Me too! Or, at least, I used to feel this way.
I have worked with hundreds of patients and clients over the years on changing their diet through my acupuncture practice and my online nutrition program (The Only Nutrition Program You’ll Ever Need) and this tends to be a number one concern. And it’s SUCH a valid one!
Eating is one of the main ways that we enjoy our friends, family and community, and it should be an act of connection.
As well as nourishing our bodies, eating should nourish our souls, too.
This is why so many people (me included) feel very strongly about cutting out certain foods or imposing any sort of limitation on their eating habits.
What if I can’t drink wine? What am I going to bring to book club?
If you’re like me, you absolutely LOVE food. When I was little I used to tell my mom that I was pretty sure I came into this world for the sole purpose of enjoying food.
Going out to eat at nice restaurants with my girlfriends or my husband is probably my favorite thing to do in the world. And I never skip dessert or a glass of wine. 🙂
So how do I achieve my health goals while still enjoying my social life?
I’m glad you asked! Here’s how to do it:
1) Plan ahead.
Make a mental note of special events and plan around them. For example, if you have a friend’s birthday celebration, a wedding or shower on your calendar, plan to eat well the week leading up to the special event, thus giving yourself some wiggle room to splurge a little at the event.
I always say, if you can eat healthfully 80-90% of the time, and splurge 10-20% of the time, then you’re doing fantastic! Avoid setting unrealistic expectations of pledging to eat well 100% of the time. We’re all human, and that’s just not gonna happen. 😉
2) Eat before you go.
This is one of the best tricks to avoid over-doing it at social gatherings. If you know there will be tempting, not-good-for-you food or drinks, make sure to have a balanced snack or meal before you go.
By balanced I mean making sure you have a good carb (like fruit, veggies, or whole sprouted grain), good fat (like avocado, olive oil, coconut, nuts or seeds), and good protein (like legumes, lentils, clean meat, or soy). Some good examples of a balanced snack are an apple with almond butter, or carrots and hummus.
Using this meal/snack constructing technique will ensure that your blood sugar will be balanced when you arrive so you won’t be ravenously hungry and you’ll be able to easily make healthier choices at the gathering and eat far less.
3) Remember that those who love you will support you in being healthy.
This is so important. So many of us have a deep-seated fear that changing ourselves will mean losing those who are near and dear to us. Several years ago, I tried an extremely restrictive diet (I eat a much healthier and more varied diet now), and what struck me the most was the reactions I received from my close friends and family.
In some instances, I felt more cared for than ever by certain people in my life who went out of their way to remember and accomodate my eating preferences. I developed an even stronger bond with those friends and family members that is still there today, and it felt great to set an example of the importance of taking care of yourself.
If you liked this post, be sure to sign up for a free content preview of my super popular 28-day, online nutrition program to see if it might be a good fit for you.
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Photo: My wonderful book club last summer when I was very pregnant!