The Chicken Dance

It seems like this is such a popular time of year for weddings. My husband Mike and I traveled to the Orlando area this past weekend to attend the wedding of my good friend Kelly Fields, who was also a Biggest Loser contestant. The ceremony was beautiful and it was nice to catch up with old friends.

But after we left the site of the wedding itself and traveled to the reception my mind started racing with what would be on the “menu” that I could eat or would want to eat. The problem is everything on the menu I would want to eat. But now I set limits for myself. And rarely—if ever—do I go blindly into a social situation involving food without first setting a “game plan.”

So I thought I’d share those thoughts with my blog readers. Because you too may be enjoying the wedding season and want to partake in the reception festivities without feeling like you’ve blown it.

Let’s face it, nothing can kill good intentions of healthy eating like walking into a wedding reception and getting smacked in the face by the smell of wedding cake and homemade potato salad.

My mother-in-law reminisces of the day when wedding receptions were a quaint time to greet the bride and groom, snack on a small handful of peanuts and enjoy a sliver of cake before throwing the rice and wishing the guests of honor the best for a happy life.

Those days are no more. Most wedding receptions now are full-blown catered meals! And decadence and lots of delicious food seem to prevail. Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to offer a beautiful spread for your guests. I don’t suggest that those planning the wedding alter their actions (much); but rather that those of us in attendance do. (However, if you are planning a wedding—be sure to include some items for your health-minded guests.)

Here are some of the practical things I do, that I wanted to share:

  • Don’t show up hungry.
  • Drink water.
  • Admire the cake from afar…
  • Get out on the dance floor.

Of course not all weddings offer dancing. But many do. Remember, if you participate in the planned activities (like “The Chicken Dance”), you can actually burn calories. But keep it off your plate.

Now if that sounds like I am trying to steal all your fun, maybe you can split a piece of cake with your spouse or a friend. But many wedding cakes are very sugary and a little taste is usually enough. Try fruit instead for a sweet alternative.

Drinking water is a wonderful habit in general and most wedding receptions have water as a beverage option. Unsweetened tea is also a good choice. Most wedding punches are very high in calories, and alcoholic drinks are also very caloric. By not drinking your calories you can spend them elsewhere.That’s really a good rule for any social event if you are trying to control your eating. Have a little healthy snack at home before you walk out the door.

I really don’t want my suggestions to ruin anybody’s fun. But I do want to encourage you to be deliberate in your choices when it comes to food not just at weddings, but any social event.

I thought back on what I might have indulged in a couple of years back at the same wedding. So I wrote down what I might have eaten, and then I decided to do a little research (at—just so you can have some information to make educated decisions I thought it was interesting to learn the following based on my old preferences:

1 slice of wedding cake (on the average) = 391 calories

  • 8 ounce punch = 120 calories
  • 1 ounce potato chips = 159 calories
  • 2 tablespoon onion dip 60 calories
  • 1 small brownie = 160 calories
  • 1 dinner roll = 180 calories
  • 1.5 ounce of ham = approximately 100 calories

For a total of: 1,161 calories

And that was probably the snack I’d have before leaving the reception and going to dinner with my husband. That’s an incredible amount of calories to spend in one sitting. So I thought about what I actually enjoyed at this particular wedding. Again, looked it up and was pleased with the alternative caloric count.

  • 1/2 cup pineapple = 39 calories
  • 8 ounce water = 0 calories
  • 5 fat free wheat crackers = 60
  • Carrot slices = approximately 15 calories
  • 1 ounce of sliced turkey breast = 51 calories

For a total of: 165 calories

I enjoyed socializng, flapped my arms and wiggled to “The Chicken Dance” and left the reception feeling great! So just keep simple things like this in mind if you are headed to a wedding in the weeks to come. You’ll be so glad you did.

About Julie Hadden

I'm Julie Hadden and for the past few years I've been on quite journey. My experience on Season 4 of "The Biggest Loser" resulted in a total transfomation in my life. What started out being about what I could "lose" turned more into what I "gained." God revealed great truths to me about the infinite WORTH we all possess in His eyes and I'm passionate about sharing what I learned through this process. View all posts by Julie Hadden

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