They say there’s a first for everything

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life40 Comments


On Saturday, we headed down to my inlaws' place in Southern Minnesota for their annual Farm Party. I've documented the farm party before. Last year, it was in conjunction with Joan and Dan Sr.'s 50th wedding anniversary.

This year's affair was much less extravagant, seeing the return to an informal gathering of friends and family.

However, one thing that you can count on every year is lots and lots of food. It's a pot luck affair, and there will always be numerous salads, sides, things in crock pots, breads, snacks, and of course, boat loads of tasty desserts. Oh, and did I mention coolers filled with Sprite? Those too.

Last week saw me getting back into a more focused and healthy eating pattern. As of last Friday, I was feeling much more balanced, my energy was good, and I felt like the carb crap fest from the previous week was thankfully over for the time being.

But I knew the Farm Party was looming.

Now I don't want to be that person. Oh, you know her. She's the one who gets so wrapped up in trying to be healthy that she begins to fear, or even avoid social settings in which her better judgement will be tried and tested as it relates to all tempting and tasty sugary or alternately unhealthy carbohydrates. But sometimes, I am that person.

Every time I head down to the farm, the lure of Sprite and the bread basket are often too great too resist. Before I know it, I'm snacking myself into a sugary oblivion, then wonder why on the drive home I'm sleepy and feel like ka-ka.

But this year, I decided to have a plan. First, I planned what I would bring. I put out a call on my Facebook page for new, healthy pot luck ideas, was given tons of great ideas and eventually settled on this Strawberry Balsamic Salad (thank you, Nitza).

Next, I woke up and got a run in, ate a good, filling breakfast of eggs, sprouted grain toast and butter, had a healthy snack of almonds and apples during the midmorning, and then had some more eggs at lunch time. My goal was to have lots of protein in my system before I left to avoid the cravings that so often overtake me when I see the spread at the farm. I also brought lots of filtered water to drink throughout the day. (That farm well water is almost undrinkable, which renders Sprite all the more appealing.)

I should back up and tell you, I have been eating a lot of eggs these days, often a couple a day. I'm trying to get more protein, but not being a huge lover of meat in general, it can be a tricky that. But I digress…

When it came time for the 5 p.m. dinner, I filled my plate with my salad, then a most delicious and simple potato salad, and some succulent roasted turkey breast. I avoided the buns and the pasta salads and found my meal to be just right.

I even tossed in a handful of delicious Wisconsin cheese curds (unfried, mind you) for good measure.

I did have a serving of Dairy Queen ice cream cake, but much less that I usually go for at these affairs.

By the time we packed up and headed out in the early evening, I was completely surprised at the choices I made.

It wasn't about depriving myself of good food. It wasn't about counting points (though I did keep track of what I ate via my Lose It app). It wasn't about being that girl who can't enjoy herself at a party.

It was simply not going overboard and entering into Ye Olde Party Fueled Food Frenzy.

I woke up on Sunday feeling really proud that by making better choices, I felt better throughout the day.

This isn't too say a Crap Fest isn't in my future. I think you all know how that pendulum can swing. It just means it feels pretty good to make better choices on any given day.



Cathy ZielskeThey say there’s a first for everything

40 Comments on “They say there’s a first for everything”

  1. #1

    Way to go Cathy, that is so awesome to hear. You did so great and I’m jumping for joy at your willpower and planning ahead. That is what you need to do in order to get thru these kinds of gatherings. This is what helps me on my family gathering days too. Sometimes I just eat there and that’s it for the day and I walk and we always have tons of water bottles. Our family is very active and during the summer these gatherings are in a park so after we eat we play all kinds of games to work off the food we just ate. Oh and there is a steep hill you have to climb back up where the parking lot is too.

    Have a wonderful Monday, so happy for you!! Keep it up !!

  2. #2

    Way to go! Its not so much willpower, as going into the gathering with a plan. And the plan didn’t include deprivation. Good post, I hope you can keep building on the this success as you learn how to manage better eating patterns.

  3. #6
    katie squires

    Well done, you found a healthy and fun balance. Its so true, its no fun being that person that gets all stressed out about food at gatherings, there has to be a way to be healthy and yet not so restrictive that your a stress ball. I am going to take my cue from you this weekend at my sisters wedding πŸ™‚

  4. #8

    That is fabulous! I love your idea about loading up on protein beforehand – that makes so much sense and I’d never thought about it before. That’s definitely going to be something I try the next time we have a BBQ to go to. Thanks!

  5. #9

    Ah A Plan. Sounds so obvious when you have one, doesn’t it!
    And H2O. Plenty of it. You really can get through most any situation with a lot of the use of nicely said, “No, thank you.” Smile and mean it. Works for me.

  6. #11

    Nice Cathy, we all have to realize that we can’t control every single food situation. Sometimes we just have to plan ahead, make the best food choices we can while at the social event, allow a “splurge” (could you send a piece of that ice cream cake to me please!) and move on with life. You made great choices and were happy with them. Definitely a victory!

  7. #12

    Wow, I am so impressed. And inspired. I am headed off to a girls’ weekend on Friday, and I’m sure it’ll be a huge fiasco for my eating. I plan to bring my running gear though, so I can run when I wake up early (and they’re still in bed nursing hangovers). πŸ˜‰

  8. #13

    Great job, Cathy! Instead of soda, try flavored seltzer water. It’s bubbly so I feel like I’m drinking something special and it contributes to hydration for your run the next day. My favorite brand is la croix (which we call la crotch or canada dry)….

  9. #16
    K Hogarth

    I want to thank you for pointing me towards the book “Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism” and the podcasts from Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I have been struggling for years to lose the baby weight and was unable to stay on any plan. I started excercising in early May and by July I had lost 2 pounds. I decided I needed to get to the bottom of why I couldn’t lose weight. Those two sources of information were invaluable.
    Reducing my carbs and increasing the protein has made all the difference. I’ve lost 11 pounds this month even though my workouts have been sporadic (my two small kids are not in camp these last weeks of summer). It has made all the difference and is a very satisfying way to eat. I feel like I’ve finally got a handle on my eating.
    Thanks for the information and the inspiration.

  10. #17

    I have to ask you….what does the “quilt” sign on all the barns mean? My husband is an on-the-road salesman and he says he sees them all the time. He thinks it’s a cult (ha, ha, not REALLY, but he is curious).

  11. #19

    That is SO great to hear! And seriously, that podcast is pretty dang amazing, isnt it? Im actually going to re read that book as well. She got me hooked on some new better habits! Keep up the balanced eating!

  12. #20

    I think its just called a barn quilt. They dont really mean anything, but its a way to dress up and add character to a barn. Either that or its the symbol for a chicken worshipping corn cult. ; )

  13. #21
    Ellie A.

    I love it. I found that if I let myself plan ahead of time then I am ready to “attack” ha.. but for me I find if I don’t have a plan especially when it comes for our family gathering then I’m in trouble because YUMMINESS is everywhere lol As was this weekend my niece & nephew’s bady party where I did enjoy the most awesome of awesome cupcake. I enjoyed every last bite since I was the photographer and running about I thought it was a treat well gained πŸ™‚ Go Cathy Go!

  14. #24

    There! Way to go Cathy! You’ve set the stage for my upcoming weekend on the back of a Harley… I’ve been wondering how the heck I’m going to get back in control after Italy’s croissants & red wine binging…I know I can fit the fitness in this week & it’s not like I can’t pack my own cooler of snacks instead of eating fish & Chips 3 days in a row… The protein is key & small snacks with protein in between… I hear you on the meat…thankfully I live where fresh fish (not always fried) is very plentiful& my daughter has a bunch of free range chickens to help with my egg consumption! Happy day & as always, thanks SO MUCH for sharing :o)

  15. #25

    Great job. I also buy San Pellegrino sparkling water at Costco. Really inexpensive by the case. I add some kind of fruit juice (just a splash) and feel like I am having a real treat. It is nice a bubbly, but not full of calories. I would say it is 4/5 water and 1/5 fruit juice. I have been known to take SP to parties with me and have it πŸ™‚

  16. #26

    Just out of interest/nosiness, are you still using WW online or are you now using the Loseit! app instead? I’m debating ditching WW but know it works so am wavering! I’d love to hear your feedback about the app.

  17. #27

    The filtered water and protein idea is really good…I’ll remember that…but I do have cravings certain times of the month…need that salt and grease…it just has to get easier once the teens have left the nest.

  18. #28
    Christine H

    Nice job! One day at a time. That’s all we can do. And kudos for getting beyond the “eggs are evil” info that was spread about in the 80s and 90s.

  19. #29

    You go, Cathy! Great job planning and avoiding the crap fest; that’s quite a success in my book.

  20. #30
    Abby P.

    Congrats on your will-power — having a plan was smart! I’ll have to “lift” that idea :D. Re the low after the crap fest – I’m with ya, sister. My husband and I have been eating very healthy for about 9 months. Pretty much just salads for dinner….last night along came CaboCabana shredded beef greasy hard-shell tacos caked with cheddar cheese….tasted good for about the first 5 bites, then the “yuck” feeling started settling in. Didn’t feel good about my food choice at all…back to salads tonight!

  21. #31

    Im just using the LoseIt app. I decided to cancel my WW membership. I dont need to pay 17.95 a month to write things down. I really didnt use their tools. Also, because ive been listening to Dishing Up Nutrition Im not so sure a lifetime of low fat point counting is the way to go for me!

    You can also do LoseIt online at their site!

  22. #33

    Awesome that you looked those carbs in the eye and stared them down! So great when you feel good about what you ate. Good for you! Thanks for sharing your successes!

  23. #34
    Wendy D

    Way to go, Cathy! By planning ahead and going prepared you were able to conquer those “fears” and avoid those dirty carb cravings. Good on you!

  24. #35
    Pilbara Pink

    I agree with those who say it is planning not willpower. If you landed there just vaguely thinking `I must not overindulge’ without planning what you would actually do it is likely you would have eaten things that made you feel bad. I take a dish I enjoy (ie suits my way of eating) and focus on the event – be it a wedding, reunion whatever. Why am I here? – is it for the food or to share the day/event with the people there? I try to stay away from the food, I am not the person helping tidy away left overs, replenish platters etc. I will help in other ways if I can but do not deal with the food. My family and friends know this, anyone else can think I am lazy or whatever. I would not ask an alcoholic to clear glasses, pour drinks, go find more beer etc. If that sounds extreme you should have seen me eat in the past … If I drank the way I ate I would have been the embarassing, drunken guest at every event we ever went too. Just be aware also that sometimes after an event ( up to several days after) we can sometimes be overwhelmed by the food `wants’. Seems to be linked for me anyways. I could manage not to overeat at an event sometimes, especially if I thought someone might notice how much I ate, but would compensate afterwards … almost as a reward for my behaviour at the event.

  25. #36

    I am so glad you made choices that made you happy and you still had a good time with the family. I remember hearing Oprah tell about how she never ate after 7 (I think that was the time) and Jerry Seinfeld asked her to go to dinner with him, but it would have been after 7, so she didn’t go. She was so proud of herself that she didn’t go. I think she talked about it a lot and kept making it sound like she really was committed because of this. I just thought it was sad.
    I understand struggling and needing to get a handle on how you take care of yourself, but to miss out on something you really want to do just because of food just seemed like she was still letting the food control her, and of course she wound up putting the weight on again after that anyway. So basically I am saying you did better than Oprah! Way to go!

  26. #40

    Woohoo! Congrats!! That is a major accomplishment. Whenever I attend parties or big get togethers, my resolve goes out the window. Yeah for healthy choices!

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