- Ever feel like you’ve blown your diet?
- Scared to eat food without a nutrition label?
- Learn an easy “trick” to help you eat anywhere
Scared to eat at a Halloween party, birthday bash, BBQ or family get-together?
I was. For 10 years every social engagement was an anxious event.
Walking into a party,
eating food you like and feel good about,
having great conversations
and going home with happy memories.
Don’t waste any more time being preoccupied by food choices, disappointed in yourself and depressed you’ve missed another opportunity to make the most of what could have been an awesome experience.
How? Read this post. The easy “trick” it shares was a game-changer for me.
Why I was scared to eat at parties
At home I had control over what I ate. But when I went out it was a whole different ball game.
There would be snacks and appetizers, followed by a meal and then dessert. And none of these foods had nutrition labels! So I didn’t know the:
of anything I ate.
Additionally, there was someone who’d organized the party—a host I didn’t want to offend.
At some point I’d eat something. Instantly regret it. Then be preoccupied for the rest of the party by confusion, worry and shame. I’d think:
Was it ok to eat that food?
Will I gain weight?
Why can’t I stick to my weight-loss plan?
Eventually I’d tell myself:
Then I’d officially be “off my diet.” (Translation: Eat whatever you want.) And plan to restart a new diet tomorrow.
Ultimately I was ingraining a self-defeating habit; I was restricting what I ate and then overeating… followed by restricting again. And it was all triggered by trying to eat THE PERFECT AMOUNT.
I had no idea this starve-binge pattern slows down your metabolism, encourages weight gain and makes you think about food waaaaaay more than you normally would.
Enjoy your life. Because if you don't something else will. It's not just cancer. Stress will. Debt will. Unhappiness will. If you don't enjoy your life, that thing will.— Rev. Iyanla Vanzant
… Instead of having fun at a party.
If this pattern sounds familiar, don’t worry. There’s good news. You can stop being scared to eat at parties or anywhere else. And lose weight.
Why you SHOULDN’T be scared to eat at parties
After years of dieting I finally lost weight. How? I stopped making weight-loss so d*mn complicated. Instead of looking at nutrition labels I started to focus on:
Eating roughly balanced meals and snacks made mostly of whole foods.
In other words:
And above all… be flexible!
If you feel like eating florescent orange Cheetos, eat florescent orange Cheetos. It’s ok to eat unnatural food once in a while. And healthier to eat them publicly then feel deprived and buy a big bag of florescent orange Cheetos to eat in private.
Moderation is key. In other words, eating a handful of florescent orange Cheetos or a few mini chocolate bars or a fistful of candy corns or other highly processed food occasionally, makes it easier to stay on track long term.
How to NOT be scared to eat
Ok! So now you’re at a party, surrounded by food. What should you do?
Here’s a recipe for success.
Plate, utensils and if you’re one of ’em fancy types, grab a napkin.
1. Look at the available food.
2. Decide what you feel like eating and put it on your plate. Choose foods from a variety of food groups that are as natural as possible. Visualize the Eatwell Guide. Allow for some richer or more processed food than you might normally eat.
3. When your plate is complete and you’re happy with your choices, find some interesting people and enjoy the company and cuisine.
Appetizers you might put on a plate:
A. cheese, crackers, grapes & hummus
B. pâté, crusty bread & a few sticks of celery
C. shrimp on a bed of lettuce with a spicy tomato sauce & some pretzels
D. chips, veggies & an onion dip
E. nuts, fruit & cheese
F. smoked salmon and cream cheese on crackers & a stack of cucumber
G. apple slices, bacon-stuffed mushrooms & a handful of florescent orange Cheetos
While these examples aren’t PERFECTLY balanced or made of only whole foods, it’s no big deal. Don’t get lost in the details!
You build a roughly balanced meal or snack made mostly of fresh foods.
Putting your food on a plate BEFORE you begin eating is a simple party trick that allows you to be:
- happy with your choices (vs. grazing throughout the party and having no idea what you ate)
- flexible to eat treats (which curbs cravings)
- present (rather than worry about what you ate)
Use this method to assemble snacks, appetizers and meals at a convenience store, when standing in front of your fridge, on a romantic picnic or when you’re at a Halloween party.
What about dessert?
Plate your dessert before you begin. It likely won’t be balanced or made of whole foods. But that’s ok! Unless you party every day. If that’s the case, skipping dessert once in a while or eating a smaller dessert portion will help you reach your weight-loss goals.
What happened when I stopped being scared to eat
Over the 10 years I struggled to lose weight I never would have eaten any of the previous appetizer examples much less dessert. Trying to eat THE PERFECT AMOUNT encouraged the starve, binge and purge cycle. And lead me to gain around 30 pounds, which I lost and regained 100’s of times.
Finally I got frustrated enough to ditch my label-loving ways and try a new, more natural approach.
For the last 19 years I’ve been a healthy weight. For the last 19 years I’ve eaten every meal and snack (and all the listed apps) by simply building roughly balanced meals made mostly of fresh food. Being flexible was also key. Having treats once in a while is part of losing weight for good.
If you’re used to all the messaging from the diet industry that focuses on:
- serving sizes
- % daily values
the back-to-basics method outlined in this post might spook you.
It would have shocked me!
But I hope you’ll have the courage to try it. I hope you’ll give it a go! It will help you lose weight and realize eating isn’t so exact.
Stop reading labels and start living!
Another trick is to treat your hostess
If you offer to bring your favourite healthy snacks or side dishes to a party you can ensure they’ll be some whole food options. And your friend or family member will appreciate your help.
Personally I LOVE fruit and vegetables. They’re packed with nutrients and fiber that help you fill up naturally.
I lost weight when I STOPPED following diet rules, tips and tricks. But for the purpose of this Halloween post please forgive my loose use of the word “trick”.
Make Today Count
Don’t be scared to eat at a party, worry you ruined everything and then decide to restart your diet tomorrow.
Try being more flexible with your food choices, today!
Your body and mind will thank you.
Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.
Now you have a simple plan for enjoying parties without being scared to eat food that doesn’t have nutrition labels. Stop trying to eat the PERFECT amount and start eating more naturally. If you want things to be different you need to try something different. Sign up for my newsletter (below) and you’ll receive one of the best strategies I learned.
What healthy starter or side dish do you like to bring to parties? Let me know in the comments below!
PS I won’t be going as a food label this year 🙂 I’ve only ever gone as a bee.
Sharing what I learned makes the 10 years I STRUGGLED worth it