I just spent a fantastic weekend with my sister and her family, celebrating my niece’s birthday and giving my daughter some much-needed cousin time. It was a quick trip, with one celebration after another: actual birthday dinner out Friday night, dinner together with even more family Saturday night, and the birthday party on Sunday.
The weekend started off poorly, food-wise: for one thing, it was a 5-plus hour drive and I hate to stop or not have something suitable for my very insistent toddler, so I loaded up a tote bag with healthy snacks for my daughter and me – peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole wheat, raisins, apples, graham crackers. Not exactly balanced eating, but a lot better than stopping at Burger King or the other very limited options along the interstate. Also, eating while driving – i.e. multitasking and not really listening to satiety cues – isn’t exactly the most healthful behavior.
When I got to my destination, it didn’t get better. We went straight to dinner, which was at a restaurant of the birthday girl’s choosing (and I was duly forewarned by my sister and brother-in-law that the food was not very good, but rather that the main attraction was the kids arcade). I got a pizza, and it really wasn’t that great. But, I was so distracted by keeping an eye on my daughter, catching up with my sister and brother-in-law, that again I didn’t pay attention to what I was eating and before I knew it my entire pizza was nearly gone (plus a few slices from my daughter’s plate – the plain cheese kid’s pizza was actually better than the “gourmet” version I had ordered.)
I went to bed stuffed that night – a feeling I hate – and didn’t quite shake the full feeling all weekend. I’m a sucker for birthday parties and LOVE cake, and my sister had two absolutely delicious cakes for the birthday girl over the course of the weekend. I couldn’t help but indulge – and then blame my poor eating on being pregnant. Poor unborn child – he’s already being pegged as the scapegoat.
So what do you do when you find yourself sitting on the couch, feeling like a lump, and swear you can feel your belly expanding with each breath? Have a pity party if you want to, but keep it short. Weekends like these happen to us all – or entire vacations or even years of our lives. Rather than wallow in self-pity, or reach for another bag of chips thinking to yourself that the damage is already done – dust yourself off, say goodbye to the food free-for-all you just had, and make a new goal to refocus on making healthful, balanced choices. You can’t change yesterday, but you can certainly change tomorrow.
As gross as I can feel after a weekend of indulgence, it’s rare that I truly regret the experience. Splurging or going off your healthy eating path is often a good reminder that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing – and that even our favorite foods (such as cake), can be a turnoff if you get too much of it. It also makes me appreciate my fresh salads and broth-based soups even more, as my body just naturally craves a veggie-filled meal to counteract all the carbs, sugar and fat circulating through my system. So later today, I’m heading to the grocery store and re-stocking my fridge with fresh produce and salad fixings for the week, plus some lean proteins thinking black beans or hummus – and yogurt. Should be feeling better in no time. Besides, it’s what the baby is asking for – smart little guy!