I would love to say that when it comes to enjoying a special occasion… for me, it’s all about the social experience. I can’t. I’m ashamed to admit that I like to involve food and drink in a big way. Whether I’m planning a night in or a night out in celebration, the thought of what we’ll be eating or drinking is usually near the top of the list when it comes to preparation (and excitement). Here standeth a foodie.
If you’re following a weight loss plan or trying to achieve a change in lifestyle, we can often view special occasions as the perfect excuse to let our hair down and overindulge.
Is this really such a problem?
I honestly believe that there is NO problem in occasionally taking your eye off the ball, and whilst I should be telling you how you can swap your chips for boiled potatoes, burgers for steamed fish, and your high-sugar cocktails for a gin and slimline tonic… I won’t. Put it this way, if you’re coming to my dinner party whilst dieting AND you’re on pudding duty. Don’t even think of bringing a fruit salad in lieu of a tiramisu, I’d mess you up.
The reason I won’t explain how you can be so wonderfully virtuous? Well… I can’t, because it’s not what I would do and if I did? I’d spend the evening with a look of pure resentment on my face as I watch my husband shovel steak cut chips into his mouth.
I love food. I always will love food, and who doesn’t love the occasional feast on the less-than-healthy stuff? I love Weight Watchers precisely because it doesn’t stop me eating what I want. It just reminds me (constantly) to keep myself in check, and that’s what I need more than anything.
I’m the sort of dieter who can sense a downhill spiral at a hundred paces. I know that if I let myself go a bit silly on a Thursday night (our movie night), the chances are that my willpower will be weakened on a Friday evening too. This is just the way that my brain likes to play games with my belly and I’m certain that some of you will recognise my words in yourselves.
Does this mean that I don’t feel any guilt about a splurge? (I won’t call it a binge, because it’s not that epic!) Of course I feel guilty at times but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to pile on the self-sabotage with cherries on top. This is nothing to do with hunger management, and everything to do with whatever issues give me the potential to live my life at a weight that is double that of what is considered healthy. There ain’t no weight-loss plan in the world that will fix that overnight.
So, how do I use Weight Watchers in this situation?
1. I’m a planner, which is probably one of the reasons WW works for me… and I like to go into situations with my eyes wide open. If I’m going out for a meal, I’ll usually have a nosey online at the restaurant’s menu beforehand. Infact, that’s something I do regardless of whether or not I’m “dieting”. What can I say? The anticipation of a great meal is a thrill for me *embarrassed face*. I use the Propoints Calculator on my iPhone app to work out the points of anything I can’t easily find in the Weight Watchers database and I calculate the Propoints of my chosen meal.
Usually, just by taking that step… I find myself genuinely wanting to swap an unhealthy side for something a little lower in points purely because it doesn’t seem worth it. But I don’t put myself under any pressure to do this… and I’ll honestly only do this if I love the “healthier” version. An example of this would be swapping out a meat-based starter for something like mushroom bruschetta. I LOVE mushrooms and doing this is genuinely, no hardship to me. Don’t think I’m being angelic… I’ll often justify an on-the-spot “oh go on then” pudding moment because I’ve made a couple of swaps earlier in the meal.
2. Well, you already know that I’m not on the exercise wagon as firmly as I should be… but this week, in pure anticipation of stuffing my face on Valentine’s evening… I’m upping the stakes. It’s a challenge and for someone like me, let’s face it, the best reward is an extra scoop (ok, 2) of Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche on Thursday night. Because the Propoints system makes the exercise/food ratio so tangible… I know precisely how many Propoints of exercise I want to earn this week and what I need to do to achieve it.
Whether or not this will actually make a difference on the scales next week, I don’t know. But you know what? I don’t actually care. It helps me retain control and alleviate any guilty pangs, ‘cos those are the things that are really unhealthy to my willpower.
What approach do you take when special occasions threaten your steely-eyed determination to lose weight?
* I am a Weight Watchers blog ambassador and my links to their website are affiliated. I have received no payment for this post.