So my diet is totally awesome. I cook veggies, whole grains, low-fat meats, fish… all in just a bit of olive oil or low-sodium chicken broth, or grilled dry. I don’t generally cook processed pre-packaged foods, I don’t fry stuff, I don’t sit on my couch and plow through bags of potato chips or gallons of ice cream. I basically just cook healthy stuff. So – why am I not in ridiculous shape?
Oh. Going out to dinner. Going out to lunch. The random delicious treats that sit around the office. Holiday parties. Birthday parties. Bachelorette parties. And of course, my favorite, the impromptu oh-my-goodness-there-is-a-crazy-special-and-they-have-88-cent-margaritas-and-8-cent-beers-at-some-dive-bar-down-in-the-Village parties.
Unfortunately, these special occurrences happen a lot more frequently than I would like. Basically, Monday through Thursday I am great – the paragon of health. Friday hits, and all of a sudden all the dinners and drinks (and the corresponding hors d’oeuvres and late night pizza) cause me to be WAY over my calories for the day. Sometimes way over for more than a day. At a company dinner a few weeks ago when I was running the bar tab, I managed to more than double my calories for the day. (Somehow, free alcohol tastes better than buying your own drinks… so I drank a lot more).
It’s a struggle, it really is. I’ve looked into tips for how to avoid this, and I’ve come up with the following unhelpful list.
1 – Eat before you go out. Well, for some people that might work. For me, it means I eat before I go out… and then I eat again when I go out. I think I’m better off not doing this one.
2 – Bring your own food (like a salad) to the event. This suggestion was brought to me by the lovely nutritionist our company hires to give monthly conference calls about how to stay healthy. Everyone on the call was very concerned about our upcoming holiday party, and her advice was to just bring our own salads and eat those. She claims to do this.
Now, maybe I am just not as dedicated as I should be, but… seriously? So when waiters are passing around trays of spring rolls and chicken satay and mini cheesecakes and creme brulee and cookies and brownies and tarts and oh my goodness every imaginable dessert I could ever want… I’m supposed to whip out my Tupperware and say, “thanks, I just need a fork”? Does anyone do this? (And by anyone, I mean all two of you who read this blog so far)
Update: According to FitSugar, some people apparently DO use this technique (though the post focuses on small house parties, not corporate parties). However, if you scroll down to the comments, my favorite is the person who says, “Someone brought a veggie platter all pretty and set out with dip for our company holiday gift exchange and NO ONE touched it!” Yeah, and they probably caused a riot for taking up the space where the mini cheese quiches were supposed to go.
3 – Alternate water with every alcoholic drink. Now, I drink a lot of water. I don’t touch soda, I rarely drink juice, I drink milk once a day or so (don’t worry, I get my calcium from other places), and I chug water all day long. I know water is the best thing to quench my thirst. But you know what? When I’m at a party, I’m not drinking because I’m thirsty. I’m drinking because I want to get drunk. Water inhibits that process, forcing me to consume more calories of alcohol just to get to the same place I would have been without the water. No, thank you.
4 – Only indulge in dishes that are stupendously good. Without sounding superior (I hope), my company tends to get some pretty awesome catering and pretty awesome venues for dinners and parties. ALL of it is stupendously good. All of it is also stuff that I could never in a million years make myself (meaning make healthy), and most of the restaurants are ones I probably could not afford if I were to take myself out to dinner. Scratch that suggestion.
5 – Don’t eat while you’re talking with other people. Now, this is just silly. Don’t talk to people at a social event? Or don’t eat the whole time? Maybe I’m supposed to get my food and go stand in the corner to eat it. But what about business dinners, when you’re supposed to eat and talk – what do I do then? I think I can declare this tip a complete failure.
Actually, I think I’ll just declare myself a holiday dieting failure.