My Social Eating Challenge: There's a Reason People Call It a Journey!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This has been my #1 struggle-really!!!

In elementary school teacher culture, I hear this every single day: "Oh, the kids are crazy today. I deserve this brownie." That took some REAL work to say, "Actually, the stress is significant, I'm going to have my bite of dark chocolate and really enjoy it, and I'll relive my stress by going to the gym today after school/talk to a friend/get a hug from my husband, etc."

Over my weight loss, I realized that I'm actually a bit nervous when I go to parties and tend to hang out by the food table to start conversations around the delicious choices. After I figured out that I was actually worthwhile talking to about other things, I started empowering myself. On Superbowl Sunday, I brought a HUGE tray of veggies that I liked (not the lame stuff at the grocery store) with salsa, and I ate all day. I had something like 5 cups of raw vegetables with a cup of salsa, so I could keep eating with very little damage. Another trick I use is to eat my protein and veggie at home so I can budget for one beer/wine at the party. I always offer to bring veggies and/or fruit.

My friends are now all used to me ordering dry chicken breast and steamed veggies/salad at restaurants, and they were all supportive and encouraging. I always scout the restaurant nutrition info ahead of time so I can make choices that don't require modification, if possible. That helped!

With that all said, I have identified my trigger social food as cheese. If someone has some nice, room-temperature brie out with bread, it will set off an entire binge evening. I'm not to a place where I can even have a bite of cheese, but I have managed to be satisfied with a bite of one or two special things at a party.

I have also learned that I am very much a "one off meal a week" kind of girl. I don't have intense food cravings anymore, but having that one meal (and yes, it can only be one) to just turn off the number chatter, go over my calorie budget, practice fullness vs. stuffed cues, is just enough to turn off my defiant inner child. I frequently plan it to match up with a social event. Sometimes, I still eat to "stuffed," but I'm getting much better about it. Some weeks I don't even want an off meal, or the meal is what I would consider what a person not focused on weight loss would eat, more like 600-700 calories instead of 300-400.

I'm so glad this thread came up!! My weight loss has not been private because I'm such a social person! Every person in my life knows about my ups and down, including certain coworkers, and they help me keep choices in check when I'm feeling like indulging. Sparkpeople help so much!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Your progress is have inspired me to re-start my weight loss journey. I was comforted reading this least I am not the only one who struggles with social eating :) once I eat my trigger foods like pizza, pastas or cookies and chocolates - I just can't seem to stop myself :(
    I am trying to eat better and work out...I hope you don't mind...I've added you as a friend.
    2784 days ago
  • ASCHU2
    AmberLynn, I'm glad you added me as a spark friend! We all need help from time to time, and most days, I need help every day!! :) We can keep talking about social eating, publicly or privately. I have truly taken hold of my emotional eating when I'm alone, but now that I'm getting close to my maintenance weight, I am still just grappling with social situations. I am lucky enough that all of friends and family know about my goals, and they are supportive enough to NOT comment when they see me overeating at a party. Maybe it's time for me to be brave enough to ask them TO talk to me about it when they see me standing by the food table, because my self-esteem has improved enough to (hopefully) see it as support and not "telling me what to do." Hmmm...

    2912 days ago
    I saw your post on the Social Eating thread. Your post really made me think & I realize cheese is my trigger food as well- even after I just found out that I have a sensitivity/allergy to it! I think I am going to work towards giving it up, like I have my other trigger foods. I can't do small doses- I always want more! Social eating is my#1 problem as well! I really need to work on it. Your weight loss is inspiring- great job!! You look awesome! :) Hope you don't mind I added you as a friend!
    2913 days ago
    I work in an elementary school also and hear the same rationalizations for eating. The staff room does not change over the years with its treats and lunches that are not healthy. I have been criticized for eating healthy at work. However, now people are used to seeing me eating salads.
    I am glad you have co-workers who support you. I think you have developed excellent strategies for maintaining your weight loss and dealing with social situations. I often eat before a social event also.
    I like your idea of having a fun meal once a week., so you don't feel deprived.
    I also scout menus ahead of time.
    I also stay away from trigger foods.

    Great job on learning about maintenance!

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    2998 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/15/2013 8:34:44 AM
    emoticon emoticon
    2998 days ago
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