“Hey, can you pass me those chips?”
I’m sure I’ll hear that about 10 times this Memorial Day weekend. I won’t be at a Paleo or SCD cookout and I doubt I’m alone.
When I grab that bag and toss it to my buddy, what goes through my head? In the past, I’ve had all kind of thoughts like…
“Agh, why do people actually eat these nasty things.”
“Oooh no, they smell so good, I want to eat the whole bag.”
“Don’t they understand that these little death squares are going to kill them?”
“Don’t make me touch it. Aghh, the flavor, the salsa, I need to put chip-to-mouth!!!”
I’m not bipolar, but reading those lines might give you that impression.
That’s because it’s all out of context. The sun isn’t shining; the smell of gas, grease and summer isn’t filling your nostrils. You’re not reading this around 10 of your friends, most of who don’t eat real food.
When you’re in that moment, things change, your thoughts and feelings change. You might never want to cheat on your diet, but mix enough environmental triggers and peer pressure together and a lot worse things have been done than eating a chip.
First, there’s the food… processed piles of weird meat bits rolled into a casing, stuffed into a “bun” of wheat and sugar, piled high with corn sugar dyed red.
Can You Remember How Good a Hot Dog tastes?
Next, there’s the drink. If your cookout is anything like mine, even the most moderate people end up “just having one”… whether it’s beer, a fruity drink, or a pop. Once again, I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s nice to be part of the group when someone yells from the cooler who wants one?
Lastly, there’s the conversation. “Little Mikey is doing so well these days, he doesn’t even throw his sugar pills fruit loops on the floor when he eats.” “Yeah Bob has diabetes now, so he can only have two cookies today.” And the inevitable, “How’s that weird diet you eat working for you?”
My problem in the past was thinking I needed to answer that question, or better yet jump down someone’s throat regarding their food choices (Bob – Put the Effing cookies down!!).
Nope, this year I’ll be practicing my breathing skills.
What will you do?
How to Avoid the Problems at Your Memorial Day Cookout
I’ve found 3 main areas that can ruin my happy days. Trust me, I’ve crashed and burned at enough cookouts over the last 3 years to tell you it’s not worth it. Whether you end up on the toilet all night or in a fight with a loved one about health, it’s not how you wanted Memorial Day to go.
I think there are 3 main steps to having a successful real food cookout. These 3 things work just as well for any family party. The best part is each of us holds the power to have it handled before we even get there.
Step 1. Get Your Head Right
In the beginning of SCD, I had plenty of epic social failures. Whether I got into a heated conversation trying to help a loved one or if I succumbed to the treats surrounding me, there was always only one thing to blame: my mindset before the engagement was wrong.
If I walk into a room already jacked up because I just read a news report on sick people, it’s likely I would have tried to fix every person in that room (which of course they don’t want because we are all here to cook out and have fun). I also know if I walk into that party, feeling sorry for myself, thinking about cookouts of past, what I’m not going to eat today… then eating five brownies, hot dogs and drinking beer is about 30 seconds away.
What I hope you can learn from me is that getting your head clear and in the right place is the #1 thing to do. Think about things like: Are you happy that your health is even allowing you attend the party? Or walk to the door without help? Or hang out with people who love you? If you’re not, you should be! You have a lot to be thankful for, we all do. It all comes back to this, be grateful for what you can do and don’t worry about the choices of others.
Step 2. Pre-Choose Your Options
This is another word for planning. I’m sure you’ve heard “Fail to plan, plan to fail” right?
You’re about to enter a world filled with food that smells amazing, that you can’t eat, but you remember eating, and your friends want you to eat because they don’t want to feel weird.
If that confused you, I apologize but read it again; the odds are stacked against you if you don’t make a choice. If you don’t already have your mind made up about what you’re going to do… the game’s over before it starts.
I’m talking about things like: What are you going to do when someone hands you an ice-cold beer? A margarita? If you haven’t already thought about putting it back in the cooler, going inside and getting yourself a glass of what you brought, then you’re probably in trouble.
If I even so much as entertain these offers because I think it would be rude not to, I’m a goner. Instead, make your mind up ahead of time for any situations like this. It’s not rude, don’t even entertain the thoughts, this is how you honor your body.
Step 3. Decide What’s Most Important to You
Lastly, are you going to this Memorial Day party to fix your friends and family? To save them from all digestive concerns and modern diseases? If you answered yes to this, you better make sure they know you’re preparing for an intervention. Because no one is ever really “happy” to be the recipient of an intervention. It’s just not an appreciated gift.
Also, are you in a position where you think you need to defend your choices to eat real food? I don’t think so. It’s your choice. You don’t need to justify it to anyone. Even your sweet family members who want to help – “nope sorry that subject is off limits today.”
Know ahead of time what the most important aspect of the day is to you. Is it to hang with your friends and remember the good ole days? Show your mom that you care for her? Enjoy your family and relax? Any and all of these are perfect and important. Choose one that empowers you and release the rest of those negative thoughts to fully enjoy the day.
I hope you can do it.
Have You Struggled in the Past?
Or are worried about it going forward? I understand. Whether it’s taking business trips, happy hours, or family parties, social events can induce anxiety and stomach pain before they even start.
(Let alone actually cheating in the moment.)
I want you to know that you don’t need to turn these events down and you don’t need to worry sick about going to them. Believe it or not, you can travel, hangout and enjoy yourself more than ever now that you’re looking after your health.
Jordan and I have put together our best tips, tricks and lessons, as we’ve crisscrossed the country over the last few years. We’ve put them together for you in our Social Butterfly Class. If this is a source of frustration for you, this course could give you your old life back.
Check it out here >>> live a normal life again.
Have fun at your cookouts this summer… and tell me below, what goes through your head when you have to pass the chips?