Offices constantly celebrates birthdays, promotions, and retirements. Weekends are filled with weddings, birthday parties, and other special events. Eating out? At least a few times a week because schedules are so busy. How can you know when you should stay on track and when you should indulge?
Everyone has to decide what works best for them, but here are the guidelines I set for myself.
- Free food is rarely worth it. This goes for potlucks, work parties, and free donuts at church. Do you really want that mystery casserole or that buttercream icing that really contains no butter at all? We often indulge because we don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings, but putting unnecessary things in our body to maybe spare someone’s feelings isn’t enough of a reason to abandon our goals.
- Enjoy the local fare. When I travel, I stay on track as much as possible, but take one meal a day to enjoy the local fare. When I’m in New Orleans, I’m definitely going to indulge in some great Cajun food. But I eat the same quantity of food I would usually eat, and just make sure I slow down and savor every bite. The next meal, I’m right back on track. (I also make sure I’m getting plenty of activity, whether it’s a workout or just extra steps.)
- Make your food selections before consuming alcohol. A beer or three can make goals out the window and we make unwise choices (and not just about food!) 😉 So before you start drinking, decide what you’re going to eat and stick with it.
- Choose your faves. When attending a party or family gathering where the spread looks stunning and you just want to eat everything, step back and consider which foods are must-haves and which ones really won’t be missed. Be sure to fill up on veggies, if possible, to minimize the damage.
- Drink water first! I try to never indulge on an empty stomach. If I can’t eat a small healthy meal first, I’ll at least drink a large glass of water so I don’t feel famished.
Overall, you have to decide what works best for you. Make informed decisions instead of reacting in the moment and eating things you really don’t love and regretting it later. YOU are in charge of your body and your decisions. Choose wisely! Make decisions that make the future you proud.