Let me tell you about Michael. Michael was a chubby man. He lost 12 pounds over the last 6 weeks. He was excited about the progress he made, even though he still was far from his goal. He attributes his success to following primarily a plant-based diet, having only meat and dairy about 5 days per month. He began to get a little worried when two friends in town on business wanted to take him to a private dinner party at a restaurant one Saturday evening before Christmas. Michael wondered where they would be eating and what would be served. He was afraid that all his progress would be blown by one night of fun and adventure, particularly knowing that his friends were ravenous eaters and who didn’t know the meaning of moderation when it came to food.
To combat his dilemma, Michael, decided to have a light and healthy meal at home prior to meeting his friends. He hoped that doing so would fill him up. He figured that if he was hungry when he went out, he might be tempted to order too much or order all the wrong things. He had planned to keep it light at the restaurant and only get a soup and salad and maybe some other vegetable and absolutely no alcohol.
At dinner, things were much better than he thought they would be. Michael was proud of himself, ordering a cup of vegetable-barley soup and a garden salad as the appetizer, and an order of whole grain pasta with marinara sauce with a side of steamed broccoli. He had viewed the menu online beforehand, so he knew what exactly what he would order when he got there. He was resilient to his friends’ gluttonous eating while kidding him about his healthful eating. He even had half a slice of pound cake for dessert that he shared with one of his friends. One friend chimed in, “Who eats half a slice? It’s already small as it is,” as the man reeled in the other members of the group to kid Michael. But Michael merely smiled and shrugged his shoulders. He realized that the jokes (some people might even consider them insults) from his dinner companions just rolled off his back, and he went home feeling ecstatic that he didn’t overdo it. He also figured that his companions probably felt guilty about their own eating habits, and that guilt manifested itself by poking fun at Michael. But he didn’t let it deter him, and his success that night was further motivation for him to keep on target and stay with his healthful lifestyle.
While this story about Michael is fictional, it illustrates the problem many dieters often face. We all want to hang out with friends and family when we can, but unless they also eat the way that we do, it can be a challenge socializing with them. Furthermore, it doesn’t help if they say mean things. Even though their comments are meant as a joke, the meanness still hurts just the same. Try to let it roll off your back.
The next time you’re in this situation, think of Michael. Have a light snack before going out to dinner, think and plan ahead what you may order when you go out, and let the ribbing from others fly right over your head. Finally, if you do fall off a little bit, eating a little too much of the wrong things, that’s okay. One night of culinary pleasure won’t derail all of your progress. Get back on the wagon after dinner. Rather than feel bad about yourself, make up for it by doing some extra crunches or staying with the treadmill a little longer. Life’s too short to stress about it.
“Just Do It!”