12 Tips for Beating The Social Overeating Habit

Beating diet disaster without being a social outcast


Over my years of counseling and helping people change their eating habits I have found the most challenging  and difficult issue are social gatherings. Holidays, work functions, family events, birthday parties, eating at restaurants, barbeques, watching the big game and going out for drinks seem to derail our best intentions  for maintaining clean eating habits.

There are numerous reasons for this: Distracted by conversation and munching mindlessly, nervous eating when you are not familiar with anyone at the event, boredom, and “just going along with what the crowd is ordering and eating” to name a few.

Here are a few tips that may help get you through the next event

  1. Be mindful when eating. Just simply notice your body’s actual hunger signals . Remember there are two types of hunger “Head Hunger” which is from external cues – mmm those fried chicken wings look really tasty ! And then there is real stomach hunger – that rumbling feeling that comes from your blood sugar dropping and your body asking for fuel.

  2. Monitor bodily feedback and sensations. Always ask yourself “am I really hungry?” Be aware of those hunger signals while you are eating and stop when you are 80% full

  1. Don’t go to an event hungry. Eat an apple and a small slice of low fat cheese. The apple contains pectin that swells in your stomach and gives you a sensation of fullness. The cheese contains protein which also makes you feel full.

  2. Don’t linger near the buffet. Actually engage in conversation with someone.

  3. Look over a buffet and make a conscious choice to eat whatever you want but don’t eat just because other people are eating . Same thing at a sit down table with a large group – don’t be afraid to order a salad with fish when everyone else is ordering chicken wings and ribs.

  4. At a stand up event keep one glass in your pocket and one hand with a drink or your choice. This will keep you from using the other hand to pick up food.

  5. Plan to cheat without guilt on special occasions when you choose to do so. Some events just call for splurging and feasting – Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries. It is better to just enjoy the food and get back to your plan the next day. One meal will not cause you to gain weight!

  6. Drink lots of water and eat very slowly. Join the slow food movement and savor every bite. Stop between bites sip water and engage in conversation. Slower eating allows your body’s satiety signals that say “enough with the food already” to come through.

  7. Resign from the clean plate – Leave a ¼ of your food on the plate and place your napkin over it . Get up and leave the table and tell your pushy food hostess that you are totally full.

There are some great ideas that can help you in social eating situations.

Do you have any you would like to share? Please email me at hartbody@gmail.com or post on my facebook page.

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