The Big Nine-Oh…
November 25, 2013
We had a big family get-together this weekend to celebrate the landmark of a ninetieth birthday. The “party” was a gathering of 40 or so family and friends for an afternoon buffet and celebration.
I had been asked to do a few of my comic verses (and had been requested to pen a poem in honour of the birthday girl). So with poems in hand (and tribute verse done and dusted) Lovely Husband and I headed into the countryside to meet up with Twin, her husband and other nearest and dearest.
It had been circled on the calendar for months and, once I had managed to complete the birthday poem, I could relax and was really looking forward to it.
I had an idea that the food was going to be amazing, partly because of the venue, and partly because one family member is a fabulous chef and was in charge of the buffet. I knew it would be lavish, plentiful, and I also knew that there would be a tab behind the bar and endless free bottles of wine on each table and around the room.
“It was potentially a weight-loss minefield, but I knew that a little planning and preparation would mean that I could (if I wanted) partake of the treats on offer… ”
… So I spent Monday to Friday keeping my calorie intake lower than I normally would, and “bumped up” the calories I would be able to “spend” at the party by extending my workouts and not having a rest day midweek. It didn’t mean making major changes to my usual routine, just a few tweaks during the week to allow me to really enjoy the weekend gathering.
And enjoy it I did. The buffet was a wonderful spread with all the usual favourites (small pies, quiches, wedges) but also with a vast array of extremely WLR-friendly options…. Including a wonderful cold salad of apple, celery and walnuts in a natural yoghurt dressing ( which I had never had before but which I can highly recommend… and which I suspect I will be trying to recreate in the kitchen this week… I’ve already spied a similar recipe in the fabulous WLR database so I have the basic information at my fingertips!).
Lovely Husband tucked into chicken drumsticks, sticky potato wedges and a wonderful hunter’s pie which he declared delicious. I have to say, I was equally satisfied with my celery and apple; my lean cooked meats, some wonderful shredded beetroot (which, if my taste buds are in proper working order, was dressed with a little lemon and pepper) and some wonderful warming tiny new boiled potatoes (which had thoughtfully been served with butter and oil placed separately at the side). It was a splendid spread and every possible dietary requirement (medical or calorie-focussed) had been catered for.
Dessert was birthday cake… and again, two were provided… one being a stunning fruit cake, the other being a sponge for those who weren’t keen on dried fruit, marzipan or royal icing. I opted for a slice of the latter and thoroughly enjoyed it.
As for the question of unlimited alcohol. Those of you who know me are aware of my fondness for a nice glass of rose or a robust rioja…. which I’m successfully limiting at home (my habit of pouring myself a hearty glass to “relax” after eight hours at the day job is one of the reasons I’m on my weight loss journey). I’m also trying to rein it in a little when I’m at social events. Luckily the birthday girl is a fan of my comic verse and so had asked if I could present a short version of my one-woman show – which I was more than happy to do. It served two purposes… it allowed me to reach a new audience with my verses but also provided a wonderful reason for declining the apparently non-stop flow of wine and opting instead for fresh orange juice made into a “long drink” by adding sparking water and a slice of lemon. Explaining to people that you need to be able to keep a steady head and to speak clearly because you are providing a spot of “entertainment” is a sure-fire way to avoid the temptation of a glass of wine (or two… or three…).
Interestingly, Lovely Husband has also decided to cut down on his wine consumption. Not having bottles in the wine rack has meant that now it is cold and dark when we get home, neither of us is inclined to venture out to pick up a bottle, and Lovely Husband was on driving duties for the birthday celebration which meant he could decline the wine as well.
“But it is strange how, even in this day and age, it is still considered unusual to decline an alcoholic drink on the basis that you just don’t want one.”
Twin is largely tee-total and used to explain that she just didn’t like the taste… Often times people would say “well you should try… ” Rather than saying “that’s fine, I understand”. Now she is on medication which isn’t compatible with alcohol and, as soon as this is mentioned, all attempts to offer her booze are instantly stopped.
I suspect that had I not been doing my verse, and with others knowing that Lovely Husband was in the driver’s seat, that I too would have had to come up with a good reason not to have a tipple… And “I’m keeping an eye on the calories”… wouldn’t pass muster. When I have used it in the past I inevitably get the “just one won’t hurt… ” prompt (which is also the response I get when declining chocolates; gateaux and cheesecakes… When I’m assured “a small slice won’t hurt”).
I find it baffling... If I smoked and then announced to family and friends that I was giving up… I am pretty certain that would be accepted as a valid reason and people wouldn’t press the matter… so why when I’m applying the same approach to excess calories do people feel the need to try and get me to give in and partake? I still haven’t worked out the reason for it, so if any of you have any ideas please do share them.
But, as I said earlier, I dined like a king, had a wonderful afternoon in good company, made the birthday girl smile, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I made a note of my intake and, as I had hoped, my prior planning and preparation kept me well within allowance for the week… and meant that I really could “have my cake and eat it…” Result!
With a Hug. H14