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  • He thinks highly caloric treats are "owed" him when he's had either an especially bad or a very good day. I suspect that to jazz up ordinary or boring days he also thinks he's entitled to a "treat."
  • He associates food with happy times and with his happy childhood. Say we're having a dull evening at home, there's nothing to watch on TV, and a change of pace would liven things up. "Let's all go to Howard Johnson's for an ice cream soda," he says. Having an ice cream soda is an old family treat for him (it was a tradition during my childhood too), so not only are we getting out of the house and relieving our boredom, but we are taking our parents and our happy memories along.
  • Once you see how and when someone is overeating, you can start to look at the why's. Perhaps some of the reasons are too deep for you to tackle. Never mind, save those for later. This food plan will still work. If you are observant, you'll get a good understanding of his eating patterns, which will help provide a happy day of eating, but with fewer calories.

    If you need assistance "observing" during office hours, enlist a little help—does he have a secretary or office chum? A woman will be a better help to you than a man, and for heaven's sake, don't make it look like you're asking her to spy. ("Gee, Jennifer, I'm working on this project for my husband, but I really need your help to make it work . . .")