May 22, 2014

How to Lose Weight if There is a Birthday Party or Event

Doesn't it seem like every time you start a fitness routine or weight loss plan that something comes in and creates a gigantic obstacle for you to overcome which makes it IMPOSSIBLE to succeed?  Life gets in the way every f-ing day!!  There will always be a birthday party, anniversary, congratulations, wedding, baby, bachelorette, holiday, vacation, and, sadly, even funerals to go to.  So WTH do you do?  How can a person ever be successful in losing weight?
The first thing I want to point out is that there will always be an event to attend.  There will never be a shortage of these things so why is it that we place such high value on the food at these events?  Next thing I want to point out is that the event is about celebrating that person, right?  Or that special occasion.  So what is it about the food that we value so much?  Good point.  It is not that we value the food.  It is that the food offered is typically something extra delicious that is not going to help us succeed in losing weight.  By extra delicious, that usually means fat, fat and more fat.

That reminds me of when I broke my arm.  My dad was trying to be helpful and went grocery shopping for my brother and I (my bro and I were roommates at the time).  BTW, he frequently shops at Sam's Club or Costco so he shows up with family size potato chips, cans of chili and a HUGE tub of butter and other shit I did not usually eat.  This shopping story was within a couple of days from when the break occurred.I was already feeling sorry for myself because I could not work out, could not work (I was practicing massage at the time) and could not do a lot of basic stuff on my own.  Believe me, I learned how to do almost everything on my own as I was in a cast and sling for 8 months!!

I was making room in the fridge and as I was spooning out the contents of the old butter to put into the new giant butter; I was wondering what made him think we would eat this crap.  And while I was feeling sorry for myself I started crying, which made me angry that I was so vulnerable and helpless (again, this was before I learned how to do everything on my own with just one hand/arm)  and I said, "this shit is just gonna make me fat!  Fat, Fat FAT!!!"  And each word 'fat' got louder and louder.  My poor dad.  He asked if I wanted him to take it all back - he was just trying to help.

 Point being, I was already in a tough position in reference to life and my fitness and then all this unhealthy crap gets put in front of my face.  We all know this stuff tastes good too which makes it that much more of a struggle and this same concept can be applied at the events we get invited to.  We have to eat, that is a fact but the choices we make determine if our health is on the good side or on the poor side.  We also know that what we eat can lead us to be overweight or maintain our weight.

People are supposed to be strong and healthy at young ages but, unfortunately, the trend with health is going downhill.  A large percentage is because of diet.  Check out these stats that show the most common indicators of death.  Please note that diet and inactivity are leading risk factors for causes of death.  Interesting fact, per the Center For Disease Control, is that the highest percentages of these are in the south, where food is commonly referred to as 'comfort food' and is known for being soooo good but also soooo unhealthy.

The tragedy has led to a lot of family time and neighbors, friends, family and the church have so generously brought food to his mother's house every day.  While my bf and I have been spending a lot of time over there, we are also there for meal time.  You can probably guess where this is going.  There  have been cookies, cakes, cheesy foods, carb-loaded foods and little fruit and veggies.  I am not complaining in the slightest!  I am grateful for this because it means his family does not have to cook but I am saying that this is a great example of a situation where food choices were limited - even more limited than being at a party or other event.

So what do you do?  Make the best of the situation at hand.  Ask yourself:  Is it really necessary to eat what's offered at each and every event?  What will happen with my goals if I do?  Remember, there will be no harm whatsoever if you avoid unhealthy foods.  Matter of fact, you will be doing yourself a favor in the health department and in the waist department!  The first scenario I will talk about is an event other than dinner or lunch where there will still be appetizers, finger foods and snacks.

My suggestions are to eat a salad before you go.  Make it a light salad without starchy veggies (like Edamame, corn or peas) and leave off the cheese and croutons.  Choose a light dressing such as a light vinaigrette and measure out the serving.  In my experience, as a weight loss consultant, people are still going to have a bite or 2 while at an event so it is unrealistic to suggest eating dinner before hand because I found that they were eating dinner and then snacking at the party/event.

Next, drink plenty of water at dinner and keep a water in your hand at the party this way your hands are full and you can do something rather than eat.  Stay out of the kitchen and away from the food table because being near this area can promote mindless munching.  If you must eat, pick a couple small finger foods and do not go back for seconds.  If you are anything like me, you should scope out what you think looks the best which will eliminate the  possibility of eating your couple items and then seeing something that looks SO scrumptious that you HAVE to have it too.

If you are at a dinner or lunch the obvious pointers are eat salad and veggie FIRST and a full glass and a half of water.  Veggies should have little or no dip.  I always forget that fruit has a special dip too but that is so sugary and full of calories that you should not even look at it!  Believe me, after a while of no dip your taste buds will adapt and it will be no biggie but you have to start somewhere.  You will probably be full by the time you have had your salad, water and veggies and may not even want anything more.  If you do (want/need more), take extremely small portions.  Think of fine dining and how itty bitty the servings are but how you are always satisfied in the end.

Sometimes there are no veggie options at all.  If this is the case you will want to have the full glass and a  half of water and then go home.  J/K!!  Again, think fine dining.  Get a small serving of meat and if there is a sauce or cheese try to get a piece with as little sauce and/or cheese as possible.  Pasta, breads, tortillas and other carbohydrate items should be limited.  You are probably asking, what does 'limited' mean?  It is difficult to gauge at a party so I recommend eyeing what looks like a tablespoon or 2 but no more.

Dessert should be avoided but if you cannot resist, there is no shame in asking to have your serving split in half.  If it is preserved just eat half and throw the rest out.  I promise nobody will be mad.  Remember, it is just as wasteful to consume your body does not need as it is to throw it away.  Once you do this a few times people will expect it and will not make any more comments about how you can have a full piece 'just this one time'.  You and I both know it is NEVER just that one time.  It is just one of many since there are many many events in life.

Enjoying life is about enjoying the people and events.  Food should be used as fuel and nothing more.  The hard reality is that food is used as a crutch to help sooth a variety of feelings.  It is the focal point at many events so it makes it difficult to stay on track when trying to lose weight.  Nobody ever said life was easy and food is one of those things we have to work at.  The health risks outweigh the short-term benefits of eating an extra piece of anything just for a few seconds of satisfaction.

What are your favorite tips?

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  1. I needed to read this. Thank you. This is what I struggle with on the weekends. There is always some event to be at. And there is always food involved.

    Great advice. Thank you.

    1. Right! It is always something. I hope this ideas work for you and thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Good post. I think we have all struggled with the 'event' syndrome at one time or another!