Welcome to Day 24!
Boy, are you glad they made that new rule about always having a buddy with you. Otherwise, you might not be on your way to the Freedom Galaxy in a few weeks. That was so scary when you were repositioning the solar panels, and your oxygen hose sprung a leak. Good thing, your friend, Raul was there to prevent a catastrophe. Phew. Rules can be a great thing.
Be sure to start thinking about today's assignment. You will finish it with your coach. It will help make splurging on purpose a lot easier. Continue working on the plate habit you made last week.
Everyone needs a Dessert Rule or a Favorite Snack Rule to keep the Assistant in line when it comes to a favorite treat.
Remember habits are for what you want the Assistant to DO. Rules are for what you DON'T want the Assistant to do. Because you don't want the Assistant to eat sugar every time you turn around, you’ll probably want to make a Dessert Rule.
Tired of all the whining and pleading for sugary sweets or other treats by your Assistant?
The simple strategy of a Dessert Day Rule (or a Potato Chip Day Rule) will teach your Assistant to stop asking for sugar, to appreciate and savor treats, and to learn that dessert is a "Sometimes Food."
This rule can keep you from having to use precious willpower stores to say "No" all the time and restore peace and quiet to your brain.
Splurge on Purpose
To make habits and rules for the long haul, you need a way to splurge on purpose. Having a Dessert Rule helps you to do that. The Assistant does not like to be told that she can never have chocolate again. If she knows that chocolate is sometime in her future (like this coming Friday night), she can relax and forgo all the random temptations that arise.
If you try and tell your Assistant to stop thinking of treats, you're bound to have a rebellion on your hand. The Assistant can't simply "stop thinking" of something. It's impossible. If she is to stop thinking of something, she has to be reminded not to think of it, which makes her think of it again. In fact, forbidding certain foods can lead to more thoughts of them and even more indulging/ bingeing.
How to Make a Dessert Rule
There are many different ways to make a Dessert Rule or Favorite Snack Rule. This is an area where you get to Be a Scientist and personalize the rule for you (and even your family).
You'll want to take into account your weight loss and health goals and how much indulging will allow you to still get there.
The many different versions of the Dessert Rule that my clients make:
Eat only one dessert a week on Friday Nights.
Eat only one dessert a week on the day of my choosing.
Eat one dessert/ day only on days of the week that start with "S."
Eat dessert once per day, but only three bites.
Eat dessert only on special occasions or on holidays.
Eat a serving of Halo Top ice cream on dessert days except for on holidays or special occasions.
The key to making a Dessert Rule is to make it so your Assistant knows that dessert is coming soon, you can still lose weight and meet your health goals, but you aren't craving sweets all the time.
You may not get it right the first time. That's why you should be a Scientist. You may have to experiment, try a Rule, get the results, and then modify the rule again.
Use the PDF below to record your Dessert Day Rule, and then share it with your coach in your next session.
When you have too many servings of the dessert/ treat available, it can be overwhelming to your Assistant. It takes too much willpower for her to stay in those Bright Lines.
In order to be successful when you make a Dessert Day Rule or a Potato Chip Day Rule, be sure that you limit the servings of that food available.
You can do this several ways:
Buy just enough single portion servings at the bakery or grocery store.
If you're making the dessert from scratch, make 1/2 or 1/4 of the original recipe. I've found that 1/2 a recipe of an 8 inch or 9 inch layer cake fits into 6 inch cake pans (perfect for my family of 6).
If limiting portions won't work for you or you just forgot, check out my blog post on the Radioactive Food Containment strategy to prevent overeating.
YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:
OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:
So all week we've been talking about rules. One rule that I think everyone should have, it's a rule around sweets and treats. That's because the assistant is going to find any opportunity to get you to overindulge. And when you have a Bright Line Rule, it's going to keep her in line and keep her from making those rationalizations and loopholes to get you to overeat.
The Dessert Day Origin Story
When my kids were little, they started begging me to have dessert all the time. It wasn't just after dinner, it was starting to be after lunch and random snacks. Sometimes I'd say yes. And I’d have to think back when was the last time we had dessert.
But, I was starting to resent them asking me all the time, and it was starting to use, my decision making power, draining my willpower,—trying to figure out whether or not they should have dessert.
And, then they would always whine if I said “No. I remembered my Swedish college roommate telling me that when she was little in Sweden, they had a rule that you could only have candy on Saturday mornings, Saturday mornings was Candy Day. I thought that that was such a great idea.
So, I decided to institute the rule of Desert Day. So what that meant is that I told my kids, “Okay, we only get dessert one time a week,” so it shut down all their whining and pleading.
At first, of course they tried and they'd be like, “Can we have dessert?”
But. I'd say, “Is it dessert day?”
And, they'd say “No.”
And then they knew the answer was no.
It made it easy on me, and it made it easy on them.
The Hidden Benefits of a Dessert Rule
There are several benefits of having some kind of dessert day, or sweet rule, or a potato chip rule,—whatever it is.
When you set these kind of limits, it makes it easy. The Assistant steps begging and you're able to start indulging and splurging on purpose, and use it in a way that will help you to lose weight.
It's not done all the time. You're not getting all those extra calories.
The reason I think we should all indulge is “Hey, we're in this for the long term.”
We're not going to give up chocolate forever. And in fact, if you tell yourself not to think of chocolate, you actually think of it more.
Because the assistant can't just NOT think of chocolate. She has to remember, “Oh, I'm not supposed to think of chocolate.”
So, she has to keep remembering, not thinking about chocolate. So you end up thinking about it more and indulging more. When you have a very specific schedule of when you indulge, then the assistant can relax.
She knows, “Oh, I'm going to have chocolate.” Eventually she can stop thinking about it.
It keeps you from overindulging and splurging and bingeing when you know that there is still chocolate in your future, but it's done in a way that makes sense for you.
The other thing it does is it helps you raise your standards. My children started to become food snobs when I instituted Dessert Day.
Because if you only have dessert once a week, it better be good. Just any Keebler cookie won't do.
The good thing about becoming a food snob is that when you do have dessert, it's more satisfying because it's something delicious. But, also something delicious doesn't come along every day. You have to go out of your way to make it or buy it.
Now there's one thing I want you to think of when you are instituting dessert day—make sure that you only have enoughservings to go around for you or your family once. You don’t want a bunch left for accidental dessert the rest of the week.
So, make sure you make smaller portions. If you're making a cake mix, throw half the cake mix away. Make sure that there's only enough just for that dessert day.
Below you'll find some examples on making your own dessert day rule. Or maybe it's your own potato chip day rule, whatever it is.
Your dessert day can be more than one day a week if that fits within your weight loss goals. But, you can personalize it, figure out what works for you, make a dessert day rule. You’ll find the Assistant will finally stop her whining and begging.
So, go ahead and check out the worksheet below to help you to come out with your dessert rule so that you get to splurge and enjoy your treats on purpose.