Recapping Week 3 of Kathie J. and Larry’s weight loss journey
With Holly Wyatt, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center
We’re ending Week 3 of Kathie J. and Larry’s State of Slim journey, which took place over Thanksgiving. I love that they did this over the holidays — a time when no one starts a diet. I actually think it’s one of the best times because Kathie J. and Larry will soar through December and feel amazing in the New Year.
Week 3 is all about the indulgence meal — and Larry was not a fan at first. That’s not uncommon for people on a diet. Maybe they’ve gone through Phase I, lost a lot of weight, they’re feeling good, and they think, “Why would I screw this up by eating unhealthy food?” Little do they know, they’re more likely to screw things up if they don’t do an indulgence meal, and here’s why.
What is an indulgence meal?
It is any planned meal where you eat whatever you want. Anything. Chips, cookies, pizza, cake, fries, red wine — whatever. But you must plan it. You don’t have to plan the specific food, but you have to plan when you will do it. Plan it, look forward to it, and eat exactly what you want. But be super mindful, slow down, and stop before you get sick (Kathie J. and Larry both talked about how their stomachs are smaller and they couldn’t eat as much as they used to). This won’t be the last time you get to have these foods. In fact, you get to have them in another seven days. And remember: it is only one meal.
What an indulgence meal is not
- A cheat meal. That makes it sound like it’s against the rules or a bad thing. “Indulgence” is positive, and that’s how we want you to think about it.
- This is a requirement of State of Slim.
- An indulgence day, indulgence weekend, indulgence event. It is one meal.
- It’s not, “I was walking through the mall and I saw that burrito over there, so I ate it and now I feel bad now so I’m going to call it my indulgence meal.”
Why include it?
State of Slim is about keeping the weight off, and that means preparing for what life will like when the diet is over, because you can’t be on a diet forever.
In my 20-plus years of helping people lose weight, I have seen so many never allow themselves the food they want. They try to go all the way through the diet being perfect. What typically happens is that pressure to be perfect builds and builds, and they start to think, “I never get to go out with my friends and have appetizers or happy hour. I never get to have this dessert that I really like.” That voice becomes, “Poor me, poor me.” And then they eat everything in sight or fall off the program.
That’s that victim mindset that we are so against. An indulgence meal keeps that victim mindset from taking over. It helps you release that pressure and it keeps you going in the program.
The key is, once it’s over, you get back on track; your next meal is healthy. We are trying to get you out of thinking in black and white: that you either have to be completely healthy or completely unhealthy. The truth is, you will find your most success when you are mostly healthy but allow yourself these little indulgences, and then get back on track with the next meal. This isn’t just about a flexible metabolism, it’s about a flexible mindset too.
It may be uncomfortable and hard at the beginning, but the more you practice it, the easier it gets.
The takeaway: If you are on a diet — any diet — allow yourself to have an indulgence meal, but control how and when you do it. And make sure you have your next, healthy meal ready to go. I promise, this will help you keep your weight off in maintenance.
Normally when you do State of Slim, it’s in teams of 15 to 20 people so you can support and encourage each other. But Kathie J. and Larry don’t have that. So, if you’re following their journey, reach out to them and support them. Who knows? It may help you as much as it helps them.