It’s that time of the year where most of society is wrapped up in over-indulgence and parties abound. Excessive drinking and eating is a feature of our world’s celebration and reward system.
At the onset, the key question for me is does one have to stuff oneself in order to have fun? If your current frame of reference says yes then you are going to have a tougher time in these environments. You will feel sorely left out.
Over time, I’ve learned to be able to attend all sorts of different celebrations and functions without drinking or stuffing myself with bad foods that do not serve me.
Sometimes I do join in but the choice is mine and it’s not the norm.
If you want to live a healthy life why is this scenario any different to the resolve and commitment you might have when standing in the sweets aisle at Woolies or at the business lounge at the airport? It’s another day in your life. Another day to pursue vitality. It’s simply a shift of scenery and context.
My secret at functions is to blend in and stay under the radar. I do this by not making a huge fuss. I admit in the early days I was more smug about not “eating shit” and it put me in the limelight. You don’t want that 😉
If you do get detected there is no doubt going to be a friend or stranger who will test your resolve by teasing or ridiculing you for your choices. Someone will make snide remarks and jibes to imply there is something not normal about you.
People with a weak untrained resolve give in at this point. Don’t. You are stronger than that. It’s nobodies business what you eat or drink and they aren’t the ones who have to live with the consequences.
Every time you say no you get stronger. Like a muscle you exercise it will get stronger.
I recall once ending up at Cafe Caprice, a popular cocktail bar in Camps Bay. A friend of mine was friendly with a local Night club owner from Ireland who had a reputation for making people drink. I was in a 30 day REBOOT and when he discovered this he made it a mission to try get me to drink some tequila shots… He gathered about 20 people around.. Many of them pretty ladies. He got everyone to balance their tequila on the back of their hand… And wait until I would drink… I kid you not.. This lasted for about 30mins which felt like an eternity. Everyone focussed on me and were chanting for me to drink. They said it all… I heard it all. I did not drink.
Now I doubt you will have it that bad but the lesson is that you shouldn’t ever let anyone force you to do anything you do not want to. Your life, your choices.
It’s as bad if you are the polite type. It is not an insult to decline food or drink. Be polite, don’t make a big deal and if you must come up with an excuse. A white lie if you will… “I’m recovering from an infection, on some meds and doc said no alcohol” … Use your imagination.
My best survival tips I personally use are:
– Never attend a function or party on an empty stomach if you anticipate the food selection will be problematic. It is much more difficult to say no to tempting foods when you are hungry. I always try eat a quick nutritious meal before based with some good protein and fat to keep you satiated.
I’ve even done this before a dinner party.
– Always have snacks on you. A little portion of biltong or nuts is easy to carry and is a perfect snack to fill the gap and give your body some of what it needs. Nuts are dangerous in that you can have too many… A handful or 2 is enough.
– Find out in advance if you can what the food options are going to be. If you cannot find out assume they will be bad.
– Pick the Lesser of evils. If you are famished and have no snacks on you food is a good idea. Be smart. Go for proteins and fats over carbs because they will be bad carbs like pastries, Sausage rolls, bread etc. If there is some meat or veggies and salad eat it. Sounds terrible, but I once picked the salmon out of some salmon rolls at a buffet and scraped off the mayo 🙂 not pretty but it worked! If you really want something not on your plan have a very small portion.,. One spring roll is fine, six dipped in sweet chilli sauce is not.
– Drink Sparkling water with lemon in a tall or wine glass. It will look more like a drink and it’s more fun then normal water. The bubbles/gas make it feel special 🙂 Say you are the designated driver. Whatever you have to do. Say you’re on a detox. Whatever. Drinking alcohol will make you more likely to stuff yourself at the buffet trough. You don’t need alcohol to enjoy yourself. I promise.
Despite everything I’ve said I think it’s alright to pick the odd occasion where you might let your hair down and relax. I’m very strategic about how I select those. Usually they are events meaningful to me. A client’s end of year function is not a special occasion for me, but an end year celebration with family might be. The key is to be selective. For example if you celebrate there is no problem if you want to go off plan on Christmas Day if the rest of the month has been clean and focused. The real key is to not let the entire end of year period become a write-off.
This all leads back to a central issue. Something I have battled with and still sometimes do. The fact that we believe fun/relaxation/reward is associated to food and drink. That’s a cultural and learned behavior.
Overcome that in your mind and you will be set free.