In October, my little (big) brother got married and I was asked to basically bring a truck full of alcohol for the festivities. I gladly obliged. I LOVE weddings! I love that every bride is absolutely beautiful. I love getting dressed up, and this wedding was particularly special to me because I sort of acted as their cupid when I introduced the two of them. However, events like weddings can be difficult when you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight. For me, it’s about working to have a healthy relationship with food and alcohol. It’s also about planning ahead of time for the nights that I plan to indulge a little more than normal.

Remember, everyone is different. Some people do much better with a strict regimen. It took me a while to find what worked for me, but when I found it it made things a lot easier for me. Hopefully it can help you as well!

The Wedding

My brother’s wife, Jordie, is actually my college best friend’s step-daughter. I was scrolling through Care.com to find someone to help watch my kids while I was working and saw her picture. So, I talked to my best friend, Holly, and arranged to have her help me. One day I posted a photo of my brother on social media and she thought he was handsome, so I introduced the two of them and they started dating. Shortly after, she moved to North Dakota to be with him. It’s funny, the first time my brother, Derek, asked her dad if he could marry her he said no! But after spending more time together, he said yes.

Because I helped introduce them, and because I know both families, I was asked to greet everyone at the wedding. Phoenix was the flower girl, and we brought cases and cases of beer, wine, and champagne. They even had a sign that said, “Derek and Jordie are tying the knot, let’s warm up and take a shot!” We handed out half-shots of Fireball whiskey to all of the guests. Clearly it was going to be a fun wedding, so I had to be prepared for it.

Being Realistic

Honestly, it’s unrealistic for me to be so strict with myself that I can’t indulge in some drinks for my brother’s wedding, or a night out with friends. I used to be, but it’s important for my long-term success and my positive relationship with food and alcohol not to do that. However, I’m not saying this is something you should do all the time. There was a time where I would go buy discounted Valentine’s Day candy (arguably, the best part about Valentine’s Day or Halloween), and I sat on the couch with a bag of chocolates. I would unwrap them, chew them up, and spit them back out. How gross is that?!

I would never do that now. But that’s how unhealthy my relationship with food used to be.

That distorted view of nutrition really hindered me, so I had to change my mindset. I began to realize that there are no good foods or bad foods, there are just some foods I eat less of. Of course, I can’t eat or drink anything I want all of the time. But, I also don’t deprive myself, either. Now, when I know I’m going to have a night of indulgence, I plan accordingly.

Getting Workouts in Early

Planning ahead of time is such an important aspect of balancing social events and weight loss. Having a moderation and balance mindset will help you to move your workouts and calories around so that you can still enjoy your social calendar. Remember, every single diet comes down to the same thing: being in a calorie deficit each day. All diets do this in a different way, but it comes down to the same thing.

When I knew my brother’s wedding was coming up, I made sure I got all of my workouts in early in the week because I knew I wasn’t going to get my workouts in that weekend. So, I stacked my four workouts early. Not only that, I also workout early in the day. Not only does that get my workout in as soon as possible so I don’t run out of time during the day or at night, it also helps set up my day so that I make better eating choices.

One of my mentors, who I talk about all the time, who also doesn’t know that he’s my mentor, is Tom Bilyeu. He taught me that you should allow yourself two minutes to lay in bed each morning and no more. I avoid my phone, I give myself two minutes, and then I count to five and get up. I got that five second rule from Mel Robbins, who I also love. After that, I feel ready to start my day and I’m always glad I did it.

If I know I’m going to eat and drink a lot in the evening, I eat a lot less during the day so that I can save my calories for the fun stuff I want to do that night.

Saving Calories

In addition to making a plan for your workouts, you can also make a plan for your calories. If I know I’m going to eat and drink a lot in the evening, I eat a lot less during the day so that I can save my calories for the fun stuff I want to do that night. However you work your calorie deficit is up to you, but the idea is the same. Practice moderation during the day, and splurge a little once you’re at the wedding, or dinner, or whatever your social event may be.

Though my calorie count is a lot different when I’m trying to lose weight than when I’m trying to maintain weight, the idea is similar. However, if I’m trying to lose weight, I try to cut my calories by about 500 per day. So, when I’m maintaining I’ll be at about 2000. When I’m trying to lose, I’ll be at about 1500. I also go out and partake in social events a lot less because it’s super easy to stack up calories when you’re at a restaurant. For me, I really can’t drink alcohol when I’m trying to lose weight. Others can, but I can’t, so I don’t.  

My Typical Day Saving Calories

This is an example of how I’d save my calories for a social night out while trying to maintain my weight at about 2000 calories a day. Each person’s list may look a bit different, but this is an example of what works for me.

  • Coffee (about 50 calories): With ⅓ cup of whole milk and a bit of sugar-free caramel from Cost Plus World Market. (I know I know, but everything in moderation). I also sort of just drink coffee all through the day. (Moms, you get it.)
  • Protein shake (about 150-200 calories): After I workout I make a protein shake with some frozen berries and maybe some leafy veggies, like spinach. I don’t really count the calories in these veggies because you probably burn more calories by digesting them, I just try to get some of my fruit and veggie servings in this way. I also mix in some of my protein powder, (which you should try if you haven’t already!)
  • Quest protein bar (about 250 calories): As a snack between breakfast and lunch I’ll have a Quest protein bar. With the exception of the coffee, I’m trying to get all of my protein in early so I don’t have to worry about that while I’m out at my social event.
  • Chicken (about 150-200 calories): For a quick meal, I often have a rotisserie chicken in the fridge. For lunch, I’ll heat up some chicken with some mini bell peppers, sugar snap peas, and hummus.
  • Coffee (about 50 calories): Like I said, I drink coffee throughout the day, and I might drink some more before dinner to help tide me over.
  • Pizza and salad (about 800 calories): At this point, you may be at about 700 calories. If you go for pizza, for example, that’s about 300 calories per slice. A salad with dressing is about 200.
  • Wiggle room calories: If I’m aiming for 2000 calories, I’ve had 1500 at this point. Now I have about 500 wiggle room calories. This could be for a beer, dessert, an appetizer, whatever.

Practice Makes Perfect

Listen, I’m not writing down all of my calories, maintaining my math perfectly, or being super strict when I do this. This is all in my head throughout my day, and a lot of it is a ballpark estimation. At first you may want to keep an easy log in your phone, but soon you’ll begin to memorize a rough estimate of a calorie count. Practice makes perfect, and it definitely took years for me to learn how to do this. This is obviously not something I can do every day, and is reserved for helping me through social events without going overboard.

If you’re struggling to figure out where your calorie goals should even be at or where to start, you can try my Modern Mom Lifestyle program. We do challenges every month, there’s a calorie calculator, and there are tips in video format and in blog format to help. There’s a free seven-day trial to see how it works for you. If you love it, there’s a monthly subscription you can purchase!   

  I discovered that moderation allows me to eat any food I want as long as I’m being mindful, so that’s how I practice healthy eating.

The mindset I have now is that a diet can create an unhealthy relationship with food. So, I decided I never wanted to be on one ever again. I discovered that moderation allows me to eat any food I want as long as I’m being mindful, so that’s how I practice healthy eating. Just remember, it took me YEARS of trying things and screwing up before I got to where I am now. It took YEARS for me to not feel guilt or shame over eating certain foods. Just be patient with yourself!

I’ll leave you with this quote by my unofficial mentor, Tom Bilyeu, “Every choice you make, or fail to make, not only follows you into the future, it actually writes your future. Your choices matter. A lot. Act accordingly.”

You don’t have to be super extreme or hardcore about your diet, or about anything, but you should remember that it’s the combination of all the small decisions you make every day that make a big difference in the end.

Show yourself grace, perfection is a myth, and keep trying!

Xo,

Natalie

P.S. I also have a podcast episode outlining these tips if you’d rather listen than read!