Today as I write this post it is indeed Thanksgiving. The American mother of food holidays. It is the day that we all gather together (the good, the bad and the ugly), and we give thanks to whomever that we have what we have and eat until we are blue in the face. For dieters and weight losers, it can be a holiday as scary as Halloween in that, when faced with our favorite food temptations, we may throw caution and all of our hard work out the window.
“What to do???” one may ask! It’s a conundrum that is real and these types of events can produce major anxiety in many different ways. The way I see it there are 3 different ways to approach a holiday, celebration and/or special occasion. There is the What-the-Hell! approach, the Compromise approach and the Stick-to-Your-Guns-No-Matter-What approach.
In my personal experience, holidays can be great or lousy depending on who’s at the shindig. The food is another character just waiting to be dealt with. I am not the type of person who eats so much at these events where at the end of it I feel sick or uncomfortable. This is not my issue, but I know many suffer with this. I do know when to stop and say “no more for me.” Nevertheless, at that point I have usually eaten way over my usual strict calorie allowance qualifying it as a binge. Even so, I
allow myself on these types of occasions to indulge. Although I know I will be eating way more than usual, I decide in advance that I won’t beat myself up for it. This is because I think of it as a planned one-time-only binge. After this occasion, I am re-focused to commit to my goals and get right back on the road to continue the job (in theory). Now this will only work if a person can commit to their weight loss goals the day after and not look back. If one indulges one day and then the next and so forth, it could be a disaster. By the way, if there are leftovers and people are pushing me to take some, I am very selective and take only the items I know are healthy and that won’t ruin my future eating goals.
I have been known to also practice this concept as well. It has to do
with sticking to a plan but loosely. Perhaps, for example, allowing oneself to have dessert, but sharing it with others. Or not having seconds. Or not having alcohol. Or only eating veggies as an appetizer. Or all of the above. This is probably a very good option for those going to multiple parties or celebrating on many different days. There is an element of controlled indulgence, but it isn’t a full out binge-o-rama on one frightful day.
This approach is hard for me because I am usually with company that I love and I want to have a good time. Watching everyone eat their favorite foods feels like torture when I’m being super selective (especially if someone asks if I’ve tried their….whatever and I haven’t
because it’s too fattening). However, it has happened once or twice, and will probably happen again, that I have eaten exactly what I intended to and stick to a reasonable calorie allowance that is in line with my weight loss goals. It may mean that I find out in advance about what will be offered at the event and make a mental note about what I will be dishing up and what I will definitely not be dishing up. If the celebration is at a restaurant, I look online at the menu and make deliberate decisions before going. This way I don’t have to deal with the repercussions of poor food choices the next day and so forth. Pre-planning the meal may be the only thing that works for those who suffer with having no control in these types of situations and there should be no shame in this choice.
I haven’t mentioned exercise and that should be included. Try to exercise the day of such an occasion if possible. This will help quell the caloric excess. This may be common sense, but it bears repeating. Exercising always makes me feel like I’ve done something good no matter what comes after it.
On these types of occasions, try not to let the food rule you. You do make the choice to put something on your plate/fork/napkin. You also have the right to say “no” to things you know will get you into trouble. Just get away from the open buffet or appetizer area and talk to others or do something active that distracts you from eating the entire time. You can always go back on the diet tomorrow, so don’t worry about today. This is a time to celebrate and enjoy the company of others with food. “Let us break bread together” as they say.