One of the biggest challenges in sticking to a diet is going out. Parties, celebrations, holidays, nights out — it can be difficult to keep track of what you’re eating and drinking. Preparing yourself can make a huge difference in following your plan.
Acknowledging that there will be challenges is the first step in preparing. Even the right mindset can help alleviate stress. Remember also that these events are about human connection — unhealthy foods aren’t necessary for enjoying yourself. Life is full of celebrations and get togethers. It’s never too early to develop the patterns and habits you want for the long haul.
Take a few long breaths and consider the following:
What kind of experience do I want for the evening? How does this align with the health and lifestyle I want?
Which foods and drinks do I want? Take a moment to name them.
Which foods and drinks have I chosen not to eat? Name them as well.
Have I thoroughly prepared myself? Should I bring a healthy snack or eat one beforehand?
What can I do to focus on connection with others instead of the food I crave? Are there friends or family I want to catch up with? What are my coworkers’ holiday plans? Any movies or music to discuss?
Get to Know Yourself
Just because you aren’t in the habit now doesn’t mean you won’t be soon. But it’s also important to know your vulnerabilities. If you can’t stop at just a couple chips, don’t even start. Likewise for sweets — it’s nearly impossible for anybody to take just one bite of a brownie.
Beware of Alcohol
It can be easy to replace one vice with another — sugary foods and alcohol are no different. The real danger is that with alcohol, it isn’t just a simple swap: drinking can hamper self-control, which in turn can lead to overeating or indulging. Consider your cravings. How long will you be at the party? How long will you have to resist temptation?
Remember the Approved Foods and Drinks
The goal is to stick to keto-approved foods and drinks for the whole evening. This can be difficult, especially if this wasn’t a concern for the host — not to mention the anxiety that might come along with asking about the ingredients of every dish. Here are some good rules of thumb:
As you begin your keto plan at home, learn to estimate portions. Weigh out nuts, hard cheeses, and meats. Get an idea of what your portions look like. In fact, bring some with you!
At the party, fill up on keto-approved veggies. Don’t worry too much about portion size — it’s better than filling up on carbs.
It’s also better to eat keto-approved proteins than carbs. Overeating proteins can lead to your body producing extra sugars, though, so be wary.
Processed meats are okay — remember that they often contain sugar, so don’t overdo it.
Eat non-sweet dips, spreads, and sauces. A sour cream based ranch dressing is better than a sweet chipotle salsa.
Do not eat any sugar- or flour-based foods. This includes candy, pastries, pies, crackers, bread, pasta, and sweet cocktails.
Beware of dishes like broccoli salads — they often have sweet dressings.
Talk to Your Waiter
If you are eating at a restaurant, ask your waiter about the dish you are ordering. You don’t need to go into great specifics if you don’t feel comfortable, but explaining you can’t eat certain foods for medical reasons is a great way to communicate the importance. Ask to hold the gravy or to replace any starches or carbs with extra vegetables. Remember to refuse desert — ask for it to be removed from the table if you need.
Stay optimistic! Remember that you are human. Big changes in habits and patterns take time and effort. There are no good or bad outcomes, just ones that bring you closer or take you further from your goals. You’re still on the path to those goals! For your daily log, take note that you attended an event and that all measurements are your best guesses.