Overcoming an Occupational Weight Loss Hazard

As of the first of the year, I got sorta-kinda-but-not-really-yet-in-a-way promoted.  My company did a reorganization of my department, and while my paycheck still looks the same, I took on a whole heck of a lot more responsibility and stress.

Nearly two months in, I’m sort of regaining my stride (sort of), but something new has popped up that is so crazy.

I’m entertaining customers over meals on most days!  Last week alone, I had three meals at fabulous restaurants in town (Denver folks:  The Rio, Pappadeaux, and Jason’s Deli.)  Now, the foodie in me gets excited, but that girl who just re-committed to weight loss freaks out a little…

All I REALLY want to do is to be left alone to my Jenny lunches and my pre-planned snacks.  That would be so much easier… but I can’t really take my food to the restaurant and not eating with the client would be just plain awkward.

So, I’ve been learning to work with it… and I thought I’d share a few tips I’m come up with.

Dining Out Tips | No Thanks to Cake
Check out the Menu Ahead of Time

I am notorious for this.  When I get an invite to dinner/lunch, I always go online and see what the options look like.  Most chain restaurants will even have a nutrition guide posted, which I’ll reference when making my choices.

I can always find SOMETHING to eat.

Also, the trick about reviewing the menu and choosing your meal ahead of time is that you will not get distracted by the menu when it’s crunch time.  For me, I also walk into the restaurant completely confident about what I’m eating and that I’m staying on track… which assures I’m going to enjoy my night.

Don’t be Afraid to Customize Your Meal

I used to be a little hesitant to ask for special requests with my meals.  I never like to draw attention to my strange order, but at this point… I just don’t care anymore.  I like my food my way (after all, I’m Sally Albright), and there are so many people that are ordering even stranger meals than I do…

Be clear and specific about what you want.  Break it down for the server clearly, and thank them profusely for building your salad just the way you want it.

Example of a recent order:  At Pappadeaux this week, I ordered the Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken (no breading), instead of fried, no cheese, no croutons, no bacon, no egg.  Add extra tomatoes and cucumbers, with a light vinaigrette on the side.  The server didn’t even flinch, and the order came out perfectly…

NTTC Bonus Tip:  Scan the other salads for extra veggies you want to add to your salad.  I always do this!

Pre-Party with Your Own Appetizer

Load up on a healthy snack before you head to your event.  Most times, I choose vegetables because they’re incredibly filling and low-calorie.  Example:  Here is the snack I ate before I went to a work dinner this week.

Dining Out Tips from NTTC | No Thanks to Cake

These vegetables with my Roasted Red Pepper Dip filled me up nicely before I arrived at the restaurant.  This helped me to ignore the bread on the table and to say “No Thanks” to the appetizers that were passed around the table. #NTTA

Plan for an On-Track Day for All Your Other Meals

You may have one meal that is a little in-flux, but the remaining two and all the snacks you eat throughout the day should be on point.  I find this easy to do by using my Jenny foods.  I’ll write down exactly what I intend to eat for the planned meals, and then pick my restaurant choice based upon balancing out the rest of my day.  Example:  If my day is carb heavy, maybe that meal out needs to be carb-free.

Regardless, make a plan for the entire day… and stick to it!

Watch Your Liquid Calories

With socializing, there is often alcohol present.  As you talk and laugh throughout the night, you may lose count of how many glasses of wine you have or mixed drinks you down.  Set a target for what you will consume while you’re out before you walk into the restaurant.  Maybe it’s one glass of wine, and if so, consider pairing it with your meal for the most enjoyment.

Wine

Wet your whistle the remainder of the night with water, and lots of it.  This will help you stay hydrated, avoid ordering more vodka, and keep you satisfied.

Enjoy Your Time

Your friends, family, and co-worker want to visit with you and enjoy time with you.  They are not watching what you are eating like you are.  Relax, create your plan, and enjoy your night.

What other tips do you have for staying on track while dining out?

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Asking for Help and Recommitting to Jenny

Last Monday, I was driving home and talking to my sister-in-law Beth on the way home.  And something hit me… it was time to take action.

While I had been thinking about it for a while, I’d hesitated.  I’d told myself that there might be another way.  I told myself that I could just do it on my own… but in the back of my head I knew what I really needed to do.

Instead of driving all the way home, I took a turn in the opposite direction… in the RIGHT direction, if you will.

I drove myself to my local Jenny Craig Centre.

Beth and I talked about it, and she really encouraged me to do it.  I hung up the phone with her, and called Jenny to see if my favorite centre direct had time available to see me.  Of course, she made the time and ten minutes later, I was at Jenny Craig waiting for the first “official” consultation that I’d had in about a year.

I’d felt overwhelmed for the past few weeks, and I needed a plan.

It had been a long time since I had sat in that very seat, in this position.  Used to sitting in the waiting room very proud of what I’d lost, I hadn’t experienced that “I need help” feeling in a long time… and, it brought me to tears.

I don’t think the tears were sad tears, instead tears of relief.  I’d finally asked for help.  I’m finally leaning on the support system I’d used in the past, and I felt confident that I could get a handle on what had been going on.

After an amazing pep talk with Maria, I walked away with a week’s worth of food, a plan, and piece of mind that I would lose that weight I’ve been haunted by for the past six months.

Jenny Craig Foods | No Thanks to Cake

I shared with you guys that I’d gained back about 15 pounds in the second half of 2103.  Since then, I’ve been trying to eat better… and workout more… but in reality, I haven’t been consistent.

For me, the best way for me to lose weight is to actively participate in a program.  I’m not one of those girls that can eat on program one day, and off program the next… my body likes consistency and with consistency, I find peace.

Jumping back on program with the Jenny Craig program has been amazing!  I was able to slide right back into my comfortable place on this program, dining on some of my favorite Jenny meals.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m eating well.. and dining on quite a few beautiful meals!

Jenny Craig Food | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve been leaning on my volumizing strategies, following a food plan daily, and I feel amazing!  I’ll be weighing in for the first time with Maria later today.  I’ve scheduled to visit with her on Mondays after work.  Looking forward to seeing that scale start to move!!!

Sometimes we just have to pause.  Sometimes we need to re-assess.  And, sometimes we need to go back to what we know works.  I’m back.

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Over the years, I’ve come up with quite the collection of Jenny Craig Volumizing Recipes.  Click the image below to see the full list of creations and to try some new favorites!

Jenny Craig Volumizing Recipes | No Thanks to Cake

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Reality Check {or that Post I Didn’t Want to Write}

Since I began writing here at No Thanks to Cake, I’ve always committed to being honest with you guys.

I share what’s really going on.  I post what I really eat.  I only review products that I really love.

The other thing I do… is that I use this blog as an outlet for what I’m feeling.  Rather than turning to food to smother what’s going on, I try to write about it.  In most cases, a blog post for me can be very freeing.  I’m hopeful that what I share with you today will do exactly that.

Three years ago, I began a journey to lose 91 lbs, and I’m not there yet.

Before-After | No Thanks to Cake

And, in the past few months, my weight has been slowly creeping up on me… which has inspired this post.

Here’s my confession:  I’m up 15 lbs.  Yes, I just typed that.  On the computer.  On my “weight loss” blog.  I’m up 15 lbs.

In light of this weight gain, I desperately needed the holidays.

I needed to be eating biscuits and gravy for breakfast with a side of monkey bread, a big buttery Thanksgiving dinner, and a carb-loaded Italian feast on Christmas Eve.  I needed to eat every bit of it, so that’s exactly what I did.

Monkey Bread | No Thanks to Cake

I ate it without restraint, and without really worrying too much about the calories that were going in.  It’s rare for me to do this, but I’m glad I did.

WHY???

A wise friend told me today that some times the holidays are the best inspiration for healthy living, and I couldn’t agree more.

So… Cheers to the decadent, indulgent, wine-drenched holidays for making it blatantly obvious that I needed a plan.

My weight fluctuates a little bit every day, so I don’t get concerned with 2 lbs, 5 lbs, but when I started to see 10… I got nervous.  Not nervous enough to take action, but still nervous.  When my pants started to feel a little tighter, I knew that it was getting worse, but I still didn’t take action.

What did make me take action was eating holiday indulgences and physically missing the gym over the past week.  The way I feel when I eat unhealthy foods is ridiculous.  I feel sluggish, less motivated, and just lethargic.  Multiply the average unhealthy snack times five days…. I don’t want to feel like that anymore.

I’m desperate for vegetables, and I’m craving time on my yoga mat.

For the first time in 3 years, I will be planning to lose weight in the new year.  I don’t have 91 to lose this year, but I do have a solid 15 that I’d like to lose and never find again.

Also, for the first time, I am working with a life coach who specializes in helping women to adopt healthier relationships with food… I find it to be no coincidence that I have a support team on hand to help me move forward in 2014.

Bottom Line:  It’s time to address it, and that’s exactly what I plan to do in upcoming weeks.  And so the journey continues…

How do you recharge post-holidays?  

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Dining Out: Stopping the Insanity

When I was in Portland last weekend, I had a chance to interact with so many men and women on the same path as me to lose weight and get healthy.  I can’t even begin to tell you how refreshing it is to be around like-minded people and how motivating it can be as well.

The one big message I took away from the conference is that we’re all trying to communicate the reality of weight loss and weight maintenance.  To simply blog about the happy moments and all those non-scale victories… well, it’s not helpful.  The reality is weight loss is tough.  For me, when I’m struggling, it’s never easy to admit it… I like to think that I have things under control, and the last thing I want to do is confess that I’m struggling to the people that grace my presence virtually each day.

That being said, I’m struggling.  There you go… and I’m writing about one way that I’m struggling today.

Let’s go back to Fitbloggin’ – - I won’t even begin to say that the Fitbloggin crew all ate perfectly when we were in Portland.  There were donuts and cocktails and desserts.  Life was happening, and it was a vacation.  If you haven’t thought it, trust me… I know the irony of healthy living/weight loss bloggers indulging like this.  But then again, it happens…

While the Voodoo Doughnuts were delicious, they don’t even come close to being as delicious as the GORGEOUS plate of Beet Green Ravioli that I devoured at Clyde Corner.  So amazing, fresh, and inspiring me to learn to make homemade pasta this year.  YUM!

However, when the vacation ended and once we all got home, it was time to get back to business.  Time to get some nutrients into my body, back to “eating the rainbow”, and time to get back under 1200 calories a day.

As I started to get settled in at home, I quickly found myself getting invited to lunch, to dinner, to happy hour… all sorts of food-related events where that 1200 calorie goal quickly becomes a challenge.

Now, I expect to have days where I go over my desired calorie intake, but to have multiple days in a row that are well over my target just won’t work.  What’s interesting is that for the first year and a half that I was on this weight loss journey, I didn’t really eat out unless it was carefully calculated or Subway.  I wanted so desperately to lose weight that it wasn’t a sacrifice, it was simply another action associated with “the project”.

Now, I want to have dinner with friends.  I want to say yes to the brunch invites.  And, there are times when I want to drink wine like a fish and eat 1200 calories in cheese.

So… How does a girl strike a balance between socializing

and maintaining a healthy lifestyle?  

I truly don’t know the answer to this one, but I continue to test different approaches over time.  Eventually, I’ll find the formula that works successfully for me.  Until then (and until the end of time really), I just need to be conscious.  Here’s why:

Most restaurants have healthy choices, but not always a healthy dish I want to eat.  My number one rule to eating out is to check the menu beforehand, but gosh, sometimes you check it… and there’s still nothing.  Perfect example:  I went to a wine bar on Wednesday and they REALLY didn’t even have one dish that I’d suggest to be healthy.  So, I had a half of a BLT.  Not the best choice, but I had to eat something.

People expect you to want to eat out.  I mean, it’s the American way after all… and, it’s DELICIOUS to eat all those calorie-rich dinners. Sometimes, I think people want you to let loose with them and consider that you’re having fun when you do.  What isn’t always clear to my dining companions is that one meal can really create a snowball effect and that I’ll either be spending excess time on the treadmill to make up for it, or guiltily squeezing into my pants in the days that follow.

There are no cheat days.  For someone who has the weight gain-loss-gain-loss track record that I do, cheat days just don’t fit into my repertoire.  My scale reminded me of this on Friday afternoon, cheat meals don’t serve me well, and they ALWAYS show up on the scale.  Right now, I’m up a few pounds, and if I had to point the finger, I would point it straight at eating out.

So… What do I do?  

It’s not like I can just sit at home and not eat out ever again!

No, I’m not going to become a recluse… but I have to come up with a better strategy that just saying yes every time.

I’m going to say no sometimes.  Not every time, and seriously, friends, please still invite me.  Know that if I say no, it’s all about me…and don’t take it personally.

I plan to offer healthy suggestions on where we’ll dine.  There are hundreds of restaurants out there that I can find something healthy and delicious at everything from fast food, to quick dining, to fine dining… I need to start speaking up more!

Avoid the freebies and extras!  Chips and salsa… we are no longer friends, and that free bread… no thank you!  BTW… I love both of these, but our relationship has ended, albeit abruptly.  Also, if there is talk of appetizers, I don’t need to play in that space… I’ll encourage friends to get the shrimp app, which I won’t go near.

What are your best practices in dining out?  How do you not let all that decadent food crash your diet?

PS… Have you entered my Fitbloggin Swag giveaway??  Great stuff!  Click here to enter!

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