Let’s Celebrate

By Shani Petroff

My book launch, my birthday, and Halloween. I had and have a lot of celebrations this time of year. I love it, but it also makes me realize how many things I do that revolve around food. So, this year, I’m trying some alternatives. Yes, there will still be restaurants and even cake, but I’m trying to temper my activities that involve eating with some that won’t dip into my SmartPoints® budget:

Google is Your Friend. For Halloween, I didn’t want to go to a party with tons of candy or out to a bar, so I googled Halloween activities that were happening in the city. There was a lot of fun stuff. I thought about going to the parade, catching a Halloween-themed improv show, and a haunted house. I even got someone onboard to do the first two with me. But after pulling an all-nighter to meet a deadline, I didn’t have much energy. My friend was tired too. So, instead, we stayed in and binge-watched Stranger Things. We made a huge salad to munch on, and had chips and salsa. We made it through five episodes, and unfortunately the whole bag of chips. We learned our lesson. The next night when we watched the rest of the series, we kept the salad, added extra vegetables — and lost the chips. Since neither of us seemed to have mastered moderation, we decided to take the temptation away.

There are always new things happening, whether it’s a new show to watch with a friend (I find picking someone who’s also trying to be healthy helps make this a low-SmartPoints-value activity), an arts fair, or a new exhibit that’s come to town. I make it a habit of googling fun things to do in my area, because each time, I always find something that is not food-centric.

Pick and Choose. On my actual birthday, I’m going out to eat, and I will have a dessert. I’m looking forward to it, I chose it — but I’m making sure my other celebrations don’t include these things. I’m picking manicures over margaritas and an art gallery exhibit over birthday sundaes. In addition, I’m not putting extra temptation in my way. When my last book came out, I gave out chocolate roses to the people who made it a possibility. I also ate my fair share of those chocolates. This year, I’m not giving out candy. I’m giving out mugs instead. That way, if I decide to keep any for myself, it won’t cost me a single SmartPoints value.

No Food Allowed. There are also a lot of places to go and activities in which eating is frowned upon. I am going out to dinner on my birthday, but I’m also going to a musical, so there won’t be temptation to eat even more. The place does have a concession stand, but I rarely see people eating as the show is happening, and this is one place I’m never tempted. I wouldn’t want to make noise during the show by playing with a wrapper, and the intermission is so short, I rarely leave my seat. As for the manicure, you can’t pick up food without risking messing up your nails, so it’s always one of my favorite alternatives. You can still chat with a friend, but not have to worry about how much of your SmartPoints budget you’re digging into. And then there’s a place I just discovered — painting class. I took one the other week, and if I hadn’t just been there, I definitely would have suggested that as something to do for my birthday. Many of the classes allow you to bring in drinks, but I didn’t. My hands were busy the whole time working on my painting, so I didn’t need or want to grab a glass. (FYI, you don’t need to have artistic ability to take the class, it’s just something fun to do!)

Run Like the Wind. For his birthday, my friend decided to run a race. He trained in the months leading up to the big day, and then, he did it. Afterward, he felt accomplished and like his year was off to a great start! I’ll admit, I’m not quite there yet, but I hope to be at some point! And this idea is a good one for those who want to get in some activity points!

What are your favorite ways to celebrate? I’d love to hear about them! You can find me on Connect @shani!

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