SOCIAL FUNCTIONSLook at you go. You're on a path. You're preparing your food ahead of time, eating right, finding time for exercising, and losing weight. Jeans that haven't fit in years look great on you. You are starting to feel more in control in all aspects of your life. This is good stuff. This is so worth all of the effort you're putting into this change. Slowly but surely, you're convincing yourself that your goal is attainable. Then on Friday afternoon at work, a co worker says, "You're coming to Bob's going away party at the bar after work, right?"
In my personal opinion, this is where losing weight becomes the hardest. There is a significant amount of vulnerability that comes with choosing to make a change. It means you've admitted you aren't where you want to be, have made mistakes, and are taking the necessary steps to better yourself. It also means you've likely had moments where you were embarrassed in clothes that didn't really fit, while out shopping and needed a larger size, or have seen a picture of yourself which left you appalled. You're far from feeling secure in your own body. No one wants to feel left out, so how do you incorporate social functions?
Everyone wants you to come to whatever the social function may be, but you're completely stressed about what to do. There's no way they "get it." It always seems that everyone else can eat what they want and not suffer the repercussions. At this insecure time in your life, the last thing you want is everyone watching what you eat. Are you supposed to spend the rest of your life eating fish and asparagus at home? Are you strong enough to go out and not nibble on the fried appetizers and have a few drinks? Will you ever be able to do this again? Panic sets in. You don't want to miss everything, but you don't want to undo all of your progress, either.
In my opinion, the best way to handle this situation is to remind yourself of the point of the event: socialization. You're going out to say good-bye to Bob. You can, in fact, say good-bye to Bob without mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, vodka, or beer. You can ask him all about his new job. You can smile and take a picture of yourself with Bob. You can wish him luck. You can do all of these things without a thousand extra calories.
What I do when I'm headed out for something where I know the expectation will be that I eat off plan, is to eat on plan before I go. This helps me in a few ways. One, I mentally know I've already had the food I'm supposed to have. Two, I'm not starving and thus tempted to eat a bunch of junk. I also say aloud to myself the reasons I'm doing this in the first place. No, really, I do that. I also remind myself of how little time it takes to undo a week's worth of progress. I can down some french fries in a few minutes, but it will take me a week or more to create the caloric deficit required to "undo" the damage from a few minutes of eating. That may not be fair, but it is the truth. No, over exercising the next day doesn't do the trick. Trust me, I've tried that one many times.
There will be times when you will go off plan. There will be times it was worth it, and times you will regret it. To me, the times that are worth it are when I essentially plan to be off plan - holiday dinners, etc. I refuse to pull out my Tupperware container at Thanksgiving. (I feel it is worth mentioning, though, that Thanksgiving is a meal and not a three day binge.) There will be times I just lose self control and eat off plan. The feelings of disappointment the next day are what now keep me from making that mistake very often. The path that I am on now is the result of lots and lots and LOTS of mistakes.
The reality is that there will seemingly always be something going on socially that involves food. You have to pick and choose when it is worth it to you to go off plan, as well as how far you go off plan. Bob in accounting's going away party isn't worth it to me. My daughter's graduation dinner? Absolutely. Regardless of what you choose, you have to be willing to accept the consequence of your choice. In the end, it is up to you. If you're not feeling the willpower that day, stop by Bob's office on the way out and wish him luck. If you are, go out and enjoy. These situations will get easier the more you become comfortable with your lifestyle.