You want to enjoy life. You want to enjoy doing the things you love. Spending time with friends, family, watching sports, celebrating birthdays, graduations, engagements, stopping for lunch after a great hike, going to festivals, brunches, and parties, all involve eating, and drinking too. And in the attempt to get healthy, you feel dread as these events approach, wondering if there will be healthy options, if you’ll have fun while everyone else is eating the creamy spinach dip in the bread bowl while you munch on a boring celery stick. You end up feeling like more of an outcast, when you really just want to fit in.
Taking the joy out of eating can take the joy out of living, since it has become an integral part of every celebration, special occasion and quite simply, daily life. Good thing you don’t have to choose between the two. If indulging in party food is what you want, then enjoying it in moderation is always an option within a healthy lifestyle. But what if you don’t want to? Real food, is the healthiest food, so as long as you stick to that, you won’t be breaking that “diet.” You may be wondering what you can do in situations where “real food” is not available. I have some solutions below.
If you can host get togethers with friends and family you can control the food. Yes, your family may insist on chips and dip, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to mix the dip packet with sour cream. Find healthy, whole and fresh food alternatives without the additives and have other options for chips like, vegetables or baked chips from plantains, potatoes, beets or carrots. It is a great opportunity to show your friends and family that eating healthy is exciting and delicious.
Now, if you cannot host all parties, because who really can? Offer to bring your favorites, and “healthify” them. This way, you don’t being a vegetable platter while your favorites are sitting on the table beside it. There are endless healthy versions of party staples all over Pinterest. Instead of revamping old favorites, it can be fun to try new and exciting recipes that may become new favorites. It can be empowering to share healthy and delicious food with your family and friends, leading by example.
This one is tricky and something most people struggle with. A no-fail approach doesn’t exist. I won’t lie, it simply takes self control. It is difficult to watch your friends eat whatever they want and not gain a pound, but regardless, you want to feel better, whether for that beach body, health, wellbeing or all of the above. You can choose the avoidance route. No, you don’t have to avoid hanging out with friends. Avoid going to places with absolutely no tasty, healthy options or avoid going out to a restaurant and suggest something else, like hanging out at a park or beach, going for a hike, checking out a museum, exhibit or an event of interest in your area. Enjoy a life experience with people you have fun with, where food is secondary, rather than sitting at the bar for hours.
It can also be helpful to separate food and emotions, which is not easy and takes some time. You can practice this by doing something productive when bored hunger sets in, or when feeling sad. Choosing health and happiness promoting foods is also helpful. The more it is practiced the easier it becomes until the two no long depend on each other.
I’d love to know what ways you’ve found to enjoy eating while living or obstacles you’ve faced so please share them below!