Diets and Birthdays – Diet Day 57

Holidays have to be a dieter’s worst nightmare. In our family it would seem that we are always looking for a reason to have a party; one that includes as many favorite foods as you can possibly include. Holidays are one of the biggest reasons why I chose to begin my diet when I did.

There was no way I wanted to be on a structured eating plan during Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. There are just too many comfort foods that I could never see myself doing without. Since being on this diet, some of that has changed but I still would have a hard time not partaking of oven-roasted turkey with grandma’s stuffing and what would Thanksgiving be without a slice of Trina’s hot apple pie? Even the thoughts of those tastes and smells bring back fond memories.

Waiting until after the first of the year to begin this diet helped me to avoid that temptation. Still, not everything is perfect and there always seems to be some sort of event that takes place where those who are dieting will be asked to sacrifice in order to maintain their weight loss goals.

Today happened to be my birthday. I am not a big birthday kind of guy so I did not expect this to be difficult but I have to admit it was harder than I had imagined. A typical birthday for me is taking the afternoon off from work and going to a Spring Training baseball game. At the game I would get a bratwurst or a hot dog along with a large soda and a bag of peanuts. There is just something about ballpark food that reminds you of being a kid.

After the game the family would go out to eat. In my case it would be something like a 16-ounce steak along with a large salad with blue cheese dressing, a loaded baked potato and corn on the cob. The steak would be grilled and then topped with garlic butter, mushrooms, and onions. Dinner would be followed with a chocolate cake, preferably a Great Wall of Chocolate from PF Changs and a dish of ice cream.

Being in the midst of fat-burning mode on this diet, there were not a whole lot of those things listed above that fit into my daily menu. I could have a small steak of the leanest cuts and added to it would be a small bowl of salad and a low-carbohydrate vegetable. There was no room for the bratwurst, the soda, the salted peanuts, the baked potato, the corn, the salad dressing, garlic butter, mushrooms cooked in butter, and especially no chocolate cake or ice cream.

I have to admit, my family was very supportive in trying to help me through this. My ballpark experience included a package of diet chips and an energy bar topped with two bottles of water. For dinner I still had the steak but this time it was 5 ounces trimmed of all fat and topped with a light sprinkling of seasoning. A small dinner salad with lettuce, 2 small radishes, and a small stalk of celery was topped with 2 tablespoons of calorie free dressing. As a special treat I had baked fennel as a vegetable.

Perhaps the hardest part though was not having a birthday cake. It was one of those things where you have to ask yourself, is it better to have a cake to blow out candles but not be able to eat or not have a cake at all? I chose the latter. It seemed counter productive to stick a cake covered in sugared frosting in front of me to blow out candles then take it away and let everyone else enjoy a slice while I went without.

It was a little depressing and almost felt like it wasn’t really a birthday but by overcoming this temptation I remained on the pathway to reaching my optimum healthy weight. Perhaps after this is over and I have reached my goal I’ll splurge and have a small slice of cake not only to recognize my birthday but for achieving my goal. Then again I seem to be so focused on the nutritional value of whatever I eat now that cake may be something I have no desire to have.

It’s funny, looking back at dinner and thinking of the changes I’ve made already it doesn’t seem nearly as bad as I first thought. Maybe it’s not just the weight I am losing. Maybe I am losing a few bad habits along the way too.

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