Food and social events: How to enjoy the party without obsessing over the food

 Parties. Events. Celebrations.

 

They’re everywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s the dead of winter or the middle of summer, you’re often surrounded by food everywhere you turn.

 

The truth is, the only way we really know how to party is with food. So, we have food at big events such as holidays and celebrations. But, we also may be surrounded by food at the seemingly small things such as at work every day or at an intimate gathering of book club members.

 

Food surrounds us.

 

And if you don’t have a good relationship with it or feel like you have control over your choices, then you probably really struggle at any type of event where food is present.

 

So, your choices are to skip all the events so you can stay safe and in control over your eating habits, or find a way to enjoy the party without the guilt of overeating or indulging beyond your goals and desires.

 

I hope you’re here today because you want to take part in all the action life has to offer you without worrying about your lack of self control when it comes to the availability of food.

 

WHAT TO DO WHEN FOOD IS STARING YOU IN THE FACE

 

MAKE A PLAN AHEAD OF TIME

 

This is key. If you know you’re going to a party where there will be all kinds of tempting foods served, make a plan. Be prepared for the emotions you will experience and create a plan of action for the event.

 

For example, you’re celebrating a holiday with friends and everyone is asked to bring something to contribute - a sort of potluck situation. You know this typically means there will be plenty of chips, soda, and desserts, some of which you really love.

 

Instead of feeling helpless and wondering if you should even go, try making a clear plan ahead of time to make yourself feel comfortable and in control. Take a dish that is healthy, fills you, and satisfies you. At least you know there will be something there that will feel good to eat. Then, make a choice about the things you will eat at the party.

 

If you want to enjoy some chips and dip, then make the decision ahead of time that you will only grab one serving, eat it, and not go back for seconds. Or maybe you love desserts and there are always so many options. Decide ahead of time that you will choose 1-2 desserts to enjoy and stop there.

 

Lastly, if you’re worried about not feeling full and eating more junk to satisfy you, try eating a little something healthy and filling before the party. This will help you eat less when you actually get there.

 

The key is to go in with a plan. Just like sports psychologists work with athletes to visualize the exact execution of their events, you can do the same with food. It might sound silly, but create a detailed plan in your mind. You’ll be surprised that you’re actually very likely to follow it when you get to the event!

 

CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF

 

The number one key to staying consistent with your nutrition is to know where you stand. So, before you eat anything, ask yourself one question.

 

“Where am I at?”

 

This one question can guide you through listening to your body’s signals and learning to find contentment with food regularly.

 

In fact, have you checked in on your hunger and fullness levels lately? I have a pretty cool handout that will help you better understand your hunger and fullness levels and what to do about them, plus other worksheets to help you with your nutrition. You can access them in my free resource library here.

 

As you go throughout the party, just keep asking yourself that question. When you get to the party, what are your hunger levels? Do you need a meal or just a snack? Then eat as if you would a meal. Don’t graze and go back and forth, but rather grab what you need on your plate and eat it. Then...

 

STEP AWAY

 

When you have eaten to a satisfied level of fullness and according to the plan you created ahead of time, stop. Just stop.

 

Then step away from the food. Join in on the other activities, talk to friends, and enjoy the party. It’s so much easier to avoid the munchies when you’re farther away from the food.

 

This is a great idea for any situation. If you like to munch at home, get out of the kitchen. If you struggle with the breakroom at work, maybe eat your lunch outside away from all the extra food.

 

The key is to just step away and forget about it. It doesn’t have to control you. In fact, be proud of yourself for listening to your hunger and fullness levels.

 

EVALUATE

 

The last thing to do is evaluate how you did.

 

Change won’t occur overnight. Just with anything else, this takes practice. It takes learning from your experiences and trying something different to get to the place you want to be. To make peace with food.

 

Every time you are in a situation where you feel out of control with food or struggle with overeating or guilt, analyze what happened. Did you have a plan in place ahead of time or did you just show up and hope something would be different? Do you struggle with a certain kind of food or foods at every situation? Try my mindful eating meditation script to help you learn to mindfully eat a difficult food in moderation.

 

The key is to constantly check in with yourself. Check in with your progress. Celebrate the successes and learn from the frustrations.

 

If you’re interested in learning how to take more control over emotional eating and make better peace with food, please join my free course to help guide you step by step to building a better relationship with your food and your emotions.