Let me start out by saying that I hear so many people saying "I don't want to go on a diet" or "I don't do diets." I agree with the underlying sentiment that certain ways of eating are unsustainable, and it's not worth doing if you lose weight but you gain it all back and then some once you go off the "diet."
However... that's not how I mean the word "diet." I'm using it in the sense that everything you eat, every day of your life... that's your diet. A lot of the people reading this have probably realized just how much diet influences the way we feel. That's one of the main reasons I'm a coach... I've experienced that for myself and I want to help more people experience it!
It can be really frustrating when we have healthy eating habits 80 or 90% of the time...and then we deviate wildly from those habits at a social gathering and feel nasty for a day or three afterwards.
It can feel like a loss of control...like we have the best intentions, but get to the party and eat everything in sight. It can feel like a real drag...like we can't even enjoy the party because we're so worried about what we're going to eat.
Hold on there. It doesn't have to be that way. Maybe you can't have your cake and eat it too, but you CAN go to the party without spending the next three days regretting it. Over the years I've developed this list of tips to make social gatherings less fraught. Once you set up some new habits that help you, you'll find yourself spending less and less time worrying or mentally fighting yourself. These will take some work at first, but the eventual goal is a sense of ease!
Make a plan/do a bit of research. If you feel comfortable doing this, ask the party host what is being served or check out the restaurant menu online.
Don't show up starving. Fill up with healthy food earlier in the day to minimize the damage.
Likewise, don't show up thirsty. We sometimes mistake thirst for hunger, and it also won't help your diet to drink your body weight in cocktails.
If it's a setting where it would be acceptable to bring your own food (such as a potluck), do so. Then you're guaranteed to have at least one healthy option.
Once you get there, take a deep breath and try to relax. Many (if not most) of us deal with at least a little social anxiety, and this can cause mindless munching.
Go for the vegetables if there are any.
Don't stand next to the food. Again, it helps to avoid mindless munching if you have to walk across the room to refill your plate...and chances are, you'll get caught up in conversation and never make it back to the buffet.
If there's something special that looks simply HEAVENLY, give yourself permission to try it. Have one bite (or a few), and savor it. Then step away.
If you eat more or make different food choices than you intended, don't beat yourself up. As quickly as possible, move on and get back to your healthy habits.
Got any tips to add? Please share them in the comments! And best wishes for a healthy, happy summer!
Want more support around healthy eating? Take a look at my 21 day clean eating and exercise support group.