Sources in Number 10 Downing Street report that David Cameron is giving up his favourite treat, a bowl of Bird’s custard late at night, in order to help him lose weight. Not surprisingly Mr Cameron really struggles with this.
First because he has a lot going on at the moment. The front page headline of the same newspaper is “PANIC GRIPS DOWNING ST”. Like the rest of us, times of stress are not the best for making major changes to existing habits. If you want to change a habit, you need to bring it to the front of your thinking for a few weeks. You need to be able to focus on it.
Times of stress make us more likely to need soothing. And if Bird’s custard does it for us, that’s where we are going to want to turn.
Second, because late at night our energy levels tend to be low. When your energy is low, your willpower is at its lowest. Even if you have shed-loads of energy and willpower at other times. I see lots of people who, like Mr Cameron are highly successful and very disciplined in other areas of life but who struggle to resist their favourite treat.
The worst place to start trying to lose weight is by giving up a habit that is pleasurable and soothing at the end of a (phenomenally) demanding day.
If I were David Cameron and I was wanting to lose some weight now, I’d:
- Adjust the size of my evening meal to allow me to get definitely hungry by custard time
- Buy a smaller bowl to eat my custard from (because visual cues about the amount we are eating influence our level of satisfaction with what we eat)
- Ask Samantha to serve the amount of custard, with the double cream which I allegedly like to add, which will be just enough
- Really enjoy eating the ambrosic custard/ cream combo by focusing on it and eating it slowly and stopping as soon as I feel slightly full, leaving whatever’s left in the bowl
- Move away from the kitchen and the custard cupboard and go and do something else
This way, you learn to reduce the size of your favourite snack whilst really enjoying it. Adjusting the size of the previous meal so that you are definitely hungry means that (a) you’re fat-burning in the time between meal and snack and (b) your taste buds will be at their most sensitive by the time you start the custard so you’ll enjoy it more than ever.
For more guidance on Appetite Retraining, go to www.theappetitedoctor.co.uk