Here are some tips for mindful eating at parties and special occasions where it is easy to have a little bit of everything. You can have it all; just not all at once.
Mindful Eating At Parties
Today I’d like to revisit a topic I first wrote about five years ago: The Boxed Lunch, Or You Can’t Have It All. I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept of mindful eating at special occasions (or everyday occasions!) lately as I find myself once again mindlessly (that’s the key word!) partaking in all of the courses – apps, drinks, a big dinner, dessert. Because it is normal. Because everyone else is doing it. Because I’m a grown up and it’s fun to partake.
I previously wrote:
IF YOU DON’T PAY ATTENTION, IT’S EASY TO OVEREAT SIMPLY BECAUSE IT’S THE DEFAULT.
It hadn’t occurred to me that one should choose which of those foods and drinks to have on a special occasion. As an adult, I figured everyone was supposed to have little of everything.
This was my healthy tipping point and the start of the path to reaching a normal, healthy weight over a year later. It was the start of more mindful eating.
What my aunt said is true: if you do have appetizers, the bread basket, a few cocktails, a rich entrée and dessert, you’re absolutely going to eat more than your body needs in one evening.
I think everyone should regularly overeat.
It’s part of enjoying life. But “regularly” is dependent on the squiggly line effect. And what defines a special occasion? What happens if “regularly” is every weekend? Twice a week? Every night? I am thankful to have great friends who throw lots of parties. I have the opportunity to overindulge quite often and that is a privilege. But if we’re being honest, it means that every other night can’t be a special occasion.
I’m still up a little bit of weight since having Birch. And per the squiggly line, I need my downs to happen more than my ups if I want that to change. Lately I’ve felt like there have been a lot of ups, even on weeknights at home. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have at least something small for dessert. Lunch dessert has become a thing. I look for any reason to celebrate, and that often involves food and drink.
You can have it all; just not all at once
I have long thought about my own diet that my weight goes up and down not because of what I’m eating for my three meals but based on what I’m adding to those meals. My meals are generally pretty balanced, nutrient dense, and consistent. But my snacks, drinks, desserts, apps, etc. is what tends to fluctuate depending on what’s going on and what habits I am in at home. Weeks when I don’t snack much or have any good desserts in the house feel very healthy and vice versa.
So my goal over the next few months is to focus on the extras. Everything that goes in between meals, on top of meals, and after meals. I need to learn to say “no thank you” to extras that I’m not totally craving and choose some – but not all – to fully enjoy.