January 20

Don’t Let Your Next Social Function Throw You Off Your Diet Plan


by Rob Baker

Most family, social, and professional engagements revolve around food. Maintaining personal dietary goals during such events can be challenging, especially if the meal is buffet-style or contains some of your favorite dishes.

Most social engagements are designed to celebrate milestones, like birthdays, weddings, promotions, retirements, etc. During celebrations, societal norms teach us it is Ok to indulge; In fact, some people feel it is mandatory. However, your dietary goals and commitments to your health are equally, if not more important than these celebratory meals.

No one is saying you can't enjoy the gatherings and even indulge a little. The key to not failing your diet is control, and there are many ways to control yourself at social events when food pressure is at its peak.

Hunger Is Your Enemy

The one thing you need to know is hunger is your enemy. If sticking to your diet is important to you, the worst thing you can do is go to a dinner party hungry. Regardless of what meal is being served — breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner — you will want to eat something before leaving for the event.

It is not necessary to eat a full-blown meal, but you should eat a snack. A piece of fruit, a serving of yogurt, or any snack that fits into your program can help take the edge off your hunger when going to a party. If you arrive less hungry, you are less likely to indulge and more likely to make intelligent choices.

Appeasement and Politeness Are not the Same

Between the food, drinks, and alcohol, you will probably receive multiple requests to try this food or take a sip of that cocktail. It is normal to feel pressured to succumb to the requests because you do not want to appear rude or ungrateful, but the truth is appeasing countless offers is not the same as being polite.

You do not have to accept more food or drinks to be polite. You can politely refuse. A simple "no, thank you" is more than enough. You also do not need to feel the need to explain yourself: your diet, your body, your choice. 

Companionship Can Make All the Difference

Is your significant other or close friend also dieting? Consider asking them to come with you to the event. Having a food ally can help make the occasion less tempting and more relaxing. It is easier to celebrate and have a good time when you have a comrade in dietary arms and are not worried about making poor nutritional decisions.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind Is Real

If the event involves a buffet and an open bar, consider sitting away from both. If you do not have a choice of table, think about switching seats so your back can be to the potential temptations.

While you know the food is behind you, you no longer have to stare at it, which often makes a significant difference in wanting. Focus on the people around you and get lost in conversation. If conversation isn't your thing, then get up and dance — if it's that kind of party.

Calendars Hold No Power Over You

Many people feel they are victims of a packed calendar, but they are victims of being too agreeable. You have the power to say no to social events. The best way to avoid food temptations is to avoid them. Don't crowd your calendar with too many parties and social gatherings. 

You have control over your diet, so never let others make you feel like you don't. Have more tips? Leave a comment.


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