Home Base and Course Correcting

blog course correcting home base Jul 26, 2023

In my dieting efforts throughout the years, I have tended to be a slasher. What I mean by that is that I awfulized things, painted myself into corners, and was the one person who, when she saw she had one flat tire, would go out and slash the other three. With dieting it never occurred to me to just fix the one tire. I learned through Home Base and Course Correcting that I didn't need to be a slasher.

How many of you have been there? You make a plan for what you are going to eat that day and found yourself elbow-deep in muffins and donuts at the office meeting. So, what the heck – you might as well have pizza with everyone else at lunch instead of the lunch you planned and brought to work.

You fly through the day eating the way you had planned to, but had an extra helping of mashed potatoes at dinner. So, what the heck – you might as well have dessert, unplanned popcorn while you are watching TV at night, as well as anything else that is available that isn’t nailed down.

You finally fit into a dress you have been aiming to wear and are enjoying the wedding that you are wearing it at. You told yourself that you are going to enjoy the food, but keep it to only 2 or 3 appetizers, one glass of wine, dinner but no breadbasket and a piece of the wedding cake. But you were so hungry by the time you sat down, you had several pieces of bread and butter before the dinner was served. What the heck – you blew through your plans, so you might as well fill your plate three times from the dessert buffet.

There is always tomorrow, or Monday, or a new month. A flat tire? Might as well slash the other three and wait for the tire sale that you heard is coming up. That way you can get all new tires. Start that road trip over again. This time never making any wrong turns or going over potholes. Come on, does that make sense? Of course not. But it is what a lot of do a lot of the time.

Here's your roadmap to Home-Base Eating and Course Correcting

Understanding Home-Base Eating

Set Up a Home-Base Kitchen

Off-Plan Scenarios and Returning to Home-Base

Course Correcting

Flexible Boundaries

What Mistake Are We Making and Why?

Actionable Coaching Advice

Set Yourself Up For Success

Understanding Home-Base Eating

Whether you are doing Keto, Low Carb or any other diet plan, it is important to understand home-base eating.

Our lives are busy and sometimes hectic.

We are thrown curve balls with office lunches we didn't count on, dinner on the go while running our grandkids to T-ball or days we run out the door without breakfast and make foolish hangry choices at lunch.

I can count 5 things just this week that threw me off plan, even though I knew in advance they were happening:

Lunches on Monday and Tuesday were on the go because I had doctors’ appointments mid-day and wouldn't be home.

The kids (and their kids) were over for Chinese food on Thursday.

Friends came for dinner on Friday, where we wanted to pull out all the stops.

Then there was brunch on Sunday.

Three of those meals were at home, but we served things that I normally don't have. I was talking with friends, playing with the kids, and well, coffee cake, bagels and pancakes, Oh My!

When I talk about home-base eating, I am not just talking about what you eat at home. I’m also talking about having habits established for when things are not crazy, but especially for when they are crazy.

Have foods you can turn to that are "safe."

It is so easy to let things slip and slide and so I started to really think about what it means to have home-base eating.

Too many times leads you to those "well Monday is around the corner" thoughts.

Why do you need to wait until Monday or a new month?

If you have a strong home-base, you can get on track with your very next meal, no matter what has happened while you were out of the house (or in it!) - intentional or otherwise.

With the food itself, you can make some advanced plans and decisions to set up foods that are "safe" - for however that is defined for your diet or eating style.

The first thing you need to do is to let go of perfection. Grab a rotisserie chicken and salad from the salad bar - nothing wrong with that dinner!

Recognize that there are going to be plenty of times you go off your eating plan or stray a bit from the style you have chosen to follow.

Set up a home-base kitchen

Returning to home-base eating is one prong. But first you need to set up your kitchen to help with being a safe home-base.

An example of mine with foods for the grandkids and a husband who loves sweets is that I have one cabinet devoted to all the cookies and candies we have in the house.

I know that is not my cabinet, and I do not go into it.

In my case, I was extremely committed for years to Keto but even with a safe home-kitchen, the slippery slope started with one of this and one of that.

Here are some examples.

Progressions of off-plan scenarios and returning to home-base

You are going to a wedding on a Friday night and you have already decided you are going to enjoy all the food, including the desserts and perhaps a few glasses of wine.

The progression of this is usually the "What the hell" route and even if you don't beat yourself up over it (because you did decide in advance), you say you will start again on Monday.

Why not have your foods lined up for Saturday with a "plan as usual" and get back to business the very next day?

Another scenario

You are driving the grandkids all over creation for soccer, T-Ball and gymnastics.

You have become an "early-bird" eater and so you make sure you have carrot sticks and maybe some turkey roll-ups in a cooler bag.

But you get home and nibble all night, feel awful, and decide you will get back to it in the winter when you won't be driving around so much.

Why not have a dinner waiting for you at home - and even if you have had something to eat earlier, just sit, with your home-base dinner and know you are on plan, and don't have to throw all your hard work away?

Are you ready to give up?

You go to a party and have ALL the things, even though you are committed to your eating plan, have listened to your hunger signal and didn't stuff yourself.

You come home thinking that this way of eating is too restrictive, and maybe you should try something else where you can have ALL the things.

Why not just chalk it up to a few hours in the week when you weren't perfect, and move on?

Why not have a home-base dinner waiting or a home-base breakfast planned for the next day?

Here’s another scenario:

On July 4th you have gone on a week's vacation, and even though you promised yourself that you would stick to your plan, you ate ice cream, fried fish and chips, drank sugary mixed-cocktails, and ate all the bread and rolls that passed your line of sight.

You come home and decide summer is too tough and you'll try again in September.

Why not acknowledge that this is probably what is going to happen, and before you go, write out a grocery list for what you will shop for when you get home, have one or two easy things in the freezer, like hamburgers and frozen veggies, and make your very next meal a safe, home-based one?

Are you seeing what I am after here?

I want you to see that you don't need a weekend or a week or a month or two months to get back on track (however your track is defined) to make your next meal a safe one at home.

Treat home-base as your safe space where you take care of yourself and make healthy decisions.

This is where we come to course correcting.

You don't have to scratch the entire trip because you took a wrong road.

Think about that for a minute.

And, if you came out of the house and found one tire flat, would you really poke holes in the other three?

What follows is from: Gretchen Rubin’s "The Happiness Project:

"Instead of feeling that you've blown the day and thinking, 'I'll get back on track tomorrow,' try thinking of each day as a set of four quarters: morning, midday, afternoon, evening.

If you blow one quarter, you get back on track for the next quarter. Fail small, not big.

Think about this as I repeat it: “If you blow one quarter, you get back on track for the next quarter. Fail small, not big.”

The beauty of the 4-quadrant method is that you can use it for anything.

Have you yelled at the kids too much? Make your next quadrant a calm one.

Have you spent too much money on Amazon? Make your next quadrant (or 2 or 3) shopping-free.

Did you skip your workout? Can you at least go for a walk in your next quadrant or make a commitment to do your usual workout in a later quadrant?

Isn't this perfect?

There is no more "I've blown it."

It's moving on to the very next quarter of your day and making your next-best decision(s).

It is even easier than thinking of your next meal. Just think of what is going on in the next six hours of your day.

Always course correct to your home-base if you can.

When you are home and feel things getting out of hand, course correct to your next-best decision.

Before you go on any trip or to any party, or even if the daily routine is getting rocky, go back and review the Good-Better-Best method for making your next-best decisions.

No need to slash the other three tires, my friend!

Practice the Good-Better-Best Method.

Find some easy and delicious outside-the-box meals.

You will establish home-base eating and find course correction easier than you had imagined!

Have flexible boundaries

I own some boxes that are made with a mesh-like fabric. They are beautiful and gave me an idea for this concept of boundaries that we need with some foods.

Put your restricted foods in this type of box, not solid, dark, deep boxes with lids that weigh a ton and have locks on them.

Those are the kinds of boxes where we tend to put our forbidden food and forbidden behaviors. Once the lid is raised, all the other foods and behaviors glitter and mock us. Don’t make your boundaries box a Pandora’s box, where once the lid is lifted, all sorts of evils and complications come flying out.

Instead, put foods and behaviors in this type of see-through box so that you can look straight through in the sunlight and can make a decision based on reality, not on what glimmers and calls to you.

You can open one, have some bread for instance, but then see that there is more but that there is no lack, deprivation, or secretiveness.

See the foods and behaviors for what they are, and not glittering secrets and temptations.

What mistakes are we making and why?

My friends: The mistakes you make all stem from the “slash the other three tires” perspective. Even if you can’t replace the tire immediately, you at least can drive on a spare or a donut (NO, not THAT kind of donut!). You can take a few days to decide if you want to replace the one tire, or if you are really on track to replace all the tires, starting with a fresh overhaul of the tire situation.

It can be the same thing with your eating situation. WHY did you go off plan? And don’t let me hear you say, “Because I’m stupid and lazy.” Take off your judge’s robe please, and instead put on the lab coat of a scientist.

Was it just that everything was so yummy and you have denied yourself for so long? The answer to that is to work those foods into your eating plan so that you do not feel so restricted and deprived. Even for something like a Keto plan, most of those foods are replicable.

Was it that you were legitimately hungry? The answer to that is to not go to events famished. Or, if you do, go to the bar and ask for water, or stop a server and ask if there by any chance hot coffee or tea available?

Was it that you lost yourself in the event and honestly didn’t realize you were eating so much? The answer to that is to take a few minutes to ground yourself, either before the food is served, or during the food service. You can do this quietly just by some deep breathing so you can ground yourself. You can also remove yourself from the food, either by going to the ladies room, or to the lobby or even outside. While you are alone, close your eyes, put your hand over your heart and tell yourself that you are safe and present. This will calm you and put a little pause between the urge to eat everything and eating.

If you have already poked a whole in the one tire, take those few moments to calm yourself when you leave the event or before you walk in the house, or before you take your next bite. Breathe, have some water, and stop before you slash the other three.

I heard a very wise woman say that binges and overeating are messengers. Quiet yourself and ask what they are trying to tell you. Even if you do not know right away, when you return to home-base eating and behaviors and do some course correcting, the answers will come to you before you face the challenges again if you listen to them. But if you drown out the messages with even more food, chaos and beat downs, you will never hear them speaking to you because sometimes the message is only a whisper.

Actionable Coaching Advice

Look at your calendar for the upcoming week, or even for the rest of the month. Anything that is listed – from a doctor’s appointment to a wedding – put in your notebook.

Brainstorm how you can prepare yourself for these, foodwise. Figure out how maybe you don’t even have to get a tack in one tire, let alone come out of the house and find all four slashed!

Will making a list for foods you want in the house following a weekend away be helpful? Will making a reheatable casserole on Sunday be a good plan for Tuesday’s dinner when you will be out of the house late because of a doctor’s appointment? Will bringing a Tupperware to your daughter’s house on Sunday be a good idea because you know there will be a lot of food left over from brunch and knowing that you are taking some home keep you from overeating while you are there? Will sipping on a protein drink on the way to the wedding help you from being overly hungry and keep you from the breadbasket?

Set Yourself Up For Success

Planning for events – no matter how major or minor – sets us up for success. But the advantage is deeper than that. Mostly having a safe home base or mostly having a plan to course correct will show you that you are smart and resourceful – so even when you don’t have a plan in place because life has thrown you a curve ball, you will feel better about yourself because you have shown yourself that you are smart and resourceful. Most importantly, it will underscore your resilience so that you don’t have to wait more than just a few quadrants to get that course correction in place. Your tires will stay intact.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, Home Base and Course Correcting, and I hope it will help you navigate your journey. Don't forget to subscribe to the mailing list (below) so that you don't miss the next one!

My course, Keto and Low Carb Success is built on nutritional wisdom and the most important elements of finding your normal through help with urges, feeling your best, setting smart goals, learning about your next best decisions, etc. There are so many more topics like these in this course. Please check the link below. I have very special gifts and pricing for the summer of 2023.

Now, let me remind you. If you’ve ever got a question you’d like to ask me or share a topic idea that you would like me to cover in a future blog, don’t be a stranger! I always look forward to hearing from readers like you. You are welcome to email me directly… [email protected].

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Tips for Keeping a Food Journal - Part 1

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