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Beware Of “Free”

Last weekend Nataliya and I ate out at a nice restaurant in the Occoquan area.  We were celebrating our anniversary and when we made our reservations, we were asked if were celebrating any special occasion and I mentioned the anniversary.  Lo and behold, after a very large and satisfying dinner, reviewing the dessert menu and declining any of their scrumptious desserts, a sampling plate of three of their desserts shows up with a candle…”Happy Anniversary” proclaimed the waiter as he lit the candle and told us the dessert was a present from the restaurant and was for “free”.   Of course, “free” sounded great to me and I plowed into the dessert.

Human nature plays a large role in our behavioral patterns.  Part of our human nature is the love of “free”, “bargains” and “deals”.   During these inflation and recessionary times, it is especially important that we all try to watch our money carefully, so when “free” makes its’ appearance, especially for something we like, most of us (including me) feel compelled to take advantage of the “free”.

To the weight control arena:  The following scenarios present “free” opportunities to eat more and not pay anything extra:

  • The dessert bar at a buffet restaurant
  • The “open to 2 AM” pizza stand on the cruise ship
  • The alcohol package being included as an enticement to book an all-inclusive resort
  • The “Buy One Get One Free” deal at a fast food restaurant

There are many more bullet points that can be added to this list.

The point: During a long-term weight control journey try to NOT fall into the “FREE” deals that will ultimately derail our efforts to shed the weight.  Medical care is not “free” and if/when co-morbidities of poor weight control develop, LOTS of $$$ will be spent on doctors, tests, etc.

So, when a restaurant asks if there are any “special occasions”, say “we are celebrating our 10 years of sobriety AND 5 years free of diabetes”.  First, that is an answer they will not be expecting and second, that should produce the desired effect of not getting a free drink and/or a free dessert.  

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