Steakhouse. Italian. Mexican. Dessert. Alcohol.
This is the food I’ll be celebrating my birthday with. One with my fiancé, one with my dad, one with my mom and sisters and one with my friends. All in the same week. Oh and let’s throw PMS in there, too. Just to make this really juicy.
I wrote about my birthday festivities last year and I decided to do it again because I honestly wasn’t sure I’d still be a recovered food restricting, over exercising, binge eating, yo-yo dieter another year later. But I am. And I want to share with you how I approach this week in a totally different way than in my 20s.
Whether it’s your birthday, a vacation, or a holiday, we all have those situations that make us concerned with the food we’ll be consuming.
In the past, my birthday was always a weight loss deadline. Being the end of March, I’d diet in January and February to “look good” by my birthday and kick off spring “looking good.” I often would be successful until my birthday and then that week would kick off my “off track” period. Cue my typical yo-yo scenario number one. Happened like clockwork.
In the past, I would restrict my food around these meals all week and increase my cardio only to essentially be ravenous and overly eager to eat them that I would stuff my stomach as full as possible and not be able to digest the regret and guilt that would follow for weeks. Tired, cranky, fat and frustrated. Another reason my yo-yo scenario number one would play out like clockwork, year after year.
In the past, I wouldn’t fully enjoy my birthday because I was scared to eat those meals, knowing what it would do to me, mentally more than physically. I would have a struggle planning birthday dates with my family and picking what to eat because it was like a ticking time bomb for me. The fear and the pattern was yet another reason my yo-to scenario number one would play out every year.
So, I finally got sick of that pattern. Sick of the stress. Sick of giving food that much power over me. The power to stress me out. The power to make me difficult and unappreciative when my family was just trying to do something nice for me. The power to make a happy situation more trouble than it ever needed to be.
So, how do I approach this now?
1. I approach this now like it’s just another meal, just one that I happen to love, one that may be more calories than a typical meal for me. So what??? It’s not good I’m going to restrict again for months starting tomorrow. It’s not Food I have to eat every bite of because it’s not going to be allowed again tomorrow.
2. It isn’t just about the food anymore. Sounds sad, but for so long, my birthday was about food. Not me. Not my age. Not looking back over the last year and being excited for the year to come. Not spending time being celebrated by people that care about me. It was always about the food for me. Now, it’s just an enjoyable bonus because I know I can have that food any day of my life, but I can’t have my birthday any day of my life.
3. I stay consistent with my workouts and rest, both of which help me feel my best. No more, no less. I just do my thing. I move. I sweat. I have fun. And I know I’m not trying to create as big a deficit as possible just to fill it up with crap that I may or not realllllllly want. And the overexercising I would do usually made me even hungrier making it even harder to control my appetite.
4. I eat. Like I normally do. I eat high quality meals that satisfy me so I don’t go into those meals like I’ve never had a good meal in my life. I also don’t “scrimp and save” my calories all day because I know what I’ll be eating at night. I’ll cook balanced meals when I’m the one cooking. Will I focus on veggies and protein during the day that I have my Italian dinner of spaghetti Parm? Sure. But it’s not by rule. It’s by choice because that helps me feel my best. Satisfied, not ravenous. Will I not have decadent dessert on random days that week because I know my sister is making me a chocolate caramel sea salt tart? Yeah. Because I know I don’t need desserts everyday. However, I will still have my chocolate.
5. I don’t weigh myself everyday. Your body will fluctuate, especially after eating meals out!!!! Don’t put yourself in a mental state of panic because you may be up a few pounds. It’s not fat. Unless you ate the whole fiesta, you’re fine and you will be fine. I don’t weigh myself and I give my body a few days to adjust, if I don’t feel as great. That’s life. It doesn’t mean you’re a fat failure. It means you lived and you know enough now that the big picture didn’t change from a few meals. Birthday, vacation or holiday.
I eat, I don’t restrict. I work out, I don’t overtrain. I look forward to it, I don’t fear it. I enjoy the whole experience, not just the food. I don’t weigh myself to prove I gained weight from enjoying myself. And I tell myself I can have this food again any time I choose, so I don’t need to inhale it all and go balls to the wall just to “start over” on Monday.
There is no more starting over. These meals are just another meal with the people I love most. I love the food. I always will. It isn’t like I’m telling you I just don’t care about my favorite foods anymore, because I do. I just care about my mental state more. And I know that a few meals won’t make me fat.
Since I’m a dork and I know what I’m ordering because they are my favorites, I’m going to let you in on what it is and how I stay balanced and not feeling like crap. (See below)
This is how I can enjoy my meal and still be able to wake up tomorrow like it’s just another day. Because it is.
💕 It clearly wasn’t always like this for me. If you relate to where I was, I can help you get to where I am. It’s freeing here.
Cesar salad because I love salad
Roll with butter because I love their warm rolls
Filet, broccoli, mashed potatoes
I cut my steak in half because I order the 12oz. I load up the broccoli and enjoy every bite with some mashed potato with it. When I’m done, I’ll decide whether I want anymore steak or take it home. I’ve always taken it home.
Dessert- I’ll decide there if I reallllllly want it or if some chocolate at home will do the trick.
Double chef salad with house Italian
Dip a piece of bread in their sauce
2 small meatballs
Then after that, I have some of my large spaghetti Parm
I usually take home at least half
*sometimes I eat more of it when I get home 😝 but usually save for Next day.
No, it’s not gluten free or wheat pasta.
But because I love meatballs and salad, I eat that and there isn’t much room for “too much” pasta where I’d feel crappy. Not restricting. Just what I like.
Chips and guac – good fat satisfies me
Taco meat – either in a wrap or over a salad
Corn side dish
This feels fine for me because it’s balanced- good fat, veggies and fiber, protein and some carbs
Chocolate Carmel sea salt dessert – I’ll have whatever satisfies me. Often, My older sister and I end up alone at the table having “our fill.” 🤷🏼♀️
Ok guys, I’m not much of a drinker. I enjoy moscato or a mixed drink. Usually vodka soda with a splash of something. I rarely overdo it because I honestly love a good sleep and not feeling like crap tomorrow. I want to eat good meals, not grease, and I want to sweat, not have a headache. I honestly would usually prefer chocolate or alcohol. 🙋🏼♀️