Episode # 49: Protocols and Good-Better-Best
You’re listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success podcast, Episode #49: Protocols and Good-Better-Best
Welcome to Keto and Low Carb Success where I am here to help you on your weight loss and good-health journey. I’m your host Miriam Hatoum, course creator and author of Conquer Cravings with Keto, originally published as Breaking Free From Diet Prison. I am privileged to be part of your journey with this podcast based on my trademarked Granny Keto Transitions Program. And, please, be sure to go to miriamhatoum.com/resources to get all the free guides to help you along the way. I am in your shoes, my friends, and I wrote these guides for both of us. The link is in the show notes and transcripts.
0:57 Personal Story
Before I came up with these protocols for myself, and the good-better-best method, I would always face parties, vacations, holiday meals, office lunches, going out to dinner, etc., hoping for the best. I also set “hoping for the best” against an impossibly high standard so I never reached my weight loss goals, or if I did, I certainly could not maintain any significant weight loss.
I was never good enough, I never did enough, I never succeeded enough because, after all, enough isn’t perfect. Then in my late 60s I discovered and entered the Land of Good Enough. To my surprise entering and living in the Land of Good Enough opened the gates to the Land of Doing More and Feeling Better.
In this episode I give you the keys to those Lands, and hope your travels are easier than they have been.
2:00 There is no such thing as perfect
In this lesson about Good-Better-Best and Protocols I am going to give you some ways to decide on your next-best decision about what food to choose.
Don't aim for perfect
Not only will it never happen, but your pursuit of it will drive you to all sorts of dark places.
2:30 Good enough IS good enough!
In my experience, I have found that the search for perfect gets in the way of "good enough" and sometimes even best - which is often perfect for the situation, but not perfect for what we dream of as perfect.
There is no need to seek out the queen's crown.
Instead, I employ a method called, "Good-Better-Best." Podcast # 7 is all about this, and it would be helpful to go back and listen to it in addition to this one.
You already know that
· You are an intelligent human being. (You are here, aren't you?) and
- For sure you know that an appetizer of crudités, cheese, olives, and a few crackers is a better choice than chips, puff-pastry delights, pretzels and all sorts of things spread out on French baguettes.
Even if you have planned out what you are going to eat on these occasions, there are ways to be pleased with your assessment about how you handled them.
- Ask yourself quickly: "How can I minimize the damage?"
- Answer that, and you are at least in the GOOD category!
- Using Good-Better-Best, how can you handle eating out?
I am going to give you a few scenarios on how to move the needle just a little bit. Adjust it to any eating style you are following, but I based these suggestions on Low Carb.
4:04 Here is a restaurant scenario:
When you first sit down:
- You are famished.
- Bad news for the breadbasket situation, plus everything will sound good to you.
- And speaking of breadbaskets, if no one objects, let everyone else take something and then ask that it be removed or move it to where it is out of your reach.
- Ask for coffee, tea, or a non-cream soup as soon as you sit down.
When it’s time to order:
- Once you have had at least a cup of something, open the menu and take a moment to think about what you might like. Does the restaurant have a specialty? Do you have a hankering for something?
- Some places offer their menus on-line and you can see what there is before you even walk in, but it's not necessary to decide in advance like that.
- But, if you have decided in advance what you want, don't even take a menu, just sip your beverage or soup.
- Be the first one to order.
- Do not order last. Everything will sound too good and you will make poor choices based on impulses.
Here is the GOOD scenario:
- Order mostly what you want
- BUT: Stay away from the breadbasket and any bread with the main course such as a hamburger roll or tortilla.
- Don't order fried appetizers, cream soup or French fries, unless you are holding back on something else.
- If you must have dessert, either order fruit for yourself, split a dessert with someone, or order what you really, really, REALLY want and have a bite or two, or half at the most.
Here is the BETTER scenario:
- Order a salad for your appetizer, no croutons, and no specialty salads (such as Fall or Asian salads).
- Order a non-breaded protein such as steak, broiled chicken or fish, or hamburger.
- If you order a house specialty like Chicken Parmesan ask if they can make it with no breading.
- If this is not possible (because it is pre-made) but you are dying for it, have it but ask for a small plate on the side and immediately cut off some of the portion and give it away or ask for a takeout container and put it in there at the start of the meal.
- Ask for a side non-starchy vegetable like broccoli or string beans.
- Order a starch if you want but watch your portions.
- If it is pasta or rice you can even ask the server to have the chef measure out a cup or so before having it brought to the table; eat only half the potato.
- Don't order dessert for yourself; share if you can, but then eat only half of that.
- Finish your meal with a coffee, tea, or sparkling water with a strawberry in it.
- Order an appetizer salad, and dress with Blue cheese or Ranch (if you like them and they are available) or just some fresh lemon and olive oil.
- Do not order "light" anything. It usually refers to fat content and not sugar content.
- Order a grilled protein. Stay away from things like steak tips which have probably been marinating in a sugar-laden marinade.
- Steak, prime-rib, roast chicken or salmon (or other fish) are perfect choices.
- Ask for a side non-starchy vegetable like broccoli or string beans.
- Don't order dessert. If a friend will let you have a "bite" enjoy. Better yet, don't even have that bite!
- Finish your meal with a coffee, tea, or sparkling water with a strawberry in it.
- When I am not in control of what goes on my plate (like at a restaurant that serves 12-16 ounce steaks), I will ask for a container BEFORE I even start my meal and take off half from the start.
- It eliminates picking at the food until it is all gone when you meant to eat only half.
- You can always take some out of the container if you are still hungry.
- This is a great way to approach "BEST" even if you have indulged in some food that you normally would not have.
9:10 A different angle on GBB
- I propose that 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).
- 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.
10:30 Now on to parties
- If it is an appetizer-type party, choose well.
- By this I mean, forgo a lot of the fried and heavily breaded items, like fried shrimp or mini-egg rolls. Instead, have some cheese and dip with crudités, meatballs, olives, maybe one or two fried items that you really love, and a few crackers if you must.
- If it is a dinner party, and it is a buffet, fill your main plate with salad and a protein selection.
- If you must have a dessert, pick one thing, and leave half.
- If you take your food and there is a place to sit, take your ONE plate, sit away from the table, and do not get up for more.
- If it is a "passed-food" party with no plates, sort of keep score in your head, and take 5 or 6 items and call it a day.
- Keep a seltzer water or diet soda in your hand or ask for hot coffee or tea.
- Remember: YOU DON'T NEED TO BE PERFECT, YOU JUST NEED TO BE BETTER.
- A friend told me once that she has a rule of never eating while standing up. PERIOD.
- That takes care of a stand-up, milling-around party.
- Keep a beverage in your hand.
- If it is a sit-down party, when you make your plate leave off any carb-laden or fried choices.
- Skip dessert.
12:12 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.
- 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.
14:04 The Land of Good Enough:
- Let's say you love eclairs with your coffee once in a while.
- I don't encourage good-food vs. bad-food lists. Put it in the GOOD column, but maybe add, "Once a month if I really want it." We are looking for next-best decisions.
- We are trying to figure out how to get off the perfection path, that we never reach anyway (at least not for very long) and get comfortable with the "Land of Good Enough."
- Once you are firmly in that land, move on to the "Land of Better Decisions."
- As often as possible, visit the "Land of Best For Me and My Goals."
- Life is on a continuum my folks. Embrace it.
14:55 Using a behavioral protocol:
- I talked about Food Protocols in Episode #8, and how they help you do what you say you will do.
- You might want to 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. This is your home-base eating that I talked about in the episode before this one, Episode #48.
- 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 Protocol for eating behavior.
15:45 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.
17:18 Use Your 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.”
18:20 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.
19:32 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.)
20:12 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.
- STOP AT ENOUGH!
- 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.
- IT’S ONLY FOOD.
- YOU ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN A PLATE OF FOOD.
- REMEMBER THAT!
21:30 This Week’s 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. Just as with last week’s assignment on home-base eating, I want you to 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. As long as you don’t wake up in a stupor wondering why you are so stuffed or wondering why your blood sugar might be high, then at least you are aware of what you did and can make a better decision next time.
Remember, that first step into the Land of Good Enough will pave the way to the Land of Doing More and Feeling Better.
This topic on your tool box containing Good-Better-Best, Food Protocols, Behavioral Protocols and If-Then Scenarios, is in my course Keto and Low Carb Success. Depending upon when you are listening, the course is either in waitlist-mode or it has gone live. Please check it out at miriamhatoum.com/course. 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 on a future episode, don’t be a stranger! I always look forward to hearing from listeners like you. You are welcome to email me directly… email@example.com. And don’t forget to leave a review wherever you listen to this podcast. I would SO appreciate it. Leaving a review makes it easier for other people who are looking to listen about Keto and Low Carb.
24:00 Coming up in the next episode
Next week I am going to talk all about Habits and Systems. Do you have a goal but are spinning your wheels trying to get there? This episode will help you to put habits and systems into place so that you can reach your goals this summer.
So go share the show with your friends, let them know that’s coming up in the next episode, and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison with my Keto and Low Carb Success podcast.
Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time.
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