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Social Eating

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I have found, over the last couple of months of Sparking, that I'm pretty good at following my eating plan when I have time to pre-plan meals, do a complete shopping, and be home to cook. (That's an accomplishment, all in itself, for rather disorganized me!) But I have also noticed a real issue: how to handle eating properly in a social situation.

Over and over in the past weeks I've run into situations where a friend has invited me over for coffee (which I love), and has made cookies or muffins to go with it ("because I knew you were coming!"). Or a friend or family member is having a birthday or graduation or a cookout, and there is party food, and especially desserts! Or I come home from work tired, and my dear husband says, "Oh, I don't want you to have to cook tonight. Let's just order pizza!" And I find myself giving in to the temptations. To be "polite", "because it's a special occasion", or simply because "I'm too tired to think about healthy eating".

I see that I have a real need to have a plan in place for dealing for these unexpected and unhelpful events! Ways to have a plan in place so that when I arrive home from work too tired to cook, there are already healthy and easily grab-able things to eat. Ways to say to that dear friend or family member, "Thank you so much for thinking of me!", without eating the cookies or muffins, the cake and ice cream, or the barbecue and all the trimmings, too!

I think that just being more aware that I have the CHOICE to say, "No, thank you" can be a real help. And I am finding that the SparkRecipes are a valuable resource for meal and snack planning. Now I just need to work on getting the shopping done regularly, so there are always good choices available to grab when I'm coming in or running out the door . . . .
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AHALTOM 6/14/2013 11:38AM

    I have learned that having a plan is the most important lesson when developing a healthy lifestyle. Don't leave anything up to chance. If you know you're going to attend a cookout or party where there will be unhealthy choices, take it upon yourself to bring the healthy dish that you know you can pile onto your plate along with a small portion of an unhealthy dish that you really enjoy. This way you don't feel guilty. You were conscious about your health and you were able to indulge a bit too. Something else I've learned is that you have to let people know that you're serious about making changes and then stick to it. There's nothing wrong with you politely saying no to a treat or a food that you haven't planned on eating. It may be difficult at first, because you don't want to sound like a food snob or hurt someone's feelings, but will power is just like a muscle and it has to be worked in order to get stronger. Sooner or later the people close to you will catch on and respect your decisions and accommodate to you. Either they will stop tempting you with foods they know you're just not going to eat or they will take the extra step in making a healthier version for you. This concept doesn't work just for friends who like to make cookies, it works for significant others as well. Trust me. My boyfriend loves pizza and the day I left dinner up to him and he brought a huge salad for me and then a veggie pizza just in case I might want some was the day I knew I had made a break through. :) You can do it just stick to you plan.

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KAT321123 6/12/2013 2:59PM

    I think itís all about balance if you can find balance for yourself. As well as prioritizing. If you go to a friendís house for coffee, can you bring a healthy treat to share and have ONE cookie (and make sure to reduce your calories in other ways that day)? Can you let your husband know that you really appreciate him not expecting you to cook after a long day but that youíd rather find another option than pizza (our partners can definitely unintentionally sabotage our efforts)? If youíre going to a birthday party can you eat first and then just have one bite of cake/BBQ/whatever? Moderation can be hard sometimes but itís a great skill to develop.
Youíre right, though Ė social events can be tough. At work we have a potluck occasionally and Iíve taken to not bringing anything and not eating anything (I bring my lunch and eat it before or after the potluck).
As for the prioritizing, sometime it might feel like you want to prioritize ordering pizza some night, having an extra cookie, etc. Personally I think thatís fine Ė this is a lifestyle and I know Iím not going to be able to sustain perfection for the rest of my life. Tonight Iím going to a cupcake event and will probably consume 600 calories in cupcakes. Is that the healthiest choice? Nope. But itís a choice that Iím making and Iím just making sure to eat extra healthy the rest of the day to make up for it.
I realize this stuff isnít ďone size fits allĒ and that my choices may not work for you =) But just giving you my two cents on whatís worked for me!


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NHES220 6/12/2013 1:21PM

    Good for you, I know you want to be polite, but that way you just end up going over your calories and eating the wrong things! I end up doing a lot of slow cooker recipes for those days where my husband is working late or we're going to the gym and I know we won't have time to cook something later.


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