Dieting and meetups

Tonight I’m looking forward to attending one of my favourite meetups in the web community, Front End London. However of late it’s been becoming a bit of a burden to attend great meetups like this, which is all due to the fact I’m currently “dieting”.

I’ve been overweight for pretty much all of my adult life. Of which I’m relatively comfortable to admit. It’s always been an issue but not one I’ve taken relatively seriously until recently. In the last couple of years since moving to London I became a pretty enthusiastic cyclist, but without a change in diet my weight hasn’t really changed.

Recently I had what Timothy Ferris refers to as “The Harajuku Moment” in his tome “The 4-hour body“. The point when I finally realised that I need to seriously take an interest in my health and do something about my weight. Since then I’ve been sticking relatively strictly to the “Slow Carb Diet” which Ferriss describes in the book and it’s definitely had a noticable effect. I’ve managed to lose nearly 10Kg since I started back in August. Although to be completely honest it could have been a lot better had I been more strict since I started. But as I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to a few countries I’ve never visited before this autumn, there’s no way I wasn’t going to be trying the best of the local cuisine!

Progress has been steady, but since August, I think one of the most frustrating things I’ve encountered is being able to continue attending meetups in the same way I used to. Typical to most meetups the food and drink they provide is whatever is the best value for money based on the number of people they have attending. Usually this means pizza and beers.

The simple fact that most events I attend are self-funded by the hosts or funded by very limited sponsorship means to get the best out of their money, events have to go for the most affordable option. Pizza and beer also probably covers about 95% of the attendees of events anyway, so it makes it a pretty obvious choice.

This is by no means the start of a rant, complaining that events should be more thoughtful about their audience, providing a variety of meal options instead of just pizza like everyone else. I attend these meetups completely for free and I think they’re great value for money. I used to be able to attend an event every week or so having my dinner paid for and being able to have a few beers with friends. What’s there to complain about? I’ve also organised events and I know how hard it is to work with the expectations of attendees. Even trying to provide a unique option in terms of food and beers was an anxious and expensive feat to attempt. It’s only something we were only able to do through some good sponsorship negotiation and holding the meetup once every three months instead of monthly.

I guess what this post is more about is that due to my situation I now don’t feel I enjoy meetups as much as I used to. For me it’s as much about meeting new people and catching up with friends as it is attending for the talks, followed by the interesting discussion we have after all the talks as well. I can still enjoy some of the meetup but often I find myself now having to leave a bit earlier so I can go home and eat a proper meal. Or not stay out drinking as much because water isn’t quite like a good beer, you can’t drink more than a pint or two before you’re done.

In a way I’m asking for people to bear with me when I turn down offers of pizza or maybe complain a bit that I’m hungry – it’s still a struggle to avoid all the good food that you really do want! Or not give me a hard time when I ask for a water at the bar instead of a pint – believe me this is even harder for me when we’re at the Earl of Essex after a good FEL!

So to sum up my non-ranty post about dieting and events. Dieting sucks! It’s not fun to do and it’s really boring not being able to eat good food and drink good beer when I want anymore. Events are great, and I have nothing against any of them for providing free pizza and beer, if you’ve read this and think I’m complaining about that, you’re wrong. It just sucks going to these events while attempting to stay on a strict diet and needing to use all the will-power to make sure you just have a glass of water instead of that tasty tasty pale ale at the pub afterwards!

For now, it might just mean that I attend a few less events for a while in an attempt to avoid some of the temptation. I’ll be at events when I can and feel like I have the will-power to survive watching 50+ people gorging on pizza. If I can get a glass of water (or even a glass red wine – it’s allowed on the diet! WIN!) then you’ll have a friend and attendee in me for the future!

In the meantime, I’ll see some of you at FEL tonight!