Switching to a new way of eating or sticking to your guns can be stressful during social situations. It took me two years to muster up the courage to not eat what was offered when we went to visit people because I was afraid I was going to offend someone. This wasn’t working too well for me because I’d drive home feeling awful and I knew it had to stop.
Now I plan ahead and with a few tips and tricks it can be a successful evening with no scrapes and scratches AND no upset stomach. You can too rather than sabotage your efforts.
1. Eating out at a restaurant – If you can pick the restaurant pick something that has better options for you. If you’re not sure check out the menu online. If you can’t pick then make sure you can check out the menu first. It makes it so much easier. If not, call the restaurant and tell them that you have dietary restrictions and that you eat a low-fat, whole foods, vegan diet with no added salt. Trust me…if you say it like that you won’t end up with salmon or a veggie lasagne loaded with cream and cheese as a “vegetarian option”. Ask them if this is something they can accommodate and you might even have a very excited chef prepare a fabulous meal for you. If you’re not successful in scoping out the menu before hand then there are options such as salads with no dressing (bring your own or use balsamic vinegar) or a baked potato with no toppings and have steamed veggies. Baked potatoes are great with some salsa or pico de gallo! That’s my standard at Red Lobster along with two orders of steamed broccoli.
2. Potluck – That is the best option because you bring something you like to eat and you can share with others. I like to make something that is zesty and flavourful so people won’t miss the salt and I’m all about the flavour anyway. I like to make Jerk-style black beans and serve it over brown rice. It’s usually a big hit! This is also the best choice because your friends and family can see that you eat tasty food (unless you’re a bad cook…hahahaha)
3. Family or Friend’s house – Ask the hostess what’s on the menu and ask if you can bring something to share. If they love you they’ll respect your wishes but it doesn’t hurt to let them know that you’re afraid to eat too many things that aren’t in line with your current diet because sometimes other people say you might not feel well. Bring along a side dish or a main entree depending on what you discuss with the hostess. If she insists on making something vegetarian for you tell her you appreciate it but don’t want to give her extra work. Again…this may save you from eating processed foods or cheese or eggs if that’s not currently in your diet.
The key is to keep calm and not force what you’re doing down anyone else’s throat or make them feel inadequate because they are all indulging while you’re “being good” or “being strong” or even “being stubborn” depending on who you’re with. If someone brings something for you or insists you taste something they made “just for you” then be very gracious and thank them for thinking of you and caring about you. Don’t make them feel rejected. Taste it if you feel that is better for the relationship and share it with others or take the rest home with you and do what you will.
If you’re at a stage that you do want to indulge and you do want to taste some dessert then you could eat lighter throughout the day. Sometimes I’ll focus on getting all my fruits and veggies in for the day and save space for the extra food. Remember that if you’re not prone to falling off course and can handle the sampling and it truly is a big celebration then that extra bite of a dessert will not ruin everything. I’ve been known to eat salad only for dinner but then having an ice cream for dessert.
Since I don’t preach to others about my choices and their choices I’m usually respected for my own choices as well.
Have fun and don’t fret too much. Love life, eat healthy, exercise and you will lose weight!