Now that you’re managing your weight, social settings are…let’s say… different. Maybe you’re getting more attention, have more energy, or you’re realizing that many social situations are centered on food. Some of these things are huge positives, but it’s change – and change can be hard. So how do you deal with it?
Refocusing Social Events
Your weekly night out or summer barbecue might be more challenging now that you’re focused on weight and health. You’re surrounded by food and drinks, and you may find it difficult to balance your weight management goals alongside having fun. Before you head off to some summer fun, ask yourself the following:
What’s the purpose?
Why are you meeting up with friends? Is it solely to eat food, or is to be social and spend time together? Keep your energy on the latter. Also, spend time at the event with the people who are going to support your efforts. If Sabotage Sue or Negative Nancy will be there, think about spending more time with Supportive Sarah instead so that you leave feeling motivated by the social activity.
Is there going to be something for me to eat there?
Don’t be afraid to call ahead, speak to the host, bring a healthy dish to pass, bring your own food or eat before you go. If you’re not going to feel good about the food options, it’s not worth ruining a good social experience!
Depending on where you are in your journey or what the event is, you may also consider sidelining the event. If you need more confidence in navigating the situation, it’s okay to turn the invite down. You’re getting stronger every day, so keep building your toolkit and take the social leap the next time around.
Have I taken care of myself today?
Before heading into a social outing, make sure you’ve fueled properly for the day. Don’t skip meals or snacks or you’ll head into the party hangry! You’ll be more likely to overeat or be tired from low-calorie intake and not have fun.
Make sure you’ve had a good night’s sleep as well. Being tired can cause elevated hormone levels, making you hungrier and less satisfied after a meal. Plan on getting to bed early the night before, eat every 3-4 hours leading up to the event and drink plenty of water – both before heading out and while you’re at the event.
What’s My Plan?
Head into the activity with intent. Think about how the food and drinks will fit into your overall meal plan, how much you plan to eat and how you are going to eat. For example, plan on using a small plate, filling it with protein and veggies and eating while sitting down… away from where the food is served.
If all of this is not possible, strive to be aware and mindful of the circumstances and remember: one meal doesn’t make it or break it. Also, plan for alcohol. Does a drink fit into your meal plan? Does alcohol cause you to eat more? Everybody is different, so know yourself!
How Can I Forgive Myself?
The event didn’t go as smoothly as you had hoped, but guess what? The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up. Instead of throwing in the towel or being frustrated with yourself, think about what you can do differently next time.
There is a huge learning curve for major lifestyle changes. Learn from your mistakes and reach out for support! Take some time to reflect if you can, and share your revised plan with a friend, family member or healthcare provider to keep yourself accountable.
Remember: life is a journey, not a destination. So keep navigating the social waters one event at a time!
About the Author:
Melissa Majumdar has helped patients navigate lifestyle changes and achieve their weight goals for almost 10 years. She currently works with patients pursuing bariatric surgery in Boston, Massachusetts. She is an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Media Spokesperson and spends her free time running and cooking with her husband and two children.
Follow Melissa on Instagram! @melissard_eatfitlive