Monday, September 6, 2010

Live Your Life!

This long weekend, we ventured out to the Rockies to attend the annual Canmore Highland Games.

To many, this is a time to wear your Scottish pride on your sleeve and catch some of the events such as hammer throw, caber toss, sheep hearding, band competitions etc.

For my group of friends, it has been a long standing tradition to attend the games.... to drink. A lot.

The view from the patio of the Rose and Crown.

I ended up keeping the drinking fairly pretty tame this year (getting too old for this stuff!), but I had fully planned to spend the day drinking, eating, dancing, laughing and drinking some more.

This brings me to a point that I have been meaning to address for a while.

For the past year, many "challenges" to my weight loss goals have surfaced. I've had to plan for birthdays, vacations, going away parties and countless other events throughout the year.

A few tricks which have helped me:

1) Eat before you go.
This one is kind of common sense, but it's much easier to resist a place of nachos if you're full!

2) Don't even try it.
It's also much easier to resist a plate of nachos if  you don't succumb to the "just one bite" mentality. Having one bite only makes you want more.

3) Decide before you go.
Since I usually have some notice before the event, I try to check the menu of the restaurant online to see what healthy choices I can decide on before I even go to the party. This trick is especially helpful because, for me at least, the more time you have to think about a meal, the more you want it!

The fourth step is what I believe to be the most important:

4) Live Your Life
If you really want a cheese burger and fries, have a cheese burger and fries! Nothing will curb a healthy lifestyle faster than feeling deprived. The key is to make a conscious decision to eat something less than healthy, enjoy the heck out of it, and resume your healthy eating habits right away! Spending your time feeling guilty for being "off plan" is contrary to the whole idea of losing weight in the first place.

I don't worry about saturated fat when I'm on vacation in Jamaica. I don't count calories on my birthday. 
The way I see it, if you can't enjoy your life and indulge every so often, then what good is being fit and healthy? 

Of course, this has to be within reason. On my all-inclusive vacation a few months ago, I didn't count calories, but I did make a full lap of the buffet to check out the options before reaching for a plate. I ended up filling up half of my plate with salad most of the time, not because I felt I had to, but because that is what I wanted! That shift of habits in itself has been a great victory of mine over the last year. Even on vacation, I don't usually want the greasy fries, the creamy scalloped potatoes, the too sweet dessert... but if I do, I have it!!


5) Plan Your Indulgences.
Each week, in planning my meals (which I plan to detail further in an upcoming post), I allow for one lunch out and one dinner out per week. It is surprisingly easy to maintain, and makes it easier to pack a lunch on Wednesday when I know that I have plans to Korean food with friends on Friday. Same goes with dinner, if I have an event to attend on the weekend at a nice restaurant, I plan my healthy meals for the week and treat myself on the weekend! It's always nice to have something to look forward to, and it's even more rewarding when the time finally comes!

So this year at the Highland Games, I drank cider, ate fish and chips and a steak sandwich among other less than healthy choices. I don't regret it for a second, but I also can't wait to get back to healthy food!

Just for fun, a before and after... Canmore Highland Games Style!




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