When you’re making the long, hard haul to your goal weight, everything feels challenging and time-consuming. Even when taking an Adipex alternative, change can be an exhausting and overwhelming process on every level: physically, mentally, and socially. Changing multiple facets of your behavior naturally leeches over into other parts of your life, and you find that- in order to reach and maintain your goal weight- certain things have to give.
All too often, the social constructs involving food were, in part, what predicted weight gain. Social events, unhealthy workplaces, and unhealthy modeling of friends and family members can all play a role in weight gain. It’s not uncommon for someone going through a weight loss journey to shy away from social events involving food-especially ones they feel they can’t take part in, lest they “revert” to previous, unhealthy habits.
As you creep closer and closer to your goal weight and your rate of weight loss begins to slow, you find that you have more time on your hands: you’re now accustomed to the diet and/or exercise patterns that allowed you to achieve weight loss thus far, and you’re ready for a new challenge: learning the tools necessary to maintain your goal weight.
Knowing how to navigate social occasions is at the top of that list: it’s hard enough to lose weight and keep it off alone- how do you do while engaging in the problematic events that might have gotten you to your not-so-happy weight place to begin with (hello holiday food fest)?
Finding a new normal-again
Naturally, in the course of weight loss and maintenance, there are certain events that must be attended: weddings, graduations, birthday parties. However, other events- girls nights out, happy hours, invitations with friends and neighbors- often get put to the side in an effort to focus on building a healthier lifestyle.
While this separation occurs- at least in part- naturally, it’s important that- at some point- those events reintegrate themselves into your life. Holidays and social events are enjoyable and food-oriented occasions, and learning how to manage those events and occasions becomes an important tool for long-term maintenance.
As you reach closer to your goal weight, it’s important to break from routine a little bit (notice we said a little bit here, we’re not going whole hog, folks), in order to learn how to manage social events and occasions involving food. This can include more regular restaurant dining, nights out with friends, eating with friends and family members, holiday and seasonal occasions, barbecues, and other “uncontrolled” food environments.
So how do you manage food choices in an environment where you’re not accounting for every last ingredient?
First, always pay attention to portion size and options. You shouldn’t eat more than necessary to sate your hunger, regardless of whether you’re eating inside or outside of the home.
Next, turn your attention to your options: what looks most tempting, and what’s healthiest? If you’re at a potluck, family dinner, or other event or occasion where the food is free and you can help yourself to a bit of everything, fill half of your plate with salad or cut veggies, and at least ¼ lean protein. Leave the remaining ¼ of your plate for a small portion of 1-2 items you might not typically select since having begun your weight loss journey. Moderate portion size, and learn to eat “off plan” while controlling the amount-rather than the type- of food.
If you’re dining at a restaurant, decide before what parameters you’ll be setting. Realistically, most meals out cannot include a drink, an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert in the realm of weight maintenance. While a special occasion (such as a birthday or anniversary) allows for more wiggle room, you should aim to stick with an entree and a noncaloric beverage nine out of ten dining occasions.