Granted, I am completely the architect of my overweight. I ate all those calories. That’s it.
BUT, now that I’m out and about more, trying to make an engaged and meaningful life again, I’m faced with food at every turn! I never realized how food centered we are in my corner of the world. If it isn’t a cookies-and-punch reception, it’s dinner in a restaurant with a group. My daily success rides on a wobbly balance board: while I enjoy the opportunities of friendship and service, I’m also clutching restraint.
So, I’m figuring out how to be both sociable and mindful.
In the Never Too Old to Learn column, I’ve figured out these [truly obvious] aspects so far.
- Plan ahead. Budget and save some of the day’s calories and carbs for the social event.
- Eat a “cheap,” filling bite of something with a glass of water, such as half an apple or a few carrots, before a delayed dinner out. That makes it easy to skip the bread with the meal.
- Look at the restaurant menu online and make some decisions before leaving home.
- Divide restaurant portions in half before beginning. The first time I tried this, I took my own container. The second time, I asked the server if half could be put in a to-go container in the kitchen before the meal was served. It wasn’t a problem at all, and she was also happy to substitute asparagus for the pasta side. It turns out, people do this all the time.
- At receptions, just hold a glass of water or other low-calorie beverage and simply decide to stay strong. Surrounded by platters of sweets and savories, it’s not easy to keep the finish line in mind. But that event will only last a couple of hours, no one cares who’s eating what, and the reward of a successful day is completely worth the sacrifice in the moment.
- Wear clothes that fit. I can trace my very first evening food spree to the realization in graduate school that loose-fitting loungewear would allow for a comfortable movie night of deep dish pizza, ice cream, and French Silk Pie. It’s the same today going to work and finding bagels and cream cheese in the lounge or going out to supper with friends and eyeing the tantalizing dessert selection; right-sized, fitted clothing is a confidence booster and built-in reminder to stay on the plan.
- As for that workplace lounge, I made one no-exceptions rule when I went back on site. I don’t eat anything I find at work. Not the weekly buttered popcorn; not the Appreciation donuts, bagels, mini candy bars, cheeses and fruits. Nothing. This has been tremendously helpful.
- Keep binge foods out of the house. Even after a successful day of food choices, I can still come home and want to process the day’s stresses with a carton of Talenti vanilla bean gelatto. It’s infinitely easier to make good choices without having it here at my finger tips.
- If I do choose to indulge, I enjoy it and don’t try to make it up the next day. Like a cheat day, it’s over, it was intentional, and tomorrow it’s back to the plan.
- Figuring out all of this, as well as adding exercise, has slowed my weight loss to a crawl ~ and it’s okay. The number is still going down on the scale. Slowly but surely, 12 to go!