What Events Get You?

Here’s my latest post on the Dr. Oz Blog! Will I Fit?

Social events are part of our culture. There are office parties, weddings, baby showers, dinners with friends, family celebrations, reunions, pot luck suppers, dinner clubs, etc. When I see those events all listed in one place it makes me stressed. It reminds me of all the office parties and social situations I attended during the 10 years that I struggled with obesity.

Certain social situations were easy. Easy in that I didn’t have a hard time controlling my food intake. Other situations were extremely challenging to me. I fared much better when I was served a preportioned plate, such as at a sit-down wedding. Then I just ate what was offered and having seconds was out of the question, because it would be embarrassing to ask the server for more food!

I didn’t do so well with events where the food was laid out as pretty as a picture. No – those events were a disaster waiting to happen. It didn’t matter if I were “dieting” or not. When I walked into a room where the food was free for taking any resolve I had possessed during the day disappeared like a mist in the sun. I felt sneaky sometimes as after I went through the line the first time I’d send John or one of the kids back for more cake or cookies. I’d ask other people if they would like something and get their request while at the same time getting something for myself.

Like it or not, the fabric of our lives includes social events. I think that learning to handle ourselves with regards to food at these kinds of functions is vital to our weight loss AND weight maintenance success. Here are my top 10 tips for handling social food situations while trying to eat right.

10 Tips for Social Eating

  1. If you can, bring one or more of the dishes. This puts you in the driver’s seat.
  2. Don’t be afraid to call ahead and ask what’s planned for the menu. Then you can decide ahead of time what you will eat.
  3. Drink up before you go. This helps you feel more full.
  4. Use the smallest plate available, or if none is available, visually divide your plate in half and only fill up half.
  5. Focus on the healthier options that are there. Try your best to ignore the fried chicken, and instead gravitate towards the fruit or veggie tray.
  6. Don’t go back for seconds, unless it’s for more salad!
  7. Ask your spouse or friend to be your accountability partner if that would help you.
  8. Have a snack on the way there. Arriving at a function starving is a recipe for disaster.
  9. Rate the tempting foods. If they aren’t a “10” in your book, then pass completely.
  10. Don’t be afraid to say no. It’s your body and your weight. Don’t let other people push food on you.

In addition to the above tips, I think that planning ahead as best as you can is vital to coming through social situations unscathed and victorious.

Question: What events “get you” and how do you attend them without going off your plan?  Diane

25 thoughts on “What Events Get You?

  1. Susan says:

    All the social situations you mentioned used to get to me. My best advice is not to go into them hungry try to have a healthy snack before. Now days I try to remember that I have ate it before I know what it tastes like its not new and I deserve better than to eat things I know are bad for my body!
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Fitness Blogging Resumes =-.

  2. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    I struggle with my book club. There is food sitting in front of us as we chat for a couple of hours. And it is always provided only by the hostess. Sometimes there is something healthy in the mix and I eat that. Sometimes I just abstain. Sometimes I really dread going because of the temptation. Sigh.
    .-= Karen@WaistingTime´s last blog ..The Witching Hours =-.

  3. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    For me, the best way to not overdo it is to load up on salad first. Usually that’s my favorite thing there anyway (I hate onions, but most people love ’em, which means when I go anywhere I have to avoid about half of all foods) and it fills me up. Then I go for the other foods. And I always factor dessert into my meal before eating dinner. I’d much rather skimp on appetizers or entrees at an event than miss the dessert.
    .-= Tracey @ I’m Not Superhuman´s last blog ..You Asked, Part 1 =-.

  4. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, always such good advice!

    I just do my own thing & since I have been at this for years & years, I don’t care if people look at me weird. I definitely say the NO word to things I don’t want or are not worth it! I don’t eat just becasue.

    I also plan AND if there will be nothing I want to invest my calories on, I sneak my own food or even a bar in to the event. I just am not going to eat something if it is not worth it or I will not enjoy it…
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Eating While Traveling =-.

  5. Diane says:

    One thing I have found to be a handy survival trick at all of the above is to put food on my plate and then get so busy talking that I don’t eat. I am that person that has the same plate of food in front of me for most of the event that gets tossed at the end. For some reason I have always been able to strike up conversations with total strangers that last for a long time, and I would honestly rather talk or do anything with words than eat or anything with food.
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..To be 9 again =-.

  6. Marcelle says:

    I dont eat red meat, so often have been to events where I’ve had to take my own food…
    If hubby’s work has a function I always offer to make a salad as they put lots of mayo and HAM in every salad..its a German thing.
    When I first arrived I sad and ate a dry roll….as there was only red meat, now they do provide turkey or chicken…or I take my own.
    we dont go out often enough that this becomes a problem, but there have been a few times I’ve been in a pickle.

  7. Emergefit says:

    I like this Diane, and I think there are some good tips here; 1-9, but #10 is the one that matters most. An adult would not let another adult put a cigarette in his or her mouth. Why then, should we let another adult put chocolate cake in our mouth…? When people start looking at unhealthy foods, junk foods, as they look at cigarettes, perhaps change can be had. That’s one thing that my mom taught me very early, and it’s so important; junk food is called junk food for a reason — regardless of the occasion.
    .-= Emergefit´s last blog ..Game off… Game on… =-.

  8. Donna says:

    Diane, This post spoke to me (as always. Reception food is always a huge temptation for me. Church potluck suppers, office parties, buffet lines,–I go hog wild. Everything looks good and I feel like I have to sample it all. I am annoyed when they give you a tiny plate–I usually need two. But, if I am going to have a successful weight loss, I know I need to follow your advice. I like the idea of eating and drinking ahead of time–that make sense, setting yourself up for success, not defeat. I have tried rating my food as your advised, and that really works for me. So often things look better than they actually taste. I need to leave it on my plate and only eat what I really love.

  9. Erin says:

    I attend alot of banquets/fundraisers in my community and with my job. I always eat a giant salad before going to an event like that, because catered food is hard to decipher without nutrition information available. I always gravitate to the protein and vegetables, say no to bread/potatoes and load up on salad. I avoid anything with cream sauce or mystery dishes. I always keep a Larabar or homemade granola bar in my purse, just in case.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..CHOCO BERRY, baby! =-.

  10. RNegade says:

    I struggle on traditional holidays. Not so much the eating part, but with other people’s expectations of joy and happiness abiding in me. The less fuss I make over a holiday, the better. It all stems from having extremely miserable/traumatic holidays as a kid (residual PTSD symptom). Trying to pretend only makes it worse.

    However, I do quite well when I simply treat a holiday like any other day.

    Now my family and friends know: if they want me to sparkle and have a fabulous time, we’ll get together on any day OTHER THAN a holiday.

  11. She-Fit says:

    These are great tips! I always find that parties are the hardest times to stay on track… especially if they are for me. I always find an excuse to eat more since it’s my “special” day. Great post!
    .-= She-Fit´s last blog ..15 minute Workout =-.

  12. Brenda says:

    good post!! The main ‘event’ that get’s me is my husbands family reunion 4th of July. It is a small gathering at his Aunts and all of his cousins and family (they are all naturally fit/slim and I never felt like I ‘fit in’…
    His aunt always requested my ‘pink fluff desert’ which I will never make again (very very high calorie and nothing good) or my Peanut butter pie (another recipe I threw away after getting healthy)…
    They still request my high cal/fat dishes but I never do. I bring fruit/ or apple salad instead. They only started to act like they wanted to get to know me AFTER I lost weight. I kinda feel like they would like to sabatog my success. Guess I outsmarted them lol.
    .-= Brenda´s last blog ..Quinoa garden cakes =-.

  13. John says:

    Good tips!

    I have only allowed myself to go a bit off plan at family events so far. If it’s a poker night with the boys I stick with the plan. Seems to be working so far so hopefully it continues. Luckily we don’t have too many family events each year 🙂

  14. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    I used to use “special occasions” as an excuse to overeat. I use all the tips you’ve listed. I also had to acknowledge that there are no excuses to overeat (this was actually key for me; I really had to change my mindset). There is nothing wrong with indulging a bit (a few bites of a 10!) once in a while (and balancing it out the rest of the day), but it has to be within reason…
    .-= Andrea@WellnessNotes´s last blog ..Mother’s Day Recap =-.

  15. Carla says:

    When I was young there wasn’t food always around, but now I am married to an Italian and there are piles of food at every gathering! And the food is most often so good! So it’s really hard sometimes. I don’t really have any great strategy, I’m still learning how to handle these situations myself!
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..Raspberries and other treats =-.

  16. Babbalou says:

    I just returned from a long weekend at a resort with three buffet meals a day. I told myself I wasn’t going to diet, but also wasn’t going to indulge in a feeding frenzy. I did pretty well, fortunately there were many salads (in a country that doesn’t use mayo) so I could try 3 or 4 salads and have small servings of the main course. For dessert, my weakness, I served myself a small serving and got a cup of tea at the same time. After eating the dessert, the tea was right there to distract me. Enjoying the tea was a sign that I was done. I also started a conversation with my husband, my thought was that if I were talking and drinking tea I would forget about dessert. It helped, no second pass by the dessert area for me.

  17. Julie Lost and Found says:

    For me, it’s most family events. Particularly birthday parties (or anything with cake) and cookouts. Most of my family overeats and they’re Italian and there’s always tons of food.

    The most difficult is visiting my folks on Cape Cod which is usually a weekend event. I tend to drink..a lot..of wine. Probably for self preservation! We also eat out a lot, have lots of cheese and crackers, and my mother and grandmother think they’re weight loss experts and want to tell me how to do it because after all, they’ve lost “thousands of pounds” (their words not mine)

    At Christmas this past year, I was very prepared and literally just drank water the entire time and didn’t put so much as a carrot stick in my mouth so as not to go off plan.
    .-= Julie Lost and Found´s last blog ..If You Feel Like Dying, Take a Hike….. =-.

  18. Michelle @ Eatingjourney says:

    one thing I try and do is to not focus on the food at all. I have found SO many time when I didn’t actually enjoy the people that I was around. How many times have I gone to a party and focused SOLELY on what I could and/or couldn’t eat, instead of focusing on making friends and enjoying my time?

    So yes, there are strategies. but it boils down to something, for me that is much larger, not hiding behind the food.
    .-= Michelle @ Eatingjourney´s last blog ..I need to get real for a second…I am scared. =-.

  19. Joe says:

    In my line of work we have to entertain a great deal. Last week two high end steak houses in 5 days. It’s tough. I try to work out a little longer the morning of a nice dinner, stay away from the booze and alternate a fish / vegetarian meal in.

  20. Quix says:

    Anything with snackies sitting out on a table. If it’s a restaurant thing I can pick the healthy plate, but when it’s a table full of nibbles I can just have a taste. And another. And then I’ve consumed 1000 calories and I’m STILL not full.
    .-= Quix´s last blog ..A Sack of Air =-.

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