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Old 06-19-2013, 02:59 PM   #1
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Default Controlling myself at parties

I've been on this weight loss path for 6.5 months and am doing well--except for parties. If I were less of a party-goer, then that wouldn't be a big deal, but I give and go to parties--and some of them are weekend-long. We're coming up on one in July that is 4 days long--and I'm in charge of the food for it.

Saturday night we had a party at our house. I didn't track what I ate very well, but I'm sure I had at least 4 or 5 brownies, 4 cookies, a plate of chips with dip, cheese and crackers, and some veggies with hummus--oh and two pieces of cake. In other words, I was pretty much out of control, totally off plan, and sabotaging my blood sugar. (yeah, I'm diabetic--you'd never guess it from how I eat at parties or how I ate before starting calorie counting).

Although I'm responsible for food for the 4 day bash, there are 'standards' for our group events, so there are going to be lots of sweets and chips and things. There will also be meat and cheese and crackers and veggies and dip or hummus. There will be some fresh fruit, depending on what I find available at what price.

Meals will be separate--for this party, at least, we won't be serving meals--just constant food from 4:00 to at least midnight, and I'll be there a huge chunk of that time.

I'm looking for advice--I'm looking for ideas for how I can keep myself in check without feeling overly deprived. I don't need to lose weight during our party vacation week--but I don't want to gain weight, either.

What do you tell yourself when you've got a ton of delicious choices? (I don't do well at buffets either--for the time being, I'm avoiding them.)

At home, I can easily measure and plate my food and eat exactly what I intended to. Put me at a party or a buffet....

HELP! I need a coping strategy that I can make work for myself.
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:47 PM   #2
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Can you do baked chips instead of the regular chips? Sure it'll cost a bit more but they taste BETTER IMO Or have the regular chips for everyon else and one baked chip option. So say you are going to buy three different types of chips, make one baked.

Have salsas in addition to dips, stick with those.

Have a veggie platter as well as a fruit platter. I make these, not only is it cheaper, but it's fresher, everytime I have a party my fruit and veggie platters disappear and the chips are usually leftover.

Making potato salad? Have a bean salad as well and a salad filled with veggies, make a cole slaw that isn't creamy. Some recipes might sub greek yogurt for mayo, etc.

Makin devilled eggs? Greek yogurt instead of mayo- I kid you not nobody notices the difference. Also greek yogurt instead of sour cream for dips if you make them

Really want some brownies? Make sugar free ones! Sub apple sauce instead of oil for your baking.

Basically what I'm trying to say is mix in good choices with the "bad" ones and maybe allow yourself one or two things that you really want out of the ones you are trying to avoid, and focus on the rest. And also if you make everything, the small changes to the food will add up caloriewise.

Also, will there be protein? Bulk up on that as well as the veggies Have chicken breasts in addition to hamburgers and hot dogs.

Usually when I host things the food is pretty much healthy, nobody complains. Most people have eaten so much anyways they don't notice the food is healthier And I'm pretty much always complimented on how good everything tastes
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:15 PM   #3
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Beerab has great advice!

Also, stick to the two bite rule. Allow yourself to sample anything you want, but don't eat a whole serving and don't go back for seconds.

Good luck!
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:31 PM   #4
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My problem mental--I know what I ought to do--but I get into the situation and don't follow through.

"I'll have one brownie", I tell myself--and then go get another one. And another.

I need to "psych" myself up better--and don't know how.
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:50 PM   #5
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What happens in the moment that the switch flips and you go get another? What do you tell yourself? Or is it a wordless compulsion - like you go into an automatic mode and are magnetically drawn?

Whatever it is, really identify it so that you will recognize it as it happens. And make a plan in advance for what you'll do instead (either a script you'll tell yourself, or a planned action - like getting more water, checking on something, starting up a new conversation.)

I've fallen into trance-like "can't stop, just one more" with chips at parties. So I just don't start, anymore. Not even one. Maybe you have to choose to not have even one brownie - so have no brownies. How deprived you feel for it is a mental game, not real. I feel deprived with "can't," not so much with "choose not to." And the disappointed feeling that comes after the loss of control is worse than the "deprivation." The latter is fleeting if you redirect your brain somewhere else.
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Old 06-19-2013, 05:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bethFromDayton View Post
My problem mental--I know what I ought to do--but I get into the situation and don't follow through.

"I'll have one brownie", I tell myself--and then go get another one. And another.

I need to "psych" myself up better--and don't know how.
Yeah, I've been there. I usually tell myself, "Dammit, I don't care. I want it!!" and then I indulge...and then I regret it.

So, what I try to do, beforehand, is think ahead about those feelings of regret. You know that, "If only I didn't eat those..." feeling? Yeah, think hard about how crappy that feels. Pull from the memory of those feelings and use that to stop yourself from eating the bad stuff.

Oh and Beerab, GREAT tips!
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Old 06-19-2013, 05:50 PM   #7
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Or is it a wordless compulsion - like you go into an automatic mode and are magnetically drawn?

Whatever it is, really identify it so that you will recognize it as it happens. And make a plan in advance for what you'll do instead (either a script you'll tell yourself, or a planned action - like getting more water, checking on something, starting up a new conversation.)
It's a wordless compulsion. I just go get it. I don't even stop to tell myself I don't care, or I deserve it, or it's not on plan. I just get it. It's the only time I eat standing up. It's (and buffets) are the only time I get seconds (and thirds..). It's like I turn off my brain.

I need a script. You're right. I need to replace the mindlessness with something else. And I need some backup scripts, because I need to do it for 4 nights in a row.

I know I can break habits--I used to eat like that (candy bars, every cookie, donut, or cake that someone brought in) at work--and I haven't had a sweet snack at work in 6.5 months. I've only had one "unplanned" snack and that was an on-plan item--I got the shakes and needed some additional calories.

This is a big annual event--and I weigh 41 lbs less than I did when I did this last year. 41 lbs. I was hoping it'd be more by now--but 41 lbs is an accomplishment.

Things I've thought of
  • Tape my response cards (a Beck Diet for Life set of written cards) behind the bar so I look at them everytime I go back to replenish something to encourage me to eat less
  • Allow myself to start eating at a set time, or within a set time, but only within that time frame
  • Go cold turkey--don't eat at all in the party suite (this would be very hard and I think it's unlikely to be successful)
  • Buy only sweets with coconut in them (okay, that's a joke)
  • Give my husband and kids (and a few close friends) a phrase they can use if they think I need a reminder of what I'm trying to accomplish
  • Take my blood sugar part way through the evening to get a slap in the face that I could be doing damage to myself
  • Keep reminding myself how badly I want to hit 180 before my nephew's bar mitvah
  • Move away from the food!!!!! (I don't know the room layout yet, so I don't know how easy that will be.)
  • Come up with some phrases that I can keep repeating to myself when I get tempted (any ideas?)
  • Come up with some rules that I can follow (just as I follow "I don't eat unplanned snacks at work. I don't eat sweets at work, ever.") (I only snack at parties for a one hour timeframe? I only eat one of anything at a party? I only eat one item per hour, just as I am used to only drinking one alcoholic drink per hour?)
I really appreciate people weighing in--this is a real danger zone for me--and I need to beat it--just as I beat the mid-morning and mid-afternoon visit to the snack area at work.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:36 PM   #8
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This week is "birthday week" in my family - 5 birthdays all in one week. That's a lot of cake and party food. Here's the strategy that I've been using:
1) eat a filling, healthy dinner before the party (I don't know how feasible this is if your party starts at 4, but you could still pack your own dinner and eat it there). also bring an empty container to pack food in.
2) when everyone else is getting food, serve yourself a plate (try to make healthy choices and create a reasonably-sized, balanced meal)
2.5) resist going back for seconds. if necessary, grab a small dessert plate and fill it with mostly fruit, veggies, or other healthy options, with a few bites of the not-so-healthy options. DO NOT refill this plate.
3) sit down with everyone else and kind of pick at and fuss with the food, but don't eat any. drink lots of water.
4) when everyone else is finishing up eating, pack up the food on your plate into the empty container you brought. keep in mind that things like chips&dip or crackers may not pack well.
5) eat the food for lunch (or dinner) the next day. if you have too much food, you are free to throw away anything you don't really want - no one's watching.

This strategy might be a little too stringent for a party this long, but it may also work really well for you. Parties have long been my nemesis until I realized that it wasn't that I was hungry at all, it was simply opportunistic grazing + large variety of food choices + social pressure + not wanting to "miss out" or not get my share of foods that we don't normally have. For me this is a way to allay those psychological issues WITHOUT binging or breaking my rule of not eating after 6 PM.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:30 PM   #9
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I always take an ATTRACTIVE fruit tray and an INTERESTING vegetable tray. No one at all wants to eat sad wilted anything rolling around on a plate. Put things on kebabs, make things pretty. I have found that even children will chose colorful or cute or well-presented fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, etc over another cookie or brownie. I love a good meat and cheese plate, with some really good olives? And pickled everything...okra, beans, squash, plain ol' pickles. Love it. A big layered salad is also pretty. I you want something sweet, strawberry cake skewers are a nice way to get some cake with some fruit. Check Pinterest for ideas. These things always go over well and you look like a genius because you cut cubes of cake and stuck them on a stick with some berries.

Also, I have had cookies before. I've had brownies. I know what they taste like. I will even have them again some day. Just not at a party when it's too easy to have five because why not? It is easier (for me) to just avoid them altogether than it is to have just one.

Last, I will not be the fat girl stuffing her face with brownies and cookies all weekend. I just won't. My last shred of pride may be small, but it's there and that's my line in the sand. I will not have people look at me and think, well I guess you ARE fat - look at what you're eating.

A lot of my friends and family have become really aware of their health and fitness in the last few years. Dips and things show up at parties but the fit people? Are not eating them. I am little by little inching my way towards fit and I'm following their lead. There has to be more to life than eating.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:54 PM   #10
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I tell myself that I will drink (myself silly) but not eat.

I'm there for the social, not the food. And the beer/wine/liqour helps. It's a lot more fun that the food as well.

But I have to remember that I cannot drink like I could at 281lbs. That's the challenge for me.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:34 AM   #11
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How deprived you feel for it is a mental game, not real. I feel deprived with "can't," not so much with "choose not to." And the disappointed feeling that comes after the loss of control is worse than the "deprivation." The latter is fleeting if you redirect your brain somewhere else.
Very true and an excellent reminder. I also have trouble at parties and buffets. Just had a buffet dinner earlier today, at an upscale Indian restaurant. I didn't do terrible, but not great either. I remember reaching for that third piece of naan bread and thinking something like, "I have to have it because it's hot, it's tasty, it's here and it's free, and who knows when I'll have a similar opportunity again." Really, it's just bread. Thinking aloud here, but maybe it would help me (and you?) to rehearse the mantra "It's just _____" when faced with something tempting.

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Old 06-20-2013, 01:38 AM   #12
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Sometimes I try to psych myself out by telling myself "you can have a brownie tomorrow." That way I'm giving myself permission and don't feel deprived. Then when tomorrow comes I'm usually over it.

I don't know how this would work for 4 days, though.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:56 AM   #13
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My strategy is not think about food, don't look at it either. Think really hard about the conversations you are having and about the people. If you are hosting the event try to make sure that everybody have everything they need. Have a glass of sparkling water or something in your hand. You will get busy with the conversations and you will forget about the food. And whenever you are really hungry your body will tell you. Then proceed to eat, try to fill your plate with protein, some veggies or salad and some fruit or something sweet for dessert. Take some wine if you want. Whenever you are satiated don't think about food again until your body tells you again. Don't look at the food, I really mean that. The more you practice that the easier it will get.

In the same way think about what made you decide not to eat those foods at your workplace anymore and use the same strategy not to eat unplanned food at parties.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:27 AM   #14
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I think all of the above suggestions are good and you can use lots of strategies to get you through it. Have healthy things around that you can go to when you have a craving for something that will set off your blood sugar, use response cards and/or mental rehearsal to prepare yourself for the challenges you'll face and the self-talk that will get you in trouble. Also - is there anyone you trust there to keep you accountable? I would suggest first being clear to yourself about what's acceptable at the party - only you can define what will satisfy you without making you feel deprived. how much is too much? often, when i haven't clearly defined my goals, the wishy washy thinking means one turns into two which turns into "what the ****, i want to enjoy myself."

tell someone you know about your goals, and make a consequence for breaking it, and i would suggest treating yourself to something nice (non-food related) for achieving it. i've found this strategy works the best for me when it comes to really putting my foot down with my diet.

good luck - you can do it!
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:24 PM   #15
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Reading everyone's replies, and re-reading a section of Beck Diet for Life this morning, I had to recognize that I don't want to control myself at parties.

I want to eat whatever I want at parties, eat well the rest of the time, and lose weight. Hmm, I also want to win 17 million dollars in the lottery. I can't have that either.

I think tofulover is right about figuring out what would be acceptable--and sticking to that. And the reason I'm balking at defining what would be acceptable is because I don't wanna! <tantruming 4 year old here>

But I don't have to wanna--I just have to do it. "Wanting to" or "feeling like it" is not essential--I do lots of things I don't want to do. (Is there anyone in the whole world who enjoys cleaning the cat box?)

I need to work on this--I have to find a way to remind myself how much I want to lose weight. That even though I've made progress, I'm not where I want to be, and I need to control myself at parties in order to reach the results I want.

I think I will let myself have one small plate of treat--chips or candy or cookies or whatever--but only one small plate. I can also have one small plate of cheese/crackers/veggies as a late afternoon snack. And that's it. Once I have it, I have to wait until the next day to have another one.

I will make sure that we have a "real" lunch and a "real" dinner of "real" food so that I don't nosh my way through every evening.

I'll have to decide about alcohol. I'm not a huge drinker, but I may let myself have a glass or two of wine (or an alcopop) at least one or two evenings.

But one afternoon snack of food that I normally would eat for an afternoon snack. One small plate of treats each night. That's it.

Pep talk to myself:

I am a person who only has one serving of treats at a party. That's all I have. I am a person who doesn't eat treats all evening. I have my treats and then I'm done for the evening. I am re-defining myself--I am not a person who goes crazy with sweets at a party--I am a person who carefully chooses what she wants, eats that, and stops.

I can do this--I quit snacking at work--my coworkers even know "Beth doesn't eat that at work"--I can control myself at parties, too--I've shown myself that I can be successful at limiting myself.

When I start to get something else, when I blank out my mind so I don't think about getting something else, I will stop and remind myself "You do not get seconds at parties. You are a person who stops after one plate of treats."

And I think I'll copy this and put it on my phone and then print it out on a card and leave it behind the bar. I might even give one to my husband and son so they can hand it to me if it seems I need it.

Thanks everyone--your words and thoughts and support are helping me through this. I know a "plate of treats" should probably be "one treat" but I'm going for improvement and not perfection here!
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