The Secret to Dieting at Reenactments

The Secret to: Dieting at Reenactments

Dieting is hard. Reenacting is hard.

Doing both at the same time, nearly impossible. Right?

As I prepare to head to Conneaut for D-day Ohio this weekend, I’ve started thinking about how I am going to handle following a dairy free, nut free, keto diet while living in a tent for nearly a week. My diet, along with OMAD (one meal a day), has been working so well for my health, energy & weight for the past several months that I don’t want to completely give it up during the event. But while I’ve found ways to work my eating needs into daily life, I haven’t tried sticking to such a restrictive plan while in camp in many years.

I know there are others out there who follow special diets either for health reasons, because of illness or allergies or for religious reasons, so I am hoping these tips will help someone else as much as they are helping me.

How do you stick with a diet at reenactments?

Bring your own food.
Bringing your own food is pretty much a staple for anyone with special dietary needs or allergies. You can’t count on events or even your own friends to remember your particular food needs. Having a stash of your own food ensures that you won’t go hungry. There are lots of individually packaged food options these days. I’m especially fond of the little cups of olives & canned fish for those times when I need to eat, but the choices or timing just doesn’t work. They are enough to keep me going and well within my plan.

Bring your own “Booze” (real or fake).
Lets face it. Reenacting is a booze heavy hobby. If you don’t drink though, those after hours parties can seem lonely. Instead of avoiding the fun, try bringing your own “booze”, something special to drink in the evenings. No one needs to know that it’s non-alcoholic. I don’t drink soda usually, but a can or two of stevia sweetened Zevia rootbeer just might slip into my bag for the weekend. It’s festive enough without alcohol and is something I know I won’t regret drinking the next morning. This would also be a great excuse to try some period-correct “mocktail” recipes.

Think ahead, plan ahead.
If you’ve been to the event before, think about what the food situation was like. Were there options that fit your needs? Were the meal times ones that worked for your dietary habits? Consider everything you know about the previous food situation at the event & think of anything you can do to make it work for you. If you haven’t attended an event before, ask those who have and those in charge of the cooking. I’ve attended Conneaut enough to know that most of what is provided by the field kitchen isn’t something I can eat & it’s likely I will get hungry at times when there is no food available. But thanks to tip #1, I will be prepared!

Realize you might flub it.
Yes, really. You’re only human. It’s highly likely you might cave & have a piece of pizza Friday night. It’s not the end of the world if you have a bite of something that isn’t strictly on your diet (unless it’s a genuine health restriction of course). Because let’s face it, nothing is ever perfect. I’m already expecting that I will eat too many calories and will probably have some chocolate over the weekend. I will do my best, but I accept that just doing better than I did before is also success.

Find the other people who eat “like you”.
Everyone needs support but sometimes it feels strange to admit that you are on a diet to people at events. It’s easy to feel like you have to justify your food choices, or that you are being rude by refusing something that doesn’t fit your diet. But the truth is, everyone has to do what is best for themselves, whether strangers at event “agree” or not. Thing is, if you are upfront with others about what those choices are, you might be surprised. I learned this in June when I happened to mention to one of the guys at an event that I couldn’t eat some bread. Turned out he too had been eating a low carb diet for several months, had lost a bunch of weight & really loved eating that way. Instead of making fun of me or expecting me to explain my choice, he suggested running to the grocery store & picking up a couple roast chicken for the entire group. If I hadn’t said something, no one in the group (low carb eater or not) would have gotten a good dinner!

Get back on the horse Monday morning.
So you went off plan over the weekend, caved in to some bad food and too much booze. Don’t let that be an excuse to keep eating that way once you return home. Events are a blip in time, not everyday life. Have fun while you are out there but always remember, reality returns bright & early on Monday morning.

In the end, I hope these tips have helped a few of you in finding ways to stick with your diet & food needs while attending events.

See you in the past.