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going to parties/bar while on calorie restriction

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Old 05-29-2013, 09:05 PM   #1
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This is my first post, and I realize this question must come up at least 1/week - so apologies for the redundancy.

I've recently put myself on a 1500 cal/day diet with intense exercise 3 times/day. So far, it's been going well, but this weekend, my friend is throwing a party for his birthday and we've already talked about getting smashed long before I started my diet.

I'm not sure what to do in these party situations, should I: a) eat even less food in anticipation of heavy drinking and eating later, or b) say, ****it, it's only going to be a few times a year, or c) go there and sip one beer for the entire night.

What are your strategies for going to parties while on a restricted calorie diet?
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:15 PM   #2
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As a heavy guy that likes his beer and wine, used to be able to drink a lot (at a heavier weight) but can still pack away a few, I drink beer and wine freely but avoid any food on offer while doing so.

Cocktails need to be handled differently as the mixers can mess you up.

The situation you want to avoid is drinking so that you lose control of what you are eating. That is a bad mix.

So either drink very little if you cannot drink on an empty stomach, or drink on an empty stomach but restrain from eating (i.e. resist the munchies) and avoid cocktails.

In short, I skip dinner and drink beer and wine (sometimes a lot) without noticing any effects on my weight.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:11 PM   #3
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The situation you want to avoid is drinking so that you lose control of what you are eating. That is a bad mix.
Judgements that others will inevitably come in here to make aside about drinking to excess - this is the really key point.
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:13 AM   #4
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Yeah, drinking in excess is something I do very infrequently. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:07 AM   #5
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Line up some low-calorie snacks for afterwards, in case you have the munchies. Pickles, veggies with very low calorie dressing, sugar-free Jell-O, maybe some shrimp with cocktail sauce, hard-boiled eggs, etc.

Stick to drinks under 150 calories each, like light beer, wine, or vodka with low-cal mixers (Bloody Mary mix, sugar-free Tonic, splash of oj.) Ixnay on the frozen drinks, and syrupy drinks like Margaritas.

Good luck, and enjoy!
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:29 AM   #6
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I don't go to parties or bars that often these days, so I just don't worry about calories if I do. One bad evening is not going to make me fat, just like eating well one day is not automatically going to make the scale drop 1 lb.

I am significantly more likely to fall off the wagon if I obsess over what I ate at a party and then go down the "Oh well I'm already over my calories so I should just eat whatever I want again."
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:33 AM   #7
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Well I'm a massive lightweight these days, but when I go out for birthdays, I eat normally and only have 2-3 beers, max. I don't really worry about the calories, since I drink so infrequently.
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:14 AM   #8
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Here's a great article by Lyle McDonald that is sort of in the same vein as this topic... has some great tips on what to do before/after/during parties and such when you are on a diet: "10 tips to deal with holiday weight gain"
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:34 AM   #9
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My strategy is b). As you say, if these events are few and far between, no damage done. It's when they happen in quick succession (see my "need strategic advice" thread) that you need a game plan.

I used strategy b) throughout my 50-pound weight loss and didn't run into any trouble. I think letting loose occasionally is healthy (and perhaps even necessary) if you're in this for the long haul.

I know everyone's different, but strategy a) never works for me. If I don't have enough fuel in my system I get too hungry and end up eating twice as much at an event. (That's also why intermittent fasting wouldn't work for me. Some people seem to get less hungry when they don't eat for a while, but with me it's the opposite.) I guess you have to know yourself and strategize accordingly.

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Old 05-30-2013, 09:51 AM   #10
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Just wanted to add air-popped popcorn and lite Babybel and Laughing Cow cheeses to the low-calorie, post-drinking, munchy list! ;-)
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:38 AM   #11
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Like Ian, I do like my alcohol. It's pretty much figured into my day as stands, but if I'm going to a BBQ or party, I avoid eating the food and prefer to drink. My drinks are usually vodka with club soda and lime, but I do love champagne
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:43 AM   #12
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Like Ian, I do like my alcohol. It's pretty much figured into my day as stands, but if I'm going to a BBQ or party, I avoid eating the food and prefer to drink. My drinks are usually vodka with club soda and lime, but I do love champagne
I don't drink, I only eat. if we go together, can we cancel each other out/
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:25 AM   #13
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I don't drink, I only eat. if we go together, can we cancel each other out/
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:52 PM   #14
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I'd go with choice b. You've gotta think about how alcohol affects you personally though. Will you be able to get smashed without it triggering you to fall off your diet afterwards?

Beer has about 200 calories, so even if you have a lot, say 6, you're only looking at about 1200 calories. It takes 3500 excess calories to gain a pound of fat. So if this is something you do only rarely, you're not going to put on weight from it. Plus you're balancing that drinking out with fewer calories than usual for you.

I put on weight from drinking over last semester. Normally, I had one or two beers a week, but last semester I consistently had 4 more a week than that. So that was an extra 3200 calories a month, coupled with a decrease in my exercise. And I put on about a pound a month, as the math would say.
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:45 PM   #15
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I have switched to drinking (bourbon) shots because it saves me a lot of calories over drinking mixed drinks or beer. Bourbon is 70 calories per shot and I only need 3 to get a good buzz on for the night. I know that's not everyone's cup of tea though.

If I were in your position I would fill up on healthy foods before you get there, that way after you have some drinks you may be less inclined to gorge on party foods. But I also wouldn't worry too much about it. It's not like you are doing this every Friday and Saturday night.
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