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Old 05-25-2013, 07:00 AM   #1
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Hi all,

I've been having a bit of a struggle with maintenance lately, because of all the temptations in my recent schedule (vacations, parties, fancy business events, etc.).

Over the next few weeks I have 10 pharma advisory board meetings to attend, 9 of them at fancy restaurants in the evening. At these evening meetings we're given a menu and can order whatever we want. I generally get the kind of unique gourmet fare I most enjoy (e.g., cornbread-crusted calamari, gnocchi with lobster cream sauce) plus bread, fancy appetizer and dessert, wine and specialty coffee. If it's just once in a while I can handle the indulgence without gaining, but with 2 events per week for 5 straight weeks I could do some serious damage if I'm not careful.

When I look over these fancy menus, my thought process usually runs along the lines of: "This is my only opportunity to try X or Y, so I can't pass it up." I clearly need a different mindset and some guidelines to keep me in check. My goal is to make it to July 1 without overindulging at any of these dinners (while not starving myself either). Any thoughts about how I might approach it? Have any of you successfully dealt with similar temptations?

TIA Freelance
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:03 AM   #2
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I would be very tempted, too, for the same reasons you mention. "It's my only chance!"

This is where I would (or should) pull out my old CBT techniques from the Beck book. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it, but I know you've been active at 3FC for a while, as well as being well-read, so my guess is that you have at least a passing familiarity with her concepts of behavior modification.

In this particular case, I would make my decision on food before I went to the restaurant. I would write it down on a card. I would rehearse the order in the car on the way over to the restaurant. I would (if possible) tell someone else in my party what my order was going to be. I would mentally frame my order in terms of health and well-being, ie, "I deserve to eat this healthy food because my body runs better on good fuel."

After I successfully navigated the restaurant evening, I would congratulate myself and celebrate my good choices.

I'm not sure if you've seen, but in some of the maintainers' threads lately we've been talking about the habituation of our behavior. I'm working on this myself - changing my habit when certain circumstances have led to overeating. Can you approach it this way? You have had a habit of overeating at restaurants, but now you're building a different habit in a logical, rational way.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:29 AM   #3
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Do you know what type of restaurants they will be? Maybe that will help you.

Like, myself, if one was a Mexican style, that would be my "all out meal" and would stick to steaks/salads/veggies/potatoes at the other meals. That would work for me, because I love steak, but you could sub out grilled chicken or fish/seafood.

Could you tell yourself you can have appetizer OR dessert at each one? Instead of both at all?

I would also see if you can call/go up to the restaurants and look at the menus. Maybe one of the places will have your FAVORITE, and the other menus just OK stuff. Then you could balance it out for the week.

Or just plan a high week, throw in extra exercise, and make sure and have a low week next week with extra exercise, then go back to "normal"?
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:50 AM   #4
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Skip dessert. Avoid the bread. Ditch the specialty coffee. Go for a light appetizer and as balanced main meal as you can get. Reward yourself with lots of wine and the fine company. That's what I do. Eating out should not be a chore but a win-win, both to stay OP and have fun.

Hardcore options would also include playing around with your breakfast and lunch. Go small with these in anticipation of the evening meal.

I am going to a Brazilian meat restaurant with colleagues later this week. Should be challenge working on that one!
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:07 AM   #5
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Are the meetings/meals at the same restaurant every time so you know where and what is on the menu, have a feel for portion size, etc.?

I agree with Ian to skip the bread and dessert, eat light for breakfast and lunch. Then I'd maybe plan on a good splurge menu choice for the last dinner so you won't feel deprived when you are choosing healthier meals for the first 4 1/2 weeks.

I wish you a lot of luck. Eating out stresses me out as I feel I have no control (even though really I do, it's more mental I guess).
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:23 AM   #6
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I am sort of facing similar although different maintenance challenges during this time period of the month before the 4th of July. My strategy is to make a big deal of it to myself & create one of my holiday based, fantasy laced challenges as I used to do with specific scale goals & to cheer myself on because it really IS a big deal in my life to make it through challenging periods without gaining significant weight.

My only suggestion for the restaurant meal days is to frankly make a plan, research ahead of time & track everything ahead of time but leave one wildcard, a certain number of calories or whatever by which you can deviate but which you will not exceed.

To be honest, I'd skip the idea of a splurge for this period of time & tell myself to get out of the mentality (not meaning you are in it, I mean I would be in it) that I should not let myself feel deprived.

Then I'd buy new little capris pants every week & remind myself how hard I have worked in the last two decades to look as good as I do in little capris pants.

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Old 05-25-2013, 10:40 AM   #7
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I can see how this would be an issue as I know you enjoy fine food.

I have had issues this week due to multiple dinner engagements. I have been white knuckling all the way through.

I would try a few things. Tell your self that you WILL be able to have XYZ again if you choose to put it off for the next engagement. I would personally calorie cycle on the low end for every meal until all of your dinners have been completed. Concentrate on power foods for the other meals for everyday.

For your special dining concentrate on proteins and veggies. Eliminate the bread, pasta and fancy cream sauces. Limit dessert to maybe one a week or one for two weeks. Same with wine and apps. Order special coffee without creams.

Bottom line: You can't have it all so frequently so try and figure out how to limit other caleries through out your months time and choose healthy and delicious gourmet food while you are dinning.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:46 AM   #8
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Sort of an intermittent fasting thing... the day after you eat the big meals you fast for a while... maybe skipping breakfast the next day.

Alternatively prior to going to these events... load up on low calorie fare. Such as salad... low calorie shake... so when you arrive even if you mind says *eat it* you won't be as hungry and have as much.
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:48 AM   #9
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That's a tough one, because I too would love to try new meals you don't always have an opportunity to taste. The key, as you well know, is to plan in advance and sound like you are given a menu in advance so you can absolutely make a plan, and stick to it!

Here's what I would do: for each dinner, I would pick one thing I absolutely WANT to try. And I would scarifice the rest of yummies for the night. One night it might be the main meal, I would get something delicious, but have salad for apetizer and skip dessert. Next night, I would want to try an amazing dessert, so I would have no apetizer and the lightest possible main meal. Balance is the key...and just while I am typing this, I'm really jealous, I want to go a fancy restaurant, aaaah!!!!
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:58 AM   #10
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Lots of good suggestions so far, but I understand your quandary and your desire to taste things that are new and you don't have very often.

The only thing I can add is to have a focal point for each meal. For example, at one meal you will have whatever appetizer you want, but stick on plan as much as possible for the rest of the meal. At the next one, focus on the entrée. One can be dessert. That way you still get a treat at each meal without doing incredible damage to your maintenance efforts.

I really admire that you are looking at this ahead of time and seeking advice. It would be hard for me not to be in binge mentality.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:32 PM   #11
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freelance, boy, I both would and wouldn't want to be in your shoes the next few weeks. I tend to have a "to-h***-with-it" attitude when it comes to fine dining (which isn't a good thing since during the summer, I go out to a fine restaurant once a week). You've gotten some great suggestions so far, so my post may be just reinforcing some of these ideas, but this is what I would do:

- I would see if the menus are published online (even the fancy restaurants usually do this now). I would examine it closely and pick the one item on that menu that I feel I must try. That is not to say that I would skip the appetizer or the dessert (just being honest here), but I might have a salad as an appetizer and some sorbet as dessert if I chose to eat a fattening entree. I would skip the bread (unless it was really special bread, in which case I would have one piece).

--I would definitely cycle my calories to save some for those nights. Eating lighter the day of those dinners might work, but it also could backfire, making you so hungry by the time you get to the restaurant that you succumb to temptation. So, I would say to eat normally the day of, but the next day, cut back on your calories.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JenMusic View Post
I would be very tempted, too, for the same reasons you mention. "It's my only chance!"

This is where I would (or should) pull out my old CBT techniques from the Beck book. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it, but I know you've been active at 3FC for a while, as well as being well-read, so my guess is that you have at least a passing familiarity with her concepts of behavior modification.

In this particular case, I would make my decision on food before I went to the restaurant. I would write it down on a card. I would rehearse the order in the car on the way over to the restaurant. I would (if possible) tell someone else in my party what my order was going to be. I would mentally frame my order in terms of health and well-being, ie, "I deserve to eat this healthy food because my body runs better on good fuel."

After I successfully navigated the restaurant evening, I would congratulate myself and celebrate my good choices.

I'm not sure if you've seen, but in some of the maintainers' threads lately we've been talking about the habituation of our behavior. I'm working on this myself - changing my habit when certain circumstances have led to overeating. Can you approach it this way? You have had a habit of overeating at restaurants, but now you're building a different habit in a logical, rational way.
Love every piece of your advice, Jen. Maybe that's what I'll print on an index card!

F.
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanG View Post
Skip dessert. Avoid the bread. Ditch the specialty coffee. Go for a light appetizer and as balanced main meal as you can get. Reward yourself with lots of wine and the fine company. That's what I do. Eating out should not be a chore but a win-win, both to stay OP and have fun.

Hardcore options would also include playing around with your breakfast and lunch. Go small with these in anticipation of the evening meal.

I am going to a Brazilian meat restaurant with colleagues later this week. Should be challenge working on that one!
I agree with the first part of your advice. I'm thinking of aiming for either light soup or salad as appetizer and fish + veggies for the main course, plus one glass of wine. (Unlike you I haven't mastered the art of drinking liberally and eating moderately at the same time.)

I also don't do well with restricting my intake to prepare for an indulgence. I end up too hungry and my willpower goes out the window.

F.
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:36 PM   #14
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Here's what I would do: for each dinner, I would pick one thing I absolutely WANT to try. And I would scarifice the rest of yummies for the night. One night it might be the main meal, I would get something delicious, but have salad for apetizer and skip dessert. Next night, I would want to try an amazing dessert, so I would have no apetizer and the lightest possible main meal.
That's a great idea in principle, but I fear I could still do a lot of damage with a small salad (300 cals), dessert of choice (1,000 cals), coffee (50 cals) and wine (150 cals), repeated 10 times. Telling myself I can only eat half the dessert (or appetizer or whatever) would not do it for me.

I think I'll have to change my mindset for the next few weeks. As my 5'7", 115-lb willowy 16-year-old daughter suggested, I can remind myself that it's "just food" and that by missing out on item X or Y I'm not depriving myself of a transformative experience.

Freelance
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freelancemomma View Post
I agree with the first part of your advice. I'm thinking of aiming for either light soup or salad as appetizer and fish + veggies for the main course, plus one glass of wine. (Unlike you I haven't mastered the art of drinking liberally and eating moderately at the same time.)

I also don't do well with restricting my intake to prepare for an indulgence. I end up too hungry and my willpower goes out the window.

F.
A million times, yes!!! I am a moderate drinker at most, but even one glass of wine has me throwing all caution to the wind with food intake. This is an ongoing struggle for me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by freelancemomma View Post
That's a great idea in principle, but I fear I could still do a lot of damage with a small salad (300 cals), dessert of choice (1,000 cals), coffee (50 cals) and wine (150 cals), repeated 10 times. Telling myself I can only eat half the dessert (or appetizer or whatever) would not do it for me.

I think I'll have to change my mindset for the next few weeks. As my 5'7", 115-lb willowy 16-year-old daughter suggested, I can remind myself that it's "just food" and that by missing out on item X or Y I'm not depriving myself of a transformative experience.

Freelance
I'd like to meet your daughter and have her jam some good sense into my brain. I have never been able to understand or believe this, but I'm working on faking it until I do.
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