blog protocols Jul 19, 2023

In the past I would always face parties, vacations, holiday meals, office lunches, going out to dinner, etc., hoping for the best. I never thought of the idea of Protocols and instead I was “Hoping for the best” and never really got anywhere successful. The hopes and thoughts were like sugarplum fairies dancing in my head. Very pretty and sparkly but really not amounting to anything.

It wasn't until I got some concrete strategies for establishing protocols, that my goals started to take shape and get me on the road to successful vacations, parties and travel. 

Here is your roadmap to this post

Protocols help you do what you say you will do

Make advanced decisions

Establish an If-Then tool

Here is some more help

Food pushers

Thoughts on waste

Clean plate club

What mistakes are we making and why?

Your goals for choosing your foods and protocols

Actionable Coaching Advice

Protocols help you do what you say you will do.

  • What is a protocol? A protocol is a system of rules, procedures or behaviors that determines your decisions.
  • You can have a food protocol for the holiday season, such as what you will always have for meals you do control on days you are going to be away from home.
  • You can have behavioral protocols as well.
  • Using a behavioral protocol is especially perfect for a party or the holiday season.
  • Here are some suggestions for using your behavioral protocols for your eating behavior and decisions.

Make advanced decisions

  • Decide you will not eat standing up
  • Decide you will take one plate/one serving of each course: 1 for appetizers, 1 for main course, 1 for dessert.
  • Better yet, decide that for appetizers and desserts that you will take one of the offered items, not one plate.
  • Decide that if salad is served you will start with that, then go on to one plate of a main course.
  • Decide that you will have appetizer or dessert.
  • Decide that you will leave a bite or two behind of each course, including salad.
  • Decide in advance, that if this is an all-day afternoon function, that you will eat lightly, if at all, later when you get home.
  • Better yet, prepare a small plate of something light for yourself at home before leaving for the party. This is your home-base eating plan.
  • Decide that you will have a glass of water or seltzer before eating.
  • Decide that when you are finished you will go to the bathroom and brush your teeth.
  • Imagine what foods will be set out, see yourself picking what you truly love to eat, and decide in advance that you will follow that mind’s-eye plan.
  • Decide in advance that you will ask the hostess if you can bring something home if you like.

Establish an If-Then Tool

  • Even if you are using the straight-forward Good-Better-Best method to make your next-best decisions about which food to eat, and behavioral protocols that you decided upon in advance, you also have an If-Then tool to use.
  • Decide in advance, “If I am going to have desserts then I am not going to have appetizers.”
  • Decide in advance, “If I have cheese and crackers then I am not also going to have chip and dip” (or any variation of that).
  • Decide in advance, “If I know I am going to have two servings of the main course because I know what is on the menu and I would like everything, then I am not going to have appetizers or dessert.”
  • Decide in advance, “If it is nice weather, then I am just going to step out a few times to breathe, center myself, and get away from all the food.”

Here is some more help

  • Get rid of anxiety around food about how much of it there is or how much of it you will eat.
  • Do mindfulness practices, like some deep breathing or thinking, with gratitude, that you are with family and friends and a great meal.
  • Decide in advance what number on the hunger scale you are comfortable being at. Please, whatever you do, don’t stuff yourself. But being at a 6 or 7 is not the end of the world.
  • Go armed with your protocol (food, behavior, other ideas)
  • If you are going to a family event of a close family member (like one of your children or a sibling), ask if they mind if you bring a couple of your own takeout containers because you know the food will be great and you want to take home what you won’t be eating – if there is enough for everyone else, of course.
  • Circling back to anxiety – take a break when needed. Go outside, leave the room, sit in the bathroom for a few minutes.

There are other situations that get in your way of good choices:

Food pushers

  • If someone is pushing a main-course item, say that you will take it with your next plate of food, but then don't take a second plate.
  • If someone is pushing a dessert on you say that you are full, and could you please have a portion to wrap up and take home. (This works for main-course items as well.) I have done that and have left the package at the person's home or restaurant.
  • No one has come chasing after me with the package in hand.
  • When cleanup time comes the hostess will probably not even remember that it is yours!
  • If you can't get away with that, say thank you, take it, and toss it when you get home.

Thoughts About Waste

  • Before leaving good-better-best, I want to say something about waste.
  • I am absolutely certain that many of you will object to throwing food out, especially if you have grown up with a situation where food was scarce.
  • First of all, if you leave food behind that you have paid for, or are throwing food out at home, please keep in mind that we might be talking pennies per serving.

The real waste

  • You will not be putting that money back in your pocket, nor will you be helping starving children on the other side of the world by leaving a doggie bag behind at the restaurant.
  • I want you, instead, to think about what you are wasting in your life by eating extra food.
  • You are wasting precious time and experiences in your life by wishing you would lose weight instead of living your life to its fullest.

The Clean Plate Club

  • Are you a member of the clean-plate club?
  • We think we have to finish everything on our plate.
  • When you leave food behind, you might get comments like, “Oh didn’t you like it?” or “Are you feeling okay?”
  • Just answer with, “I loved it, but I took too much.”
  • (Go on to blame that you had too many appetizers or are leaving room for dessert.) 

What mistakes are we making and why?

  • We think that anyone really cares when you use these tools. They don’t. Trust me. Well, maybe an 85-year-old auntie, but that’s about it.
  • We think that stuffing ourselves is the polite thing to do because it easier to do that than say “No thank you.”
  • We don’t make enough decisions in advance.
  • We go without a protocol. Even if we don’t know what is on the menu we can still go with a behavioral protocol.
  • We throw all our good habits and intentions out the window because, after all, it is a party or special occasion, and there is always tomorrow.
  • My friends, this is fine, but if you eat till you are sick and stuffed or go home with high blood sugar, then tomorrow isn’t what you should be looking at.
  • You need to look at the present, and how you feel emotionally and physically.
  • If the food is so good that you can’t stand leaving it behind either take some home, decide you are going to order it at a restaurant within the month, or just make it yourself.

Your goals for choosing your foods and protocols

I said this in last week’s post and am saying it again because I feel it needs repeating: There are no good foods and bad foods, only foods that will get you to your goal or take you further away from it. Anything can fit depending upon your goal(s). Make these your goals:

  • Goal #1 -When eating out with friends and family it's about being with everyone, so savor that experience.
  • Goal #2 - Is the food itself a special experience? Are there specialties of the house or some food you love and have been hankering for? Savor that food.
  • Goal #3 - You want to feel better when you are finished than when you started. Savor the feeling of not being stuffed.
  • Goal #4 - Don't beat yourself up for any food choices you have made. Savor what you are having, get rid of the beat up, and move on. You are not good or bad. The food choices are not good or bad. No guilt Is necessary.
  • If all your goals have been met, you have made the best choices.

Actionable Coaching Advice

This week I want you to write down in your journal, three tools you will use with any food events coming up. Pinpoint where you might be thrown off. This could be anything from facing food pushers, to dinner out, to just dealing with waste and anxiety when it comes to cleaning up from a favorite meal that you will be having at home.

 The road to success is awareness. You might choose to clean your plate, have a cookie because someone offered it to you or leave a party feeling stuffed. Okay, as long as these were conscious decisions, and you weren’t eating in a fog or totally unaware of what you were consuming. Awareness of what you did and maybe even WHY you chose to do what you did, can help you make a better decision next time.

Remember, as I said in last week’s blog, that first step into the Land of Good Enough will pave the way to the Land of Doing More and Feeling Better.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, Protocols, 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].

All Free Resources

Learn more about this with my book and course:

Book Conquer Cravings with Keto 

Course Keto and Low Carb Success

Tips for Keeping a Food Journal - Part 1

Join Our Newsletter!

Stay up to date on the latest blogs!