Working Out Your Diet on Someone’s Big Day

My cousin got married very recently, and of course I went to the wedding. First and foremost, congratulations to you and Tom, Hannah, and I hope you enjoy your honeymoon! I know you read my blog (thanks!) so I thought I’d add an extra set of well wishes here for you both! Apart from my aforementioned issue with buying a suit, the wedding did present me with one other spike of personal trauma, albeit not on the scale of what the bride and groom felt – weddings involve feasts, and feasts involve kissing your diet goodbye!

So what’s a struggling dieter to do when they get invited to a wedding? Decline? Nearly always out of the question, unless you’re being asked by a distant acquaintance, it’s someone’s third remarriage to the same bad apple or an ex-partner who’s inviting you because you promised to ‘stay friends’. Do you sit there staring at the food in mute torture as everyone else tucks in and enjoys themselves, looking like you’re on some sort of death march? Pretty unlikely, and fairly rude; you’d look really ungrateful when someone has gone to all the effort to prepare food etcetera for you. Contrary to wide belief, I think most people who get married want everyone they invite to have a good time – sure, they’re the main event and their enjoyment is paramount, but you’d be surprised how much you can take away from someone else’s happiness if you’re looking like you’ve been told you’re stomach will melt if you eat anything at their event. Do you leave early and miss out on all the fun and celebration? Again, not really an option as they’ll wonder why you left early and if there’s something wrong or upsetting you. Maybe not for long, but it’ll happen.

My rule for weddings is either go, enjoy yourself and live like a king, make the day the best you can for whoever is getting married and shelf your own issues for the duration; or have a very good excuse for not going, e.g. being out of the country or in a coma. Ideally, don’t plan to be a in a coma just to avoid the wedding.

So how can the pitfalls into opulence and dashes of decadence be avoided at such lavish events? My first tip is don’t go for finger food. Pretend it’s various cheaply manufactured class A drugs and just say no. Drink the wine, if there is some on offer – although probably slower than I did – and make conversation with the other guests. Admittedly some of them might be boring (not at this wedding, thankfully!) but keep going until you find someone interesting to talk to. They’ll take your mind off food until its served, and everyone you engage in conversation will provide a bastion of social contact you can retreat too should you get hungry later.

Tip two is don’t go for seconds. This can be especially tough at weddings as, in my experience, the food is delicious and delectable and you’ve usually been waiting for it for a good while. Eat slowly, sip your wine between bites (ideally alternating with two sips of water) and don’t rush it. You’ll enjoy the food more if you eat it slowly and by Madeline Shaw’s 14 Bite theory you’ll give your stomach time to break the food down better, and send the I’m-full message to your brain with plenty of warning.

Third on my wedding tip-tree is stay hydrated. All that wine will be making you feel more thirsty, eventually, so if you start getting peckish after the meal order a glass of water with every drink you get. Everybody talks about how hard it is to have eight pints of water a day is an unrealistic or difficult aim, but on the other hand it’s fairly accepted that three pints of beer, two shots and a couple of rum and cokes only takes two hours. So sub out every other alcoholic drink after the meal with a glass of water and you’ll find you don’t get as hungry, at least not as fast, and you’ll have more energy in general. And yes, you’re still going to get drunk. If you haven’t had five glasses of wine at the end of the meal then you’re at a very different wedding to the one’s I’ve been to.

Either way, you should be able to get on with the BIG TIP for this post, which is some advice Lady Gaga kindly gave to all of us way back in 2008: Just dance.

It’ll be okay. I have a couple of moves but nothing that’s going to wow a crowd or guarantee to make a girl question her plans of going home alone, but moves like Jagger, MJ or Timberlake aren’t necessary. Grab a few friends, new or old (those emergency conversation partners from earlier perhaps) and get a dance circle writhing to the rhythm, or bopping along to the beat depending on the music and mood of the evening. Don’t stop until you get enough of whatever’s playing, make a quick toilet trip and bar stop before getting back out on the floor with the next song. Or, if it isn’t your jive, find a friend who also isn’t dancing and ask each other how anyone can like that kind of unhappening hip-hop tune, until something you want to dance to comes back.

Energy levels? High from meal and alcohol. Hydration? Maintained by those water stops. Diet? Safe in the knowledge that those glasses of wine are being bogeyed away with the evening. Fun? If you ain’t having it, you ain’t dancing hard enough.

You don’t have to dance well. You don’t have to be the best on the floor. Get some moves, let yourself go, and just move however the music makes you feel. Yes, I know you don’t want to look stupid. The best way to look stupid on the dance floor is to stand their doing nothing or pull a classic Commander Shepard and look like you’re having a fit really slowly. No, you might not ‘know how to dance’ but most people don’t either. Just do what you’ve seen on TV or music videos – Hell, you’re going to be able to moonwalk better than Drew Barrymore!

Just go a little crazy – although, avoid injuring people unless you think you can cover it smoothly. And if you can’t dance, I have some doubts about you’re ability to be smooth after injuring someone. Unless you’re an EMT with two left feet. It’s surprising how many calories you can burn while dancing; certainly more than walking. I’d estimate that you’re looking at 500-600 calories and hour for a medium effort of cutting rug. You’ll have fun, you’ll burn off calories and get some exercise. Best of all, you’ll be at a wedding making sure you don’t put a raincloud over someone’s special day!

There you have it folks, in a succinct few paragraphs with the most youtube links I’ve had in a single post on the entire blog. I hope you can take this light-hearted piece of advice lightly to heart and remember that sometimes working off those cals can be fun. If in doubt about whether or not you should be allowed on the dance floor with your dance moves, comment here and I’m sure I can find some links to vids of me ‘dancing’ that my brothers have made sure to archive for my own extra special day.

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