Nancypat nailed it...it may be a work in progress, but find what works for you. I prepped for Super Bowl Sunday for a week! I like to look at things on a weekly level anyways. At parties I first fill my plate up with salad...usually there's healthy options out there.
I have also found that I've made some new friendships with people who are physically fit and watch what they eat. They inspire me. I'm not saying to change your friends but you might be at a point in your life where you'll need certain kinds of people in your life.
Almost everyone shares this problem with you. There are tons of different approaches. YOU need to sort through them and see what you think MIGHT work for you. My favorite is to PLAN for the occasion and fit in some treats that I love and then enjoy what I have decided to have. Before the occasion, I cut back a little for a few meals and then if I really overdid it, I eat at the LOW end of my calorie range for the next couple of days. I also choose my FAVORITE treats and don't ever waste my calories by eating things I don't LOVE when they are high cal, high fat, or high carb foods. So, when you go out for Mexican food, pick a couple of I WANT THIS MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE items and enjoy those. Others exercise more before and then again the next few days to make up the calorie excess. When drinking, alternating between water and the alcoholic drinks lets you reduce the effect but also the calories by 50%. Some people just say that Fridays (or special occasion days) don't count and accept that it may slow their weight loss but knowing they can survive even if it goes a bit slower. Others stick to their plans and just don't eat the stuff they don't think fits. Whatever you choose, PLAN for it (and really a plan that you don't stick to is STILL better than no plan at all). Whatever choices you DO make, don't beat yourself up. Whatever you choose to eat, ENJOY it. Finally, my last bit of advice is to love yourself enough to keep trying to figure it out and MAKE YOUR PLAN FIT INTO THE REALITIES OF YOUR LIFE and not the other way around. In the long run you need to find something that works because you will face these type challenges for the rest of your life. Good luck, have fun, don't beat yourself up, and DO HAVE FUN.
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Use these special occasions as an opportunity to have rich conversations and connect with friends. You only need one bite of anything to know all about the taste, texture etc. Practice taking small bites and challenge yourself to be the very slowest eater. You can take a camera to get candid shots of the event. This will be a reason to do something fun that is not eating. You can celebrate without over eating... it just takes deciding that is what you will do. Do not give up socializing if you don't want to. Even free food has a big price/cost.
I've poked around on a few of the message boards, and haven't found anything that quite relates to what I think is my problem.
I love to exercise, and I am a great meal planner. I love to cook and on Sunday evenings love to sit down with my lists, cookbooks, and browse the internet for healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes.
Where I run into problems is with social engagements. For example, this week my department at work hosted a pizza party, my sister had a birthday dinner at PF Changs, and my coworkers decided to order in sandwiches from a place I've been dying to try for months. In each situation, I felt like it was a "special occasion" so it was ok to indulge. Also, it's really hard to turn down free food. And I also don't like to be that person who's at the pizza party, but eating carrots.
Tonight I'm going over to a girlfriends house to drink wine and watch movies, and tomorrow I'm going to two birthday parties back to back, one of which is centered around going to Mexico for giant burritos.
I feel like the only way I can control not eating what I'm not supposed to at these occasions is to not go, but then I feel like I'm depriving myself of having a social life, which is not a life change that I want to make at all.
How do you balance a full social calendar that revolves around going out to eat and drink and manage to stick to your diet plan?