As a Weight Watcher we have talked about at meetings about how to deal with situations like potlucks and buffets! But knowing how to deal with one and actually standing there in front of all this wonderful, tempting foods are two different things. How should one deal with a !wonderful array of food that you help yourself to?
First of all never arrive hungry! I have been known to have a salad at home, a piece of fruit or cut up veggies about 30 minutes before leaving the house. Does it spoil my dinner? No, but I'm not so hungry that I could devour everything in sight and make poor decisions doing it. I find I'm more likely to make poor food choices when I'm starving because you want that taste and instant satisfaction, not the healhty salad or dish.
Second survey the terrain, so to speak. Without a plate in hand walk the buffet/food area from one end to the other. Decide what foods you're going to eat before you serve up your plate. Is there that one dish that you can't pass up? Have that one dish, have a reasonable sized serving, not the serving size you'd like to have. My favourite tactic which often saves me a lot of points (calories) and fills me up is to fill at least half of my plate with vegetables/salads/fruit, a quarter of my plate is some sort of starch (roll/potatoes/rice/pasta) and protein (aka meat).
Third, remember how Mom always told you to eat your veggies? You've got it! Eat those veggies first! If you fill yourself up on those veggies, lower point foods on your plate you will be less likely to eat as much of the higher point food(s) on your plate. If you find yourself becoming full, don't force yourself to finish what's on your plate. It may sound awful, but don't be afraid to throw out food! Yes there are starving children in country x,y,z but do we really need to be obese because we were taught to clean off our plates? I have always taken small servings of foods, because there's no law that says you can't go back for more if its really good and you're still hungry! Also if something doesn't taste good, again don't eat it to be polite. There's nothing I resent more than eating calories that don't taste good.
Fourth, bring a Weight Watchers friendly dish! Make something you like that's low in points. This way you know there's a go to dish there amongst all the higher point foods at the table. This is also a tactic you can use when going to a dinner party, offer to bring something. Your hostess may think you're being sweet, helping out but in reality... you're being smart!
Fifth, don't forget this is a social event! If its a potluck you're at a party, with friends, or family. Hang out in a different room from all the food (especially that dessert table or table of nuts/chips/cheese & crackers). Be a social butterfly visiting and talking with the other guests. Have a drink in your hand (diet pop/wine spritzer/light beer) at all times, this way your hands are full and you can't mindlessly pop food into your mouth.
For me the hardest part is dessert! As I've said in the past, sweets are my weakness I'll eat them even when I'm not hungry. Especially if there is something paticuarly tasty to be had. I do my best to stay away from the sweets table, I try to be in a separate room. I do survey what's there and if there's something I like I have a small portion, enough for a taste that will satisfy me. Sometimes its really good and I have a little more. Another tactic I use is what I call my "deal breaker", for example I like cake... I mean really like cake. I'll tell myself before I leave (Weight Watcher's Tool For Living : Mental Rehearsing) that if there is fruit for dessert that's what I will have unless there is cake. If there is cake I can have one small slice.
So there, you go! My tactics and ones I have learnt to deal with a self serve situation where there may be many temptations.
How did I do this past Saturday? In terms of the main dishes I did really well there were a lot of fantastic salad/veggie dishes on hand this year. I have found over the years (I've been going to this event for 8 years now) we have become a healthier eating group as a whole. I filled my plate with veggies and salad, I even got a fantastic new recipe for a couscous salad that has hits of lime and ginger. I also brought a tossed salad and several choices of low calorie dressings to add to the mix. At first I handled the dessert table really well, I surveyed it had small servings of a few sweets that I knew or looked good. I also made sure I put them on a small plate! My downfall for the day? Well the dessert table was on the way to the washroom, you couldn't go pee without walking past that darned table. This is where I consumed more points than I should of, and ate when I wasn't hungry. Then one of my old habits reared its ugly head, there was a big bag of Mrs. Vicky's chips. I opened the bag (really shouldn't of done that) and had a hand full, which led to about 4 hand fulls in a row. When I realized what I was doing I left the room, mentioned that I opened the bag of chips. In short order... they were gone, thank goodness! Also when "dinner time" came around I didn't bother getting anything to eat, because in all honesty I wasn't hungry.
What was the result of my slight loss of control at the scale this week? I think all my exercise helped to balance things out, I had a stay the same week! Yay!
Now on the other hand, I've not been as saintly as I should be this week after being away, and eating potluck. I'm really tired, I've not had an evening at home for a week (until tonight). I've worked out 4 days in a row and I really over did it last night, biting off a little more than I could chew when going out for a run before my Taekwon-Do class. Being this tired and practically burnt out I have made bad food choices. I'm craving chocolate and sweets. I've had some chocolate every day this week! I've been pretty good for awhile now, I just have to get myself back on the straight and narrow soon. Starting with getting some rest and sleep!
I've got a good, active weekend coming up we're doing some outdoor Taekwon-Do training on Saturday and earn myself some more activity points!