Social Eating

15 10 2008

I am partaking in a “staycation” this week.  I am using vacation time to stay at home and do nothing productive.  Thus far I have enjoyed reading an entire book in one day, visited many blogs and reconnected with several friends and family members.

It has long bothered me that the majority of the time I get together with friends or family, food is involved.  Perhaps social eating is a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic.  Usually my social gatherings don’t involve eating food that is good for you.  We don’t graze from a veggie tray.  Instead we go out to eat. 

There are very few restaurants that I can go to and feel as if there is a chance of staying on track.  Some “safe” zones are:  Panera Bread (90% of the time), Subway, Jimmy John’s, Quizno’s and Schlotsky’s Deli. 

If I know ahead of time where I will be eating and nutritional information is available to me online then I plan to make good decisions.  Information is power, though sometimes I tend to ignore the facts.  Sure, I can go to Red Lobster and order the grilled shrimp and a plain baked potato.  But what’s a trip to Red Lobster without a few of the delicious Cheddar Bay biscuits?

Another aspect of social eating is the potluck or holiday gathering.  Every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas I make “heart attack potatoes” which includes healthy ingredients such as Velveeta, a pint of cream and four sticks of butter.  Everyone else brings something of equivalent value, and I eat until I have to unbutton my pants and it gets hard to breathe.   Purchasing pants with an elastic waistband would be tantamount to admitting that I have given up.  Why not just sport my bathrobe to family gatherings?

I am attempting to launch a campaign in which the majority of my visits with friends and family involve exercise.  Instead of gorging myself at a restaurant and having witty conversation while doing so, lets gossip and catch up while taking a leisurely walk. 

Some of my friends have embraced this idea wholeheartedly and I am enjoying the time we spend together.  Yesterday, Jennifer, MarySue and I went to Starved Rock State Park.  We hiked for almost four hours over at least eight miles. 

Then we went to Monical’s Pizza.  But, I was a good girl, ordering a lunch pleaser with an 8 inch cheese pizza and a side salad.  I didn’t even put the wonderful Sweet N Tart dressing on the salad.  I used the old Weight Watchers trick of dipping my fork into the dressing.  Monical’s is dieter friendly in that nutritional information is available on their website.  Certainly four hours of hiking put me into a position where I had some leverage over my caloric intake.

My ban on social eating will likely work in some situations.  But I don’t think Craig’s Aunt Debbie is going to stop making her scotcheroos and choose to partake in some Christmas cross country skiing instead.

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5 responses

16 10 2008
Donnalouise

Thanks for dropping by my blog! I wish I could ban social eating! Ugh…I am the queen of social eaters. I always overeat – why, because! It’s social to eat until you feel like a stuffed turkey. Yuck…I’m still feelin gickey from my vacation last week and all that I ate…you’d think I’d learn by now!

16 10 2008
SSG

Hi, I’d be interested in any advice from you on my latest post. I found you through the wordpress search for career paths, hope you don’t mind! I like the term “staycation”… I really need one of those just now!
SSG

16 10 2008
melissas

this post hit the spot for me. i’m trying to break up with my scale (day one – didn’t make the frightened leap onto the dreaded object of dubious numbers.) AND i did some serious social eating last night. now, i’m wondering about the damage. did i do much. am i over-estimating? are my pants really that much tighter than they were yesterday? yet, i want a real life,where i don’t have to sit home with Dannon Light and Oversaccharined. and i don’t want to outgrow my wardrobe. thanks for your thoughts — as always, food for thought,

19 10 2008
Eyebrows McGee

You can come mosey with me at my gym as soon as I get over this bout of bronchitis! I get guest passes and stuff.

19 10 2008
adventuresandmusings

Any time, LP. I look forward to it.

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