Let’s face it, humans are social animals who love to get together with friends and family, which often includes an overabundance of food and drink.
Some people think that being a good host means persuading their guests to eat and drink as much as possible. As a guest we incorrectly think that being a polite guest is to eat and drink everything that is offered.
Let’s look at how to best deal with these situations that does not interfere with efforts to lose weight. Everyone should be able to enjoy social activities without completely falling off the wagon.
Try these helpful hints:
- If you feel comfortable discussing, let your friends know that you are losing weight, not being anti-social. Good friends respect and encourage your efforts to improve your weight and your health.
- Explain that you have special dietary needs which limit what you can eat. Fish, meat, non-starchy vegetables, and salads are easy to prepare or serve.
- If you are taking a dish, take something that is on your plan. Meat and salad, low carb fruit plate, cheese and cold meat antipasto platter will be enjoyed by all.
- If you’re hosting, prepare loads of salads and non-starchy vegetables along with BBQ meats or cold cuts. Ensure jugs of water with some lemon or lime slices – or soda water if you have a soda-stream (invaluable if you love entertaining).
- Having a meal or snack before you go out keeps temptation at bay.
- Start your meal with a salad, clear soup, prawns or oysters which will act as a natural appetite suppressant.
- Choose carefully, sticking with protein and vegetables or salad. Ask for any dressings (or olive oil) on the side.
- Eat slowly and savour the food, concentrating on the company. It is not impolite if you don’t eat everything so leave food that you should not eat.
- Reduce or replace alcohol with soda water or plain mineral water – use lemon or lime as flavour.
- If they have a dance floor, spend most of your time on it. Alternatively take an after-dinner walk with friends.
Eating out – by planning ahead you may avoid some of the pitfalls:
- Check out the restaurant menu online. This way you can choose if the restaurant is right for you, or pre-plan the meal you will enjoy. Be discreet but firm with any requests.
- Make sure the restaurant serves a la carte so you get a one meal serving, so you can portion control.
- Avoid buffets and smorgasbords, as this promotes eating with your eyes (overeat) and not your stomach.
- Develop your strategy before leaving home. Will you have an entrée, will you have a glass of wine, will you be tempted by dessert? An effective strategy, and implementing it, will mean that you’re more likely to maintain your weight loss progress.
- Have a snack beforehand so you don’t arrive ravenous. This also means it’s much easier to say No to any bread served.
- Do not order foods that are battered, breaded, crispy, crumbed or fried.
- Ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side, as many are high in sugar.
- Order extra steamed vegetables as these will fill you up so you’ll be less inclined to consider ordering dessert.
- Take a toothbrush and toothpaste and brush your teeth after the main course, and you’ll be less inclined to have dessert or another drink.
- Have water in the car to drink on the way home.
It’s just as important to plan your drinks as it is your food:
- Start by asking for water glasses and a jug of iced water.
- It is acceptable to say “I’ll wait and have a wine with dinner”.
- While you are losing weight, you will have far better success if you completely abstain from alcoholic drinks.
- If you drink alcohol, it may affect your dietary control. Just don’t do it.
- If you intend to drink wine, aim to drink one or two glasses of iced water per glass of wine.
- Nobody can top up a full glass, so leave it full!!
- Volunteer to be the non-drinking driver.
Remember that nobody is perfect. While planning for social situations is essential, sometimes the best plans go astray. Should this happen, just accept the mistake, and move on. Don’t dwell on it or feel guilty about it as this often leads to a drop in self-confidence and motivation.
Our coaches can discuss these and more strategies to help you get straight back on plan before allowing one mistake to de-rail your plans.