It’s a beautiful day here in the northeast and many of us are continuing the celebration of Labor Day by grilling, going to the beach (or as we in New Jersey say, “down the shore”), going to an amusement park, attending end of summer parties or any number of reasons to eat. Many people also go into this weekend considering it their last hurrah before they clean up their eating and buckle down to more sensible food consumption.
I think buckling down is a very good idea but healthy eating isn’t something that should only be done when there isn’t a reason to celebrate. We can always find an excuse for a party, whether it’s an annual holiday, a birthday, a wedding, a funeral, someone is visiting, someone is leaving, whatever the occasion. If we need to gorge ourselves every time we find ourselves gathering with other people to acknowledge something, we will remain very unhealthy.
Aren’t these occasions for being with those you care about and enjoy spending time with? If you are around my family, all of these occasions except maybe the weddings and funerals, have the same foods whenever we celebrate them. We have certain traditional dishes we always have for a particular day. If that’s the case in your life, why do you need to eat those things at unhealthy levels? After a few bites of something, even something you really love, the law of diminishing returns comes into play. The value or benefit of eating that food reduces with each successive bite, so why not just have a little taste of it and move on? If it’s a trigger food for you, consider leaving it behind and live with the memory of how it tasted.
Rather than focusing on the food all around you, consider going around the group and chatting with everyone. Introduce yourself to someone you haven’t met before and get to know them better. Help the host pf the party if it isn’t you. You get to move around and you’ll be too busy to eat a lot. Don’t just plant yourself in front of the nachos, get a plate of veggies and nibble on them.
I went to a party yesterday that had so much delicious looking food that it was almost overwhelming. I was able to find something that fit my needs and I was quite content to eat my grilled salmon and veggies. It was delicious. I spent my time at the party laughing with friends and having a great time.
If you like to drink when you get together with friends, do so sparingly. Alcohol can cloud your judgment and hamper your inhibitions. Stay away from sugary mixers and even diet soda and use water instead. If you’re drinking wine, make a spritzer by mixing the wine with sparkling water. I haven’t had alcohol except for a sip of champagne at some weddings I have attended, in almost ten years. If you’re concerned about people commenting on your abstinence from alcohol, get some sparkling water with a twist and they’ll think it’s gin and tonic. I think more people are being careful about alcohol consumption these days so there isn’t as much pressure to drink. Even if there is pressure to drink, stand up for yourself. You’re the one who has to live with the consequences, not the person looking for a drinking buddy.
You can have a good time at a party or anywhere without going completely off the rails with your eating and drinking. And even if you do fall off, get right back on when the party’s over. Don’t let one day turn into one week, month, or forever. Stop the trend before it starts. You’ll be glad you did. You’ll never regret your recovery but you will very likely regret your downward slide.
Happy Labor Day weekend!