The Best Intentions
How many times have you started out for the evening with the intention of staying on your program only to succumb to the party atmosphere in the restaurant and order too much food? Almost everyone has dealt with this. It’s not just you. Why do we allow other people to make or break our health for us? Those choices that you make on the spur of the moment in social situations are critical..
In 15 studies that were reviewed in 2013 it was indicated that we tend to behave in the manner that we believe to be acceptable or normal. If we associate with unhealthy people who possess unhealthy habits, we will pick up those poor habits. Strangely enough, the behavior continues when we are alone, not only with those people. While we are not going to abandon Aunt Sally whose trying to push her latest bakery concoction on us, we can avoid some people and situations that are bad for us. I once had a “frienemy” who openly stated that she could not tolerate me being smaller than her and left home-baked goodies on my doorstep frequently. I did gain weight, but when I realized what was happening, I lost the weight along with about 250 pounds of ugly fat, the “frienemy”.
Many of foods that we tend to binge on are high carbohydrate and tend to boost our serotonin which is a party neurotransmitter. Many anti-depressants build serotonin, so when we binge on these foods, we are self-medicating.
Sugar lights up dopamine receptors all over the brain so when we have finished the high carb pizza and pasta and go for the chocolate cake that was meant for the table to share… we are boosting serotonin and dopamine. These foods are activating the same circuits as cocaine. They are addictive, and we crave them almost all the time if we make a habit of eating them. When one rush wears off, we will look for the hit again. When we continue this behavior, our health will suffer from excess carbohydrate, sodium, sugar and overall caloric intake.
1- How to Navigate Social Situations
When we eat out, we need to set the pace of the evening. Don’t let others who have bad habits take control. It’s all about choices. Make good ones.
1- PLAN I found out years ago that I could make much better choices if I was not blind-sided by the Menu. Nowadays it’s easier than ever to Google a restaurant and peruse the Menu beforehand. You will not be affected by the choices of those around you. Decide what you will order and as soon as the waiter shows up at your table, tell him that you know what you want and order. You have set the mood for the meal uninfluenced by the poor choices of those around you.
2- ORDER BETTER While you may not be able to prevent the bread basket or the tortilla chips from coming to the table, you can order your own healthy appetizer. Order some fresh veggies, such as celery sticks to go with a healthy dip choice. While others are stuffing their faces with high-carb bread and tortilla chips, you can be filling up on healthy foods.
3-AVOID cream based soups, creamy dressings, au gratin, crispy, battered, golden (it usually means fried), tempura, smothered, fritters, crunchy and en croute. En croute is wrapped in pastry!
4- TAKE CONTROL When you order, tell the waiter to bring half of your entree to the table and put half of it in a go-box or just order off of the appetizer menu if you can order small quantities.
5-SNACK The absolute worst thing that you can do is go all day without eating so that you can eat a lot when you go out. I have known many people who do this. This applies to eating with relatives at their homes or yours. Always eat well during the day and have a healthy snack before you go.
6-AVOID “ALL YOU CAN EAT” This is a no-brainer. You know better.
7- DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES Drink water. Avoid alcohol if at all possible. If you are determined to drink alcohol, order small without added sugar based mixers. Don’t drink “sweet tea”. I’m from the South and I witness this abomination frequently. Just don’t.
8- FOCUS If you have a favorite dish that you just can’t do without, have it. Have ONLY that, no bread basket, no tortilla chips, no alcohol, no dessert. Get what you came for, eat it and enjoy. Just because you are not eating at home, you don’t have a license to eat everything in the house. Get one thing that you love and focus on that.
So, what do you do if you go overboard despite your best intentions? Remember, it’s one meal. Take it in stride and go on. Before you go to bed , be sure to hydrate with water. Be as active as you possibly can be for the rest of the day and the next day. Avoid anymore excess carbs and sugar and excess sodium. In a day or so, you can mitigate the effects of one meal if you get back on your program quickly
Consider Your Associates
While we are not likely to ditch family, there are some people in our lives that are toxic. Surround yourself with health-minded individuals who will inspire you and help you live a healthy lifestyle. Check in with us at David’s Way frequently. We post almost daily and have great tools here to help you along your way. If you have not downloaded the Calorie Counter, do so today. We are always available to answer questions and encourage comments. We will both get back to you and you have the unique advantage of a male and a female perspective here at David’s Way.