It seems like there is always something to celebrate. Whether it is the holidays, a birthday, anniversary or summer time gatherings, people come together with food and drinks. When surrounded by sweet treats, fried foods, sugary beverages, chips and dip, it is hard to say no. No one wants to be the one to not engage in all the yummy food, especially when others say " oh you're dieting again?" or " Come on, it won't kill you to have some" blah blah blah. You don't have to be on a diet to say no to certain foods- if they don't help you meet your goals, they don't make you feel good, if it is not a real food. You may choose to eat a certain way that is different than someone else, and that is OKAY! No two people are the same and what works for someone, may not work for another.
This may lead some people to throw in the towel and say forget it " I'll start on Monday". Am I right? We have all said that, I know I have! But then on Monday it is harder than ever to get back on track. Follow these 10 tips to avoid the urge to let it all go, stay on track and still enjoy yourself.
1. Bring Something You Enjoy
This is one of my favorite tips. If you're contributing a food or beverage to a party, make it something you know you will eat! This is a surefire way to know there will be something you want to eat. Chances are there is always someone else who enjoys snacking on something healthy too! This also allows you to introduce your new healthy recipe to your friends and family! The more people are exposed to healthy choices, the more likely they are to eat it.
2. Don't Go Hungry
I know this one is used alot and you're probably sick of hearing it. But it works! Have a small, filling meal before you leave the house. This way you will feel satisfied when you arrive at your event and not feel the cravings hit you like a bus when you see all the food. This is kind of like the "don't go to the grocery store when your hungry" thing. When you feel hungry, you are more likely to binge and eat more than you normal would.
3. Mindset is Everything
Have a positive mindset going into the party or event. If you tell yourself " I am going to make smart choices that are right for me and allow me to stick or my goals" rather than " This sucks, there are no healthy foods, I'll just start on Monday" the chances are your going to enjoy yourself more. Be happy and confident about eating foods that make you feel good, and leaving ones behind that don't.
4. Stick to Your Guns
This goes along with tip number 3. Peer pressure seems to surround parties and events. Don't let other's opinions and actions persuade yours. Be proud of the choices your making and you don't owe anyone an explanation.
For example, I feel the pressure to drink alcohol on certain occasions with friends and family. Sometimes I do and I enjoy myself, other times I don't want to. This is when I tell myself that other's actions will not change if I have a drink. There is no benefit to me drinking if I don't want to. The person pressuring me does not feel the buzz- I do. They also do not feel the hangover that I don't want to have the next day. Just remember this is about you, not other people.
5. Enjoy Yourself
Let yourself live a little! Food is our fuel yes, but it is also to be enjoyed. If you go into a party depriving yourself, it is likely that you are going to think about the food you wan't, but "can't have" all night. For example, if you know you're going to grandma's house for a holiday and she makes your favorite dessert one time a year- eat it and enjoy it!
6. Abstainer or Moderator?
I am the kind of person that if I dig in to a pint of ice cream, its game over. The whole thing will be gone. I am an abstainer. I would rather have none of something, than just a few bites. Now that I know this, through a lot of trial and error, I am okay with it. There are times when I will let myself do this, but other times, I steer clear. If this sounds like you, then you may want to stay away from the foods that make you want to go overboard.
Or are you the moderator? You are able to have a handful of chips and walk away without thinking about the rest of the bag. Having a few bites brings you hapiness and satisfaction. If this sounds more like you, more power to ya!
Finding out if your an abstainer or modorater is so helpful when you find yourself craving something. Find out which one you are and accept it.
7. Don't Punish Yourself the Next Day
I know so many times people are in the frame of mind that if they splurge one night they need to make up for it the next day. That sets you up for failure almost always! Just jump right back on the horse. Forget about your 'slip up' and move on! Forgive yourself and chalk it up to 'it happens' Go about your day is if you normally would and eat the foods that are nutrient dense and your body loves!
8. Leave When You're Ready
If your not a party person or night owl, leave when YOU are ready. Don't feel the pressure to stay to impress others or feel obligated. The party isn't over, there is always next time! Enjoy yourself and spending time with loved ones, but honor your values and say goodbye when needed. Staying on track is more that just with food. This means sleep, self care and well being. I am a creature of habit and no matter if it is a week day or weekend I still like to come home at the end of the day and enjoy my nightly routine. It makes me happy to come home after a long day, do my skincare regimen, have a cup of herbal tea, wind down and feel ready and refreshed for the next day. Don't get me wrong, I love a good night out with friends but I still try to make time for what will make me feel good the next day!
9. The Buddy System
It's always nice to have someone to go through the process with! Talk to a friend and see if they want to join forces with you and reach your goals together while still having fun. You may just inspire someone to incorporate healthy habits into their life too!
It will take many trial and errors to find out how you navigate the party scene while staying healthy, Learn to say no thank you. There is nothing wrong with you not wanting to have something that someone is offering. Every time you go to a gathering or party you can try new tactics and see what works best for you! Soon you will feel confident making smart choices and staying on track with your nutrition and health goals.