Our society is food-centric. Almost every celebration involves food of some kind. Even the simplest wedding typically has a cake, some type of beverage, and the ever-present Jordan almonds or mints. If you are dieting, navigating celebration foods can be maddening. What are you to do? Stop going to celebrations because there may be food there? Definitely not. You can attend celebrations, navigate the food options successfully, and still lose weight.
There is nothing wrong with having food at celebrations. Sharing a meal with others helps you connect on a different level than just standing around chatting. In fact, the tradition of having food at celebrations goes back to ancient times. Hieroglyphics found in Egypt show gatherings of people around tables filled with food—most likely a celebration or ceremony of some kind.
What can be difficult is when you have celebration after celebration to attend and find yourself constantly confronted with a smorgasbord of tasty delights that tempt you away from your weight loss plan.
Although some weight loss gurus say to skip celebration foods completely, that’s not realistic for most people. Sure you can do that if you rarely have events to attend where tempting foods are laid out for you to enjoy. But if you regularly have weddings, baby showers, retirement celebrations, bar mitzvahs, or office parties to attend, you can’t always skip the food.
It’s just not practical.
The key to celebrating with food without gaining weight is developing the art of mindful eating.
Think back to the last party or celebration you attended. If you watched the people there, you may have noticed that many of them were eating and talking at the same time, standing around the food table sampling this and that, not really paying attention to how much or what they were eating.
That’s the exact opposite of mindful eating.
When you are at a celebration where food is present, you’ve got to get into the mindful eating zone to avoid the pitfalls and calorie traps sitting in plain view.
Here’s how you can get into that zone when faced with a shower, wedding, or any other celebratory event.
1. Know Yourself
Know your weaknesses when it comes to food. My weakness is chocolate. I’ve got to watch myself closely around chocolate goodies at parties because chocolate is a temptation for me.
If you know what foods you swoon over, then you can also know to avoid or severely limit those foods when at celebrations.
2. Detach Yourself
It can be exciting to see all the fabulous foods laid out at an event. Detach yourself from the excitement and emotion of the event and objectively look at the foods.
3. Choose Deliberately
Choose the foods you will eat deliberately and mindfully. Because you have taken the emotion out of the choices, choose based on what you like and what fits into your weight loss plan.
4. Savor Flavors and Textures
Whatever you eat, enjoy it. Savor the flavors and textures of each food. Eat slowly, taking care to concentrate on the act of eating rather than socializing. You will enjoy each bite more fully and avoid the tendency to overeat.
5. Remember Tomorrow Is Coming
Lastly, remember that after the event is over, you have to deal with the consequences of your actions. Being mindful of your choices at the party helps ensure tomorrow will be another great day for weight loss and not one filled with regrets over eating too much.