My husband, Marcus', birthday is this month, so we left the kids with my parents for the weekend and kicked off the birthday celebration with a date night. We headed straight to historic Saint Augustine, which offers a slew of restaurants, rich history and ambience (if you've never been, you really must visit our nation's oldest city).
We started at our favorite little bar on the waterfront with its 70 beers on tap. I chose my favorite concoction offered here. (Wait, what?!? YOU drink alcohol?! Yes. Yes, I do. As in everything, balance and moderation are key.). Drinks come in 8, 16 and 22 ounce glasses. Which to choose? Most folks go with 16 ounces because, well, 8 ounces in the American diet seems like a sippy cup serving. It just so happens that I'm fond of sippy cups, so I went with the smallest serving (DECISION #1). I was also getting hungry and knew that dinner was at least 45 minutes away, so I splurged on a calorically-dense appetizer of shrimp empanadas (DECISION #2).
We finished our drinks and app, paid our bill, then headed to another restaurant for dinner. We chose a place that serves seafood caught off the coast of North Florida (DECISION #3). The menu is completely dependent on whatever kind of fish was caught the day before and delivered to the restaurant that morning. I ordered fish tacos (DECISION #4). Sides offered were black beans and rice, chips, soup or a mixed greens salad. I chose the salad with dressing on the side (DECISION #5). For a beverage, I stuck with water (DECISION #6).
Having already consumed empanadas and a beer, I was feeling satiated after eating my salad and just one of three fish tacos. I could have forced myself to eat more, but I can't stand that gluttonous feeling of being over-full, bloated and lethargic--how most of us feel after a Thanksgiving meal...and too many others (DECISION #7). Besides, Marcus wanted to end our evening with a birthday treat from Cousteau's Waffle & Milkshake Bar (he's clearly a bad influence on me!), so I needed to be prepared for an indulgence there once dinner settled.
Taking my leftover tacos in a to-go box, we entered Cousteau's where Marcus got a ridiculously decadent milkshake (vanilla ice cream, nutella, bananas, whole milk, and a TON of whipped cream). I opted for the half dozen waffle bites--the smallest order and least expensive item on the menu (DECISION #8). The bites were warm, sugary, deliciously chewy, and more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. Could I have eaten the larger order? Sure, but why over-indulge only to regret it later? We enjoyed our desserts as we strolled the city's streets.
As you can see, I made at least eight dietary decisions over the course of the night. This was definitely a cheat day for me, but because of the choices I made, I was able to enjoy my splurges, guilt free, because I didn't go off the deep end with any of them. Let's take a closer look:
I'm sharing this date night run-down with you to demonstrate how to stay on track with your fitness goals, even during special occasions (particularly with the holidays approaching). I realize that many of you reading this have weight loss goals, so it wouldn't behoove you to eat empanadas and waffles. But what I hope will be your takeaway is that you have the ability to decide, at every meal, what goes into your body. Since weight management is 80% diet, knowing that you control your intake, portion size, and beverage consumption should empower you to make prudent choices. Eating right is a give and take, a prioritizing of what we need versus what we want. Approach each meal, everyday, as an opportunity to give your body what it needs to be its best, to please your palate with favorite flavors, and make decisions that benefit you in the long run.
And remember: calories in, calories out. Marcus and I continued his birthday celebration the following day with a high intensity exercise session to burn off last night's meal (DECISION #9)!
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Molly is a wife, mom,
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I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.