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My Problem Is That I'm Social

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Old 06-28-2010, 11:20 PM   #1
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I have been heavy my entire life.

I lost weight my senior year of high school only to gain it all back (plus some) from drinking tons of beer and eating at 2am with the boys.

Fast forward five years, here I am now, still fat but doing better.

My problem is that I'm (1) 27 years old (2) single (3) very social... all which lead to me going out with friends to restaurants, eating what's in front of me and drinking (I've curved my drinking big time). I don't do it in a binge-like rage, but my thing is that if I don't do those things, I'm not with my friends, yet I'm the only one who's really overweight. My friends are my family since I live states away, which is why friendships are important to me.

They support me in my weight loss and I realize that the best plan for me is to regulate my breakfast, lunch, snacks and most dinners... but still it's not ideal for quick/steady weight loss.

Yes- I'm sure people will offer up ideas such as walking a lake, working out together, doing other athletic stuff together, but honestly, if it doesn't involve a treadmill, weights or other gym machines, chances are I probably won't do them.

Does anyone have this issue?

Am I just making more excuses for myself? Sometimes I wish I knew no one and could focus only on myself.
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:10 AM   #2
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I know this may sound harsh, but yes I think you're just making excuses. I'm a social drinker as well and I've just had to come to terms with when it's worth it and when it's not. As far as restaurants go I have yet to find one that doesn't have an option that fits into my calorie allotment or has something I can split with someone else. And sometimes you have to just say no. Also finding other ways to spend time with your friends that doesn't involve food and alcohol is important as well. You're 27 not 17, so maybe it's time to think about you. That said I can understand your challenges, but you have to want this. 27 was about when this journey began for me, so as you can see it's been a long road, but you can do it.
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:16 AM   #3
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I agree with what ncuneo said. I am 20, single, and extremely social. Last summer I used to go to clubs and dinners pretty much on a weekly basis. However, enough was enough. I loved the quality time with my friends but it's unfair to me if that quality time is detrimental to my health. I slowly started distancing myself from the food- and drink-related outings. I'm still close to all my friends, I just miss out on the dancing and drinking that's all. So it's time you decided whether all this fun is worth the increased risk of a hoard of medical problems.
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:26 AM   #4
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I don't mean to be harsh either, but it is time for you to take control of your life and do what needs to be done to get healthy. You need to make weight loss a high priority in your life so that you won't always have to be "the funny one." You can be the pretty one, if you truly commit yourself. If you don't know how to lose weight, there are a lot of great books to read and you can always come to 3FC for help and motivation. You owe this to yourself.
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:39 AM   #5
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You can also go and just not eat. If your friends are good people--and you seem to think they are--they will be ok with that.

Eat before you go out. Order coffee or a diet coke when they order food. This feels really weird the first couple times, but people get used to it.
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:11 AM   #6
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I can relate to having trouble with social eating. If I'm at a party, forget it. I try to focus more on the conversation than on the food and eat more of the healthier options or only eat a little of the less healthier options. Good for you for reaching out and for curbing your drinking.
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Old 06-29-2010, 05:31 AM   #7
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Tough one. I used to be in a similar position, and I'm really glad we have moved to a city where I know hardly anyone, because that's my easy way out of the dilemma and probably the main reason why I've started only now.

So how often do you go out? Because doing this every night, quite clearly, won't get you anywhere. But if you go out two, three times per week, I think you can eat less (get information about the restaurants beforehand, if possible), have only a beer or two instead of a bunch. What plan are you using for weight loss? Because I found that even wild nights can be worked into calorie counting - it's empty calories without nutrition, but doing that every now and then won't kill you and you can be social with your friends and still lose weight.

You say you've already curbed your drinking - I'm sure you can do the rest, too. You don't have to be a loner spending every night in the gym instead of with your friends. I'm sure there are ways to fit everyone, you just have to find it and decide what you can sacrifice for losing weight and what you can't. Good luck!
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:16 AM   #8
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I agree with cglasscock1 overhead.

There are also plenty of okay options when dining out. Order a dry house salad--or even two of them. Order a piece of grilled chicken or fish--or even a super lean cut of beef.

Really, it does come down to priorities. If you can make friends that like to eat out, I bet you can make friends as fast that are into activities--like gym, or whatever it is you like.

Eat and live for the body you want--not for the one you have.
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:46 AM   #9
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I am single and social too. I usually go out 4-5 nights a week. I was able to lose almost 50 pounds and maintain a lively social life. Here are some suggestions that have worked for me.

1) Eat dinner & exercise BEFORE you see your friends.

I get out of work at 5 & rush home for a healthy dinner & a run before I go out with friends. Often I join my friends at restaurants and bars, have 1 beer and don't eat anything. One friend sometimes pushes me to eat, so I'll have 1 bite of something just for the taste. I tell people that I've had dinner and I'm not hungry.

2) Skip social occasions sometimes.

Sometimes, I'm not in the mood to deal with temptation. So I stay home, exercise and go to bed early.

3) Meet your friends AFTER dinner.

This tip works great for me. I show up late after everyone has eaten and I don't have to deal with the temptation.

4) Develop social activities not centered around eating.

I go out dancing a lot & there is never food there. I might have 2 drinks, but I burn it off dancing. Hiking, art galleries, plays, going to park, shopping, etc are all things not centered around eating.

5) Share food.

I make it a habit to split dessert or appetizers with my friends. It's a great way to try something at a restaurant. Recently, I split a gigantic order of nachos with 4 friends. I ate 3 chips, which were loaded with cheese & sour cream. I ate slowly so I didn't have too many nachos.

6) Incorporate alcohol and restaurants in your food plan. But plan ahead.

When I want to eat out or drink, I plan ahead. I decide what I want to eat and how much. And I stick to it. The hard part is pushing my plate away when I'm done & not eating the plate clean. You can eat half and save the rest for later. Or eat half & not have it wrapped up if it will be too much temptation at home.

I could go on & on, but the bottom line is that you make your eating program your number 1 priority. If being healthy is important for you, you'll find a way to make it work.

Good luck.
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Old 06-29-2010, 03:08 PM   #10
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I'm one of those people who never, ever wants to miss out on an opportunity to have fun. I can't tell you how many times I've told my friends, "I'm not going out tonight, I'm too tired." and then have found myself out on the town a mere couple of hours later.

However, since losing weight, I have had to make adjustments. Now when we got out to eat, I try to order grilled chicken or fish dishes with veggies and skip appetizers, the dreaded bread basket, calorie-laden drinks, and desserts. I also sometimes opt out of eating out with them if I know that we'll be drinking and dancing later. I really have tried to cut back on drinking too, even when going out dancing. Also, whatever you do, GET HOME BEFORE THEY HIT UP THE LATE NIGHT DINERS. The mozerella cheese sticks always win when I end up going with everyone!

I'll also plan for nights out in my eating. For example, this weekend I'm giong to a friend's wedding. I know Saturday night is going to be filled with a nice dinner, wedding cake, a fancy open bar, not to mention all of my friends. I'm definitely not going to hold back too much either. However, I have been making up for it this week and probably will next week, which means, squeezing in extra exercise, not eating out or drinking, and keeping my calorie count lower (within reason). I find by doing this I can enjoy myself without the guilt.

I should also mention that there's no doubt that my weight loss would be faster with the amount of going out that I like to do. However, the weight IS coming off, and for me personally, this is a lifestyle change, so I'm not planning on making changes that I know I won't be able to maintain for the rest of my life.

With that being said, it is possible to still have fun and lose weight at the sametime. However, it does still take some sacrificing, hardwork, and sometimes just biting the bullet and straight out saying "no".
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:30 PM   #11
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I don't think the problem is that you're social - I think the problem is, is that you think that that's the problem.

If you want to be slim, trim, active, fit and healthy you're going to have to re-learn how to handle social situations. Is it easy? Initially, no, it will be difficult, but after a short time when you get some good habits down pat, it will be MUCH easier. You will learn that being social does not equal overfeeding yourself. You will also learn that being slim, trim, active and having really hot clothing is a GREAT way TO socialize.
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Old 06-29-2010, 08:02 PM   #12
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I know for me, personally, all willpower goes out the door after drink number 3 or 4. So I try to keep my number below that and position myself far from the chips and queso. It's definitely do-able to still drink and go out while losing weight, you just have to plan for it in your calories for the day. Want to have a few drinks? Run a few miles. I've taken to doing a tough sprint workout on Sunday afternoon.... this makes me feel like I'm doing something nice for my body after a weekend of being social, and it provides incentive to not drink too much (sprints + hangover = bleggggh). Like you mentioned, none of your friends are terribly overweight and they go out and have fun - you can do it too, just with a little more planning. Good luck!
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Old 06-29-2010, 08:17 PM   #13
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When I was bar hopping and social (motherhood curbed this), I would have:
1-2 diet coke with rum (****, 3-8 on a good night), a grilled chicken burger with all the veggies and NO sauce or condiments, and a side salad with 1 tbsp dressing. That's it. I was actually at my lowest weight (around 110lbs). Calories added up were about 700 (and ate under 1400 calories total for the day). Not the best drink, not the yummiest meal, but it worked. Sometimes you just have to say no. You don't have to say no to going out, but put limits.
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Old 06-29-2010, 08:41 PM   #14
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The problem isn't that you can't go out and be social and still eat sensibly. The problem is that old "lifestyle" issue: they way YOU go out and are social won't work, so you have to change it.

An analogy: most of us go to a food court and only "see" about 3 places. Yeah, there are 15 choices there, but we immediately cross most of them out--not because we hate them or anything, they just aren't what we do. But clearly, SOME people eat at the Greek joint, or the Corndog place, or whatever, because there is a line, but it's just not the sort of thing we do, so we don't even consider it.

Think about your friends. I bet you have some with very different eating patterns than yours. You don't even think about it because that's what they do. It's just who they are, just like what you order is who you are. It seems immovable, unchangeable. But it's not. This is exactly what it means to change your lifestyle.

There was a time when I could look at a menu and tell you exactly what my "health-minded" friends would order. But it was years before it occurred to me that I could order that, too.
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Old 06-29-2010, 09:22 PM   #15
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The most truly sociable people I've ever known are just so easy to get along with & so ready for fun that they make friends everywhere.

Take them to the gym & they start chatting with the people at the desk, or in the ladies room while toweling off their hair afterward. Or, more often, they are the life of the exercise class they're in, the ones that crack up the class, and they're leading people off afterward for a drink or dinner. They are just gifted that way. (Whereas I think I went to my gym keeping my eyes down & focusing on the machine & feeling self-conscious for about three months before I said "hi" to almost anyone.)

I think no matter what routine you work out for your life, you probably have that inherently sociable quality & you will pick up yet another circle of acquaintances from a different sphere in your life.

Unless it's really going out in the particular way that you do that you like -- the places, the food & the drinks -- & if that is so, then yes, it will take some modification of behaviors on your part to be able to do this & also stay on plan. But others upthread have given excellent advice on this.

I just mean to reiterate that exercising or gym-going doesn't mean ruling out any kind of social life. It could simply further expand yours by introducing you to a whole new crowd & new possibilities.
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