Trying to lose weight or building a healthier lifestyle shouldn’t mean we have to choose between enjoyment or punishment, fun events or missing out, food or starvation.
Enjoying Dinners, Buffets and Socialising Again
Being in a calorie deficit when trying to lose weight can make going out to events difficult for many, especially when we know there’s going to be a lot of food to deal with.
Thoughts such as, “I should just cancel”, “What will I eat?!?”, “I’m going to ruin my diet again, so I won’t eat anything”, “But I don’t want to miss out”, “Why is this so damn hard?”, can often lead to so much anxiety in the lead up to an event that it simply becomes easier to pass up the event all together.
But that shouldn’t be the case.
Trying to lose weight or building a healthier lifestyle shouldn’t mean we have to choose between enjoyment or punishment, socialising or missing out, food or starvation.
Here are my favourite go-to tips for attending food focused events:
Don’t Go Hungry
Trying to save up calories for later by skipping meals during the day often backfires. Not only does it often lead to overeating, but it can increase the pressure of already having to manage ‘off the plan’ eating which can be really challenging for some people to overcome. If you’re going to a dinner event, enjoy your regular healthy breakfast and lunch, knowing that it will give you the fuel to not only enjoy the event, but the satiety that will prevent you from being ravenous at the event.
Watch What You Drink
Alcohol and soft drinks are often deceptive full of easy to consume, nutrient poor calories. Plus, after a couple, it’s not uncommon to find yourself caring a lot less about what and how much your eat. Avoiding or limiting alcohol is a great way to not only reduce calories, but to spare yourself from the next day guilt trip that comes with having eating more than you initially bargained for.
With so many low or no calorie options available these days such as sparkling waters and low-calorie soda’s, or if you do want to enjoy alcohol in moderation, lower calorie alcoholic beverages such as vodka or gin with soda/sparkling water and lime juice, you don’t have to miss out.
If you’d like to know about the affects of alcohol on losing weight, the body and fitness, see my article on Alcohol and Training.
Go For The Healthy Stuff First
This is my all time favourite tip, and one I’ve mastered over years of attending large events thrown by my family. Buffets, spreads and large family dinners are challenging for many, as we’re often faced with dozens of delicious dishes in the one place. This is why I always start a food centred event by loading up on the “healthy” stuff.
Roast vegetables, cold salads, wholegrains, soups and lean meats/proteins are a great way to fill up your plate. I often find myself grabbing a soup, some salad, a slice of rye bread (a Polish household staple) and lean roast meat at my family events, and I find it gives me the satiety level to happily turn down or limit other items that are less healthful… and you should see the amazing event spreads my Mum makes!
It also helps in reducing how many sweets I’m drawn to at dessert, as I’m already full of nutritionally dense foods, but allows me to me partake in the event and enjoy it just like everyone else.
Enjoy The Company Your In
By really focusing on enjoying the company you’re in, not only will you reduce the stresses and pressures of the event, but take the focus off the food. Not only does this make the whole event more enjoyable, but it will make your healthy meal choices more delicious, your memories of the event brighter, and refocus yourself on one of the most important things in life, our relationships with others.
Get Back On The Horse
If you do find you’ve overeaten, it’s okay, move on. Life is to be enjoyed, and with that sometimes comes the occasional slip up, hangover, and slice of cake or two. It’s important to keep things in perspective, and remember that it can take time to build new habits and lifestyles. When we feel we’ve slipped up, it can also be powerful to recognise that this discomfort is a wonderful sign that eating healthfully is something that’s become of high importance to you, and that for many people is a powerful change in itself. Recognising you’re great amount of success prior to ‘slipping up’ as well as jumping back on track rather than waiting for Monday, or next week or the right time can also play a big role in allowing yourself to truly find the balance between your goal to lose weight and enjoy the fun things in life such as events with friends.
Whilst I know these tips may not offer the perfect solution to dealing with an event, I do hope they help you feel less anxious and more enjoyment when faced with your next social gathering.
Because if battling my own issues with food has taught me anything, it’s that life is to be enjoyed, food is to be enjoyed and the company of others is definitely to be enjoyed. So don’t let food or your health or your fitness goals dictate how much fun you get to have, simply continue learning and practising the skills and tools you’ve learnt along your journey, know that it’s okay when things don’t go according to plan and do your best to enjoy where you are on the journey that is your life.
If you’ve found this article interesting, and would like more healthy recipes and fitness tips, join my free Facebook group Perth Women Wanting To Be Fitter, Happier And Healthier community.
Need some healthy recipes to help you survive the festive season?
This is for you: