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?