Whether it’s a late summer BBQ, wedding, or other life milestone, you’re bound to have your calendar booked with a celebration sometime soon. For people working hard to lose weight, it can be stressful and even cause anxiety that can make you want to skip the event altogether. If this sounds like you, you should know that your uneasy feeling is natural and you shouldn’t think negatively toward it. Instead, how about a solution? I’ll explain why you’re having a difficult time and how you can be social without blowing your diet.
It’s All About Control
The reason social engagements may make you feel uncomfortable has to do with control; how much control you think you have over making “the right” choices so you won’t leave feeling stuffed and regretful of your actions. Some people get “nervous energy” and tend to ease the nerves with the comfort of food. So if you’re attending a wedding where you don’t know too many people, eating can give something for your mind and mouth to do rather than (gulp) chat with strangers.
Have a Plan, Have Control
The best way to convince yourself that you do have control of your food choices in social settings is to make a plan that builds confidence. Make sure your plan is realistic and achievable. For example, do not tell yourself to skip breakfast and eat a salad for lunch so you can “bank” your calories for food and drink. You’ll end up feeling tired, starved, and ready to eat the table.
Here are some realistic tips:
- Eat before you go. You don’t want to get really hungry early on at the party. Who knows when food will be served? I recommend having a healthy meal two hours before the occasion begins or a 200-calorie snack within an hour before the event. A healthy snack might be one cup of watermelon and one cup of fresh cut veggies with a glass of water. A healthy meal looks more like a cup of salad greens and three ounces of salmon with a tablespoon of dressing.
- If possible, delay eating. If you can eat “anytime” at the party consider delaying eating until you start to feel hungry. Skip the appetizer round of food and drinks and instead sip on some carbonated water with lemon. Make a pass at the food table and take a look at what looks good. Think about what you would enjoy eating that would also nourish you.
- Make one reasonable sized plate. When it’s time to eat, choose foods that come close to the foods on your eating plan. If there are fresh veggies or salad greens, be sure to grab some of those to balance out other high calorie foods. Enjoy every bite of what you choose. Try to make the meal last 30 minutes and stop when you are full.
- Choose between desserts and drinks. You probably don’t need me to tell you that desserts and alcohol are sources of empty calories. But it’s a party so you should be able to participate. By skipping appetizers and sticking to one plate, you do have a calorie budget to enjoy one or two drinks or a dessert, but try to keep from participating in both. You don’t want to offset all your positive efforts with this slip up.