I wanted to talk a little about peer pressure today. I feel that this is one of the hardest things for any dieter to deal with, and I have definitely seen it rear its ugly head in my lifetime. I've been sharing comments back and forth with a few HealthCentral users and the conversation has turned to alcohol. Many of you probably share my passion for wine, great beers, and rounds of fruity concoctions bought for you by a well-meaning friend during girls night out. Drinking is a part of many of our social lives, and it is a way we can relax after a hard day at work.
But like me, I'm sure you know all too well the consequences of a "good" night of boozin'. How about that God awful headache that makes you feel like a train just ran through the center of your face? What about the old "on no, did I really text [insert here: that guy, my boss, that co-worker] last night? And of course, my favorite, the day-after McDonald's run you just had make because only a McGriddle would do. Ugh! So good, yet sooooo bad.
Part of my new years' resolution was to give up all alcohol for one month, as a way to test myself and my commitment to health. For me, drinking leads to eating, among other not-so-smart activities. So my month of abstaining will serve to show me that I can do something that may have a great impact on my overall health. I think I will sleep better (and go to bed earlier), wake up easier, and get more creative with my social life.
It has been eleven days since I started my little test, and I have to say I do feel good. Luckily, I have been so busy with work that the opportunity hasn't really presented itself yet. I say "luckily" because I know me...put me in a bar on a Saturday night with a group of friends and this is where things get tricky. I've been there before. This is how it goes:
Anonymous Friend: "Hey Aubree, let me buy you a drink."
Me: "No thanks, I'm taking a break from drinking."
AF: "Aw, come on, just one? I promise."
Me: "Um, sure. Why not? The only thing I have to do tomorrow is everything."
And there you have it. One drink leads to another (guess my friend and I both forgot the promise) and the next thing I know I'm hitting up Taco Bell.
Peer pressure is tough. Yes, even for a thirty-year-old. Peer pressure doesn't ask how old you are, and it certainly doesn't care. It doesn't care if you are getting married in ten months. It doesn't care if you have a true passion for organic food. I love it when Sarah (the pie queen) makes fun of me for telling her how awful I think soy is but then proceed to eat my sugar-laden pumpkin scone from Starbucks. She's right, but hey, I do what I can. The silliest thing is that I know what's good for me and what's not. I have a great leg up on this because I like to study nutrition and I work cooking food at a natural market. I am around people every day who tell me how going gluten-free changed their lives. Yes, I know. But peer pressure gets me.
Sunday is my day with Billy to relax and hang out together. We always get brunch at the Irish pub (one of my places of work), watch football or a movie, and catch up on the week. Food and drinks are a huge part of our Sundays, so what am I going to do? Well, I just have to stand my ground when he puts on his sad face and wants me to join him during the beer-swigging, wing-eating, calorie-fest that will be the Superbowl. I love him dearly but WOW he has a way of convincing me that one day won't hurt. This is coming from a man who can lose 20 pounds in two weeks when he has an MMA fight coming up. And to top it off, he always tells me I'm beautiful at any size. Granted, he is very supportive when it comes down to it. He even helped lead me through hellish sets of intervals when I had to squeeze into my bridesmaids dress for his sister's wedding. But when your man and your friends are enjoying the "finer things", it's darn near impossible to say no.
I don't intend to never join these folks in their pub grubbin', I just have to be more careful. When my month is up, I will see how I feel, and take it from there. Who knows, maybe I will stay on the wagon for good. Especially if I have seen some weight loss as a result. More likely, I will limit my intake and enjoy a "night off" from time to time. And I will most definitely steer clear of the fast food traps. After all, I have no intentions of squeezing into anything ever again.
Published On: January 14, 2010