I used to dread social events in a food sense….the holidays, the birthday parties, frequent meals at restaurants. I hear so often from friends, clients, and know personally from my own experience, that being social and being healthy is one of the hardest combos.
Food, enjoyment and being social go hand in hand, and that is how it should be, but how do you stay on track with your diet AND participate at the same time? I have had many gatherings where I stuck to ice water and salad for fear of not being able to control all the delicious options in front of me, but it was always more stressful than fun. I have finally started to use a few simple tools to find a balance between having control of my eating and enjoying it at the same time.
But first, let me tell you about my perfectly, imperfect weekend of eating.
Let’s start with dinner on Friday night. I know I had one of my usual go to meals, a chicken, veggie, rice bowl, that is simple as it sounds. Bake chicken, steam rice, sautee veggies of choice and mix together. One of my FAVORITES! I also had a couple bites of my boyfriend’s Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and a glass of wine. Hint: Having bites of others people’s foods is one my my favorite tips (always good to use this tool with someone you are super close with).
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We were going out of town for the night so Saturday morning, I knew my eating was going to be totally out of my control, yet completely in my own control, at the same time, for the next 24 hours.
Breakfast at home: 2 egg, veggie scramble with two pieces of ezekiel toast and coffee, duh
For the road: 1 quest bar and one apple
Lunch: (family gathering BBQ style) I made the best choices I could and let me tell you there was not a single vegetable in sight, not even lettuce. I had a heaping pile of pulled chicken, a small scoop of macaroni salad and a tiny cup of baked beans and a bite of my boyfriends pumpkin pie.
Dinner: Ended up at a BBQ restaurant again ( I actually picked it). I chose BBQ Chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, my first veggie of the day!! I also ate the top of the amazing buttermilk, cornbread muffin that was set on my plate, grrr. I also had three sips of my boyfriends beer and two bites of his amazing beef and bacon burger.
And believe it or not I actually went to bed a smidge hungry and not stuffed one bit. Even though I have been practicing this for a long time, I was so proud of myself. Some people have to constantly work at stuff like this and I am one of them.
Out to eat again for breakfast and you know if I went to bed hungry I woke up starving.
Breakfast: Coffee, an egg white omelet with feta cheese, two corn tortillas and half of the serving of potato hash, and (I’m so bad and love my boyfriend so much for letting me do this) a bite of his biscuits and gravy. ( My boyfriend is in super good shape by the way and while he eats pretty much whatever he wants, he is way good at portion control and timing of his meals).
On the road: Apple
Lunch at home: Chicken, veggie, rice bowl at home. Small piece of dark chocolate.
Dinner: 2 pieces of ezekiel toast and 2 egg, veggie scramble with two pieces of bacon.
Snack: 2 homemade pumpkin, peanut butter, protein balls
My weekend was definitely a little more indulgent than usual but I was never stuffed to the point of discomfort and never starving or wishing I could have more. I made the healthiest choices I could and it was all delicious and satisfying. I was able to eat a couple meals at home each day, which helped and if you notice I tend to stick to fairly similar foods because they work well for me. I drank tons of water all weekend and will get back on track tomorrow. Well, I actually got back on track this afternoon.
So, what you have been waiting for, my top three tips for you.
1. Perspective – Try to take a way the mindset of being on or off a diet, or foods being good or bad. If I was on a “diet” this whole weekend would have been miserable for me because I would have been off the diet, eating foods that were “bad”, therefore making me feel “bad.” This may not be the case for everyone but if you can put social settings in a different perspective, that YOU DO HAVE THE CONTROL to make choices, even when the food is not ideal. That you can indulge and be satisfied with our stuffing your face, which brings me to my next point.
2. Food Will Always Be Available To You – When you look at that chocolate cheesecake, hot dog, macaroni salad, remember there will be an opportunity for you to eat it again in life. It is not now or never and sometimes taking that ultimatum away gives us the ability to just relax and not HAVE to have it that very moment. Look at that cheesecake and think ‘If I really want to have some, I will go buy some tomorrow.”
3. Take Bites – This works well if I am out with my boyfriend, close friends and family. I love to sample food and my mom and sisters and I are know to each order our own dish, taste each others and even sometimes switch meals because we like the others better. I think sampling my boyfriends foods has been one of the best things that have happened to my eating habits because I get to taste everything but binge on nothing. And honestly, at the BBQ dinner I would not want to eat an entire bacon, hamburger. It would make me feel sick physically and probably throw me off mentally, but you better believe I loved those two bites.
So remember perspective, food will always be available and take bites, with your goal being neither stuffed nor starving. If any of these tips are helpful please go back to my facebook post and let me know. Or let me know if you have any helpful tips of you own. 🙂