Remember when it was a treat to go out to Bob’s Big Boy with the family? Maybe Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor on your birthday? Or Christmas dinner at grandma’s with all the fixings? Maybe you ate a little too much, or something not so healthy. No biggie. It was a special occasion.
Now a special occasion is going for cocktails with co-workers on a Tuesday. Then out to dinner with hubby on Wednesday.
How did the special occasion become so common?
For one, we eat out more than we ever did. From food trucks to pop-up restaurants, eating out is part of our lifestyle. If we’ve ingrained from childhood that dining out is special, it “feels” like we should treat it like a special occasion.
But there’s something else at play I notice with clients. I think we crave the special. We crave treating ourselves, taking care of ourselves. And I think we should. But too frequently we opt for that moment of “special” despite the long-term consequences of over-eating.
Food as self-care, not over-indulgence or deprivation
We want to break bread with one another. To enjoy our food. And we can do both without overdoing it and kicking ourselves later.
Try these three steps to use food as self-care without giving up on your health and weight loss goals:
- When celebrating someone else, focus on the moment over the food. When you go to your neighbor’s birthday party, remember it’s her special occasion. Have the intention to honor her with conversation and connection. Maybe a special gift. Then, choose food based on what you enjoy and your health goals.
- Decide that no matter the occasion, over-eating is not warranted. Whether at a fancy party, Thanksgiving dinner or dining at your favorite restaurant, eat enough to satisfy your body and feel good. Again, identify the spirit of the special occasion and let that be your focus.
- Learn to treat yourself without food. I know what it’s like to come home from a long day and feel like I need a break. What it’s like to want to zone out with a glass of wine, some mac & cheese, or both! But those false pleasures quickly give way to regret. Brainstorm ways to really treat yourself, without food and without alcohol. Then do that more often.
I love the idea of treating ourselves, of making moments special. The more ways we have to do that, the more amazing life is. And, when we can enjoy food, love life and be a healthy hottie, it’s even better!