The Party Walk

Half-way to what?

Here we are, half way through the year, which, like birthdays, is an excellent time for a check-in. How do you feel about what you’ve accomplished this year so far? What do you want to accomplish by the end of the year – or as someone graciously phrased this question to me yesterday – what are you willing to allow for yourself in the rest of the year? Gag. But also, a pretty damned good question.

As we all know by now, BBQ season is upon us. Grilling food has become a new obsession of mine due to the fancy grill we got for Christmas last year. I love how simple a grilled meal is to prepare – a little salt ‘n’ pepper, a little olive oil or PAM. Everything tastes better. And if you don’t believe me, try throwing some asparagus on a grill that’s been  tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper, and if it’s not the sweetest, juiciest asparagus you’ve ever had, then you’re wrong. Cuz it is.

But BBQ’s mean parties and parties mean danger for me in general.

Well this weekend I made the trek out to Santa Monica for some Saturday BBQ action, and I shocked myself by not eating my face off. And let me tell you, the food was good. Really good. There was a vat of some of the best guacamole I’ve ever had, secret recipe salsa, Grandma’s special recipe ribs & chicken, bratwurst, an array of beautiful salads, one bazillion buttery crumbly M&M’s cookies, margaritas, wine & beer. All top-notch. All delish. But somehow, I got out alive with most of my weekly flex points stash in tact.

I can hear my WW leader, Lynn, in my head – “How did you do that?” –  she would ask.

Well, first of all I went with an intention and a plan. I rarely remember to do both. Sometimes I go to a party with the best of intentions and then get sidetracked by the wheel of brie. Sometimes I go in with a strict plan of how many chips I’m going to eat and how many glasses of wine I’m going to have, but then I feel deprived because nobody else seems to be restricting themselves or sticking to a plan. Although, what do I know? Their plan could have been to drink bottles of wine and vats of chips & guac and then not eat for 3 days. Who am I to judge?

What I mean by intention is focus. At this BBQ on Saturday, my focus was on the moment – the hearty conversation and the perfect combination of beach town sun and breeze. I mean, I think I actually heard what people where saying. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have spent lots of time at parties having a conversation with the bowl of chips across the room while someone is telling me a story right next to me. But I prepped myself and my intention for this party for days – focusing on how grateful I am to get to spend time with these great friends at their gorgeous beach adjacent apartment on their sun-soaked deck.

The plan part of the party came in the form of 2 major decisions that I made. 1) I sat far away enough from the chips that every time I wanted a chip with guac I had to stand up. It was like announcing to the party, “I, Jen Reiter, Watcher of my Weight, writer of this blog am now having some guacamole! Here me now, and know it to be true!” And 2) I literally tracked every bite of food as I ate it. In my tracker (as opposed to in my head). This made me more present – I am now consuming 8 points of ribs and they are the most delicious 8 points of ribs ever – and because I was more present I was able to stop when it was time to stop. Without whining and without very much effort at all really.

But I couldn’t have done any of it without my friends. Everyone made healthy, flavorful, colorful food that only made my mission to be more present easier and more enjoyable.

There was the freshest guacamole which I am clearly obsessed with because I’ve mentioned it now 17 times.

The secret is in the mushing.

A beautiful watermelon & feta salad.

Watermelon, tomatoes, feta, basil & mint.

A colorful bowl of sweet & juicy fruit to munch on.

Munch munch munch munch.

And the surprise highlight – the homemade pickles!

In a pickle? Have a pickle.

There was also a beautiful avocado, mango, jicama salad that I forgot to snap a pic of in addition to the tasty BBQed meats and aforementioned cookies.

But the real kicker was the Party Walk.

When it was announced that we would be walking to the beach to watch the sunset, my initial thought was, “Aw, man, we have to take a walk?!” I did not voice this out loud, but I’m sure everyone knew I was thinking it as my aversion to exercise is no secret. But I bit my tongue, borrowed a jacket and poured my wine into a latte-to-go cup like a good girl.

Wouldn’t you know, the walk was perfect. Not too long, but long enough, not too difficult, but a few little hills to remind me that I was actually moving my body.  And a sunset ending on the beach with the Santa Monica ferris wheel lit up by the very end of it. And you bet yer ass I logged in my 2 activity points.

The sunset at the end of the party walk.

So back to my original question – what are you willing to allow for yourself in the second half of the year?

I am willing to allow myself to let go of my ideas of what is hard and what is fun. I am willing to allow myself to take a walk at a party, to eat a little bit of everything and to enjoy myself in situations that have been tortuous in th e past. I am willing to allow that I am capable of not eating my face off at every opportunity. I am willing to allow the fact that I am capable. Period.

What are you willing to allow?

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