• Birthday Brain: How to Survive Your Special Day

    Monday, September 25th, 2023

    by Judy Weitzman, Diet Coach

    birthday-lose-weightTo me, birthdays are the best! It is the one day of the year when I enjoy celebrating with abandon.

    As a diet coach, it is my primary belief that you can eat anything you want and still lose weight. However, it is how much you eat that makes the difference on the scale.

    That said, nothing is ever off limits – but on my birthday, I will indulge more than usual. What blows my mind is that my behaviors are so ingrained, that even when I am splurging, I never eat the huge amounts I did years ago when I was heavy.

    I am sharing these experiences because I lost fifty pounds 37 years ago. I live my life and eat everything.

    I felt full disclosure would be helpful to those who think you can’t ever eat like this. Some folks feel you “can’t” have certain foods or enjoy alcoholic beverages, but you can if you set boundaries.

    sweet-mandy-b-cookieI kicked off my birthday with one of “Sweet Mandy B’s” ginormous iced sugar cookies. They are hands-down orgasmic! (Thanks to Mimi for the introduction.)

    Anyway, I took my granddaughter to buy some. While we waited they had great little samples that were screaming to be tried.

    Normally, my rule would be no “drive-bys!” These are foods you eat with your thumb and forefinger. Since it was the beginning of my birthday celebration, Savannah and I tried a couple samples. They were so yummy!

    I brought one whole cookie to back to my house. I shared some of it and proudly take full credit for 75%. This is a win, because I did not eat the whole thing. Right?

    The saga continues … this amazing cookie found a home, in a clear container, on my kitchen counter. Each time I walked by, I cut a sliver. It was crazy.

    I think I was actually making up reasons to go to the kitchen so I could slice off another sliver of cookie with the killer icing. It was getting ridiculous.

    I finally got smart and put it in the cabinet. “Out of sight, out of mind.” It totally worked and I was able to enjoy this sugary delight for another day.

    A Philosophy for Dieting Success

    Here is my philosophy: If it tastes that good, why not spread out the joy instead of scarfing something down in one sitting? Take tiny bites and savor each one. My cookie lasted for two and a half days. Not bad.

    On my birthday I was taken to lunch by three of my favorite ladies on the planet. We went through two bottles of champagne, which was so fun. We all ordered salads with seafood that were healthy and delicious.

    Then they served the most amazing chocolate soufflé with a scoop of ice cream for my birthday dessert. Lucky me … the four of us shared one dessert. Perfect portion! YAY! Win-win!

    The next evening, my husband wanted to go to the Cheesecake factory. Who was I to say no?

    cheesecake-factoryHe didn’t want to share his piece with me, which is usually what we do. So we each picked the flavor we wanted and took those decadent slices home to enjoy.

    How “Birthday Brain” Clouds Your Thinking

    First of all, if I knew he wanted to go there, I never would have eaten the rest of that iced cookie. I started thinking that I should say, I didn’t want to go. Then I chalked it up to my birthday, and thought, what the heck? And went for it. I blame it on having “birthday brain.”

    The cheesecake tasted delicious and instead of eating at a table like civilized human beings, we sat in front of the TV. BIG MISTAKE!

    When eating a dessert, a person really only tastes the first bite or two, then they resume talking, watching TV or doing some other distracting activity, and don’t even remember eating the rest of their dessert. This is not fair, but true.

    Since we had the boob-tube on, after a bite, or six, I was already well past the halfway point and couldn’t believe I had already eaten so much. BUT it was so good!

    I decided it was time to stop but that cheesecake was staring up at me, begging me to take another bite, or three. I finally put on the brakes when I was feeling pretty stuffed (Dear stomach, thanks for the signal).

    I immediately ran downstairs to put the last little bit of cheesecake in the fridge. It would have been smarter, if I did not eat in front of the TV.

    More importantly, I should have gone directly to the kitchen when we got home, cut the piece in half and put the other half away (like I tell my clients to do!) Once again, “out of sight, out of mind.”

    If you don’t have the whole thing in front of you, you are less likely to eat it. Why tempt yourself?

    The best news is that I did save some and I had a treat to look forward to eating later. How cool is that?

    The part of the weekend that kept the scale from exploding after my celebratory weekend, was eating small meals to balance out my sugar-extravaganza.

    In my birthday story, there were lots of lessons. By changing your behaviors, you will be much happier with the number you see on your scale.

    Weight Loss Lessons to Remember

    To repeat, here are the lessons discussed above:

    1. Eat anything on the planet you enjoy, as long as you control how much you eat.
    2. Retire your ‘thumb and forefinger,’ that is one utensil that will get you into lots of trouble.
    3. Always try to eat at a table using dishes and utensils. The food we eat in front of TVs and computers or standing up don’t register the same in our brains causing us to eat mindlessly. We eat less when we focus on what we are eating.
    4. By limiting the foods you want to eat, keeping them, out of sight, you are less likely to succumb to eating them.
    5. Sharing food with friends is brilliant. Easy portion control.
    6. Cutting your dessert (or a meal) in half and putting the other half away so you are not tempted to eat it, it gives you the opportunity to enjoy it again.
    7. Take small bites and savor the flavors. This will help to slow you down and feel full on less food.
    8. It is so easy to justify foods that can sabotage your eating behaviors. Always remember how much better your feel when you are eating healthy foods that are lean.

    If you have “birthday brain” on your special day, remember it is all about trade-offs. If you are going to justify eating more sweets or have a few more cocktails, then keep you meals little.

    It is good to celebrate, as long as you do it responsibly. Enjoy every day to the fullest and celebrate life by taking care of yourself.

    (published March 28, 2016)

    diet-coach-judyJudy Weitzman, known as “Diet Coach Judy,” has experience in the weight loss industry that spans more than 30 years. She is the author of How to Eat When Life Gets in the Way. Besides her professional experience, she lost 50 pounds nearly 30 years ago and has maintained her lower weight. Judy has successfully helped her clients lose weight and keep it off by helping them change their behaviors. Each program is individualized and the daily support she offers helps ensure her clients’ success. To learn more about Judy, visit her website at www.dietcoachjudy.com.