I worked hard to reach my Feel Great Weight so I don't want to blow it on a couple of silly splurges—but I also don't want to miss out on the fun at parties and family gatherings.

Health.com
June 15, 2010


By Tina Haupert
I worked hard to reach my Feel Great Weight so I don’t want to blow it on a couple of silly splurges—but I also don’t want to miss out on the fun at parties and family gatherings. Finding a happy medium has been the key to maintaining my weight loss. For that reason, when I know I have a few splurge-worthy occasions coming up, I make sure to save calories elsewhere in order to indulge myself without guilt.

Last weekend I had a couple of special occasions on my calendar: an early 30th birthday surprise (my husband only told me to keep Friday evening free), my sister’s housewarming party the following day, and Sunday brunch with friends. I knew I’d want to have a couple of cocktails and dessert, so I used a few tricks to “cheat” on my diet—and save room for the good stuff.

Friday Night: 30th birthday surprise party, 9:00 p.m.

Save: I ate a veggie burger and lentil salad, followed by peanut butter and banana soft serve for a snack.
Since I knew to expect something special that evening, I made sure to eat a healthy and satisfying lunch. My sweet tooth always kicks in during the afternoon. Hence, I satisfied my craving with a low-calorie snack made from one frozen banana, a spoonful of peanut butter, and a splash of soy milk, all blended together in my food processor. It tasted a lot like full-fat ice cream—but for a fraction of the calories.

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Splurge: I savored a birthday cupcake with thick chocolate frosting.
My husband surprised me with a party full of family, friends, and plenty of indulgent treats. I love sweets, especially cupcakes, so I was excited to see that my husband had purchased 30 of them. I purposely saved calories throughout the day, allowing myself a dessert splurge: a German Chocolate Fudge cupcake. Each bite was heavenly and enjoyed without any guilt.

Celebrating my 30th birthday was the time to enjoy the foods that make me the happiest. Nothing was off-limits that night. But, of course, I didn’t let myself go too crazy either. I made sure to eat a filling lunch so that I wasn’t starving by the time I arrived. And while I may have wanted to eat three cupcakes, I kept my portions in check and woke up the next morning without a food hangover.

Saturday: Mexican-themed BBQ at my sister’s house, 1:00 p.m.

Save: I skipped the chips and dip.
Before I decided what to eat, I took note of the different food options at the BBQ. I ended up passing on the usual tortilla chips and salsa—things that are easy to mindlessly nibble on—and saved room for what I really wanted.

Splurge: I indulged in chili with all of the fixings.
I love my brother-in-law’s chili so when I realized that he made it for the party, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to splurge on. I made myself a bowl and loaded on all of the available toppings, including shredded cheddar, onions, scallions, sour cream, hot sauce, and pumpkin seeds. I enjoyed every single bite, guilt-free. It was very delicious, and I didn’t even miss the tortilla chips that I had passed on earlier!

Sunday: Brunch with friends at the Wheelhouse Diner, 10:30 a.m.

Save: I took a Body Pump class pre-brunch.
I like to exercise first thing in the morning (especially on weekends) because it prevents me from making excuses later in the day. Plus fitting in a sweaty a.m. workout helps me start my day off the healthy way—and leaves a little wiggle room for Sunday splurges.

Splurge: I had an egg-and-cheese sandwich with a side of home fries.
Even though I’m working to maintain my weight loss, I still occasionally enjoy greasy diner food on the weekends. I knew I wanted to indulge. Therefore, I needed to make a smart trade-off, which meant not hitting snooze when my alarm sounded. I worked up a serious appetite after burning many calories at Body Pump, so I didn’t feel bad about ordering a hefty breakfast. Plus I made sure the rest of my meals on Sunday included plenty of lean protein, fruits, and veggies.

Read Tina’s daily food and fitness blog, Carrots 'N' Cake.

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