Structure Produces Freedom

It seems that every week has a theme in working with weight loss. Last week that theme was resistance. In talking about food and what to eat, I suggested to write down your meals the day before so you know exactly what you are going to eat the next day. This way, there is structure and you are mindful about what you are going to eat instead of leaving it up in the air.

The reaction to this idea was surprising because a lot of people had an immediate negative reaction. There were statements like “I have no time” or “I already plan it in my head” and even “I can’t possibly do that!”

The next step was to discuss the resistance and come up with a plan of eating for the next day that was written down in the INSTRUCTION part of the chart. The goal here was to have people actively think about their choices and write them down. There is no judgment as to what foods they choose to eat, merely the act of putting it on paper. In every case, we were able to accomplish this in minutes and it was seen that this was a productive way to stay mindful and that there was no wrong answer.

What I understand is that asking this question produces a lot of fear and anxiety. WE have been programmed for so long to think that our recovery relies on someone else to “tell me what to eat”. There is no confidence that you already know what to eat, only the overwhelming panic that if you were truly in control of what you were eating then you would fail.

THERE IS NO FAILURE!!! There is you deciding what to eat and doing the best you can. When you have a food plan based on your world and the foods you enjoy that make you feel healthy or happy, then you are creating your own success. Trust your knowledge of nutrition. If you have been on any “diet” you already know what to eat. Start with very small sustainable changes that you find you can make with confidence. Evaluate every week what went well, what should stay the same and what needs to be tweaked. Again there is no right or wrong here.


Patrice French, RNP