted to learn to practice planning for special foods. I wanted to learn the skill of eating a food that had previously been a problem for me and then getting right back on plan.
When I first heard about this practice it made me all sorts of nervous.
What if it made me gain weight?
What if I overate?
What if I totally blew my diet?
What if? What if? What if?
It made me aware that I still have some work to do related to my thoughts and beliefs about food.
I plan my food 24 hours ahead of time. So joy food is not a last minute decision. I can’t just decide to eat pizza when the girls at the office decide to go out at the last minute. It has to be planned 24 hours ahead of time.
I only have one joy meal per week. I think long and hard about what I want for my joy food. It’s funny, I used to love sweets so much. But since I have stayed away from sugar for a year I crave savory foods for my joy food. My most recent joy meals have included nachos and pizza.
I have a joy meal every week. This gives me practice once a week with sticking to my plan, practicing constraint, and getting back on plan.
I still eat to a +2 on my hunger scale. This is not an excuse to overeat and stuff myself.
I don’t have to feel deprived. For example, one of my favorite desserts is cheesecake. Today at a meeting they served the most beautiful piece of cheesecake. I didn’t plan for it so I didn’t have any. But I don’t have to feel sorry for myself or feel like I can never have cheesecake like everyone else. I can plan for it on another day and enjoy the heck out of it without shame or guilt. The funny thing is, now that it’s not in front of me I don’t want it. I’d rather have nachos this week.
I am proud of myself for planning and following my plans. I’m proud of myself for making better choices to show up as my best self.
I can still lose weight while having a weekly joy eat.
I can eat delicious foods and stop before overeating.
I can be intentional about my food life. It doesn’t control me. I can always make choices.
It’s easier to stick to my daily plans when I have a joy meal to look forward to. It’s easier to say no to donuts in the break room at work when I know that I’m having something special later in the week.
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