If you know that you have an event coming up on your calendar, during which food will be involved, it can be a great idea to pre-eat before attending the event. Pre-eating will ensure you have the nutrients you need for your day and that you’re full and satiated, during the event. When you’re nourished and full, you will be much less likely to be tempted off your plan and away from your goals. Additionally, if someone offers you a food you don’t wish to eat, you can simply respond politely, “Thank you, but I’ve already eaten.”
If you’re attending the social function with a friend or close family member, you can notify them in advance that you’re working on a specific goal or way of eating. This way you won’t be caught off-guard or feel a need to explain to your friend/family during the social situation.
Holding a glass of water during the event may also help limited uncomfortable inquiries or interactions. People often feel naturally compelled (out of politeness or concern) to check that their guests have food or drink, and if you’re not holding a beverage, they seem to be more compelled to insist you must need something. Holding a beverage at an event, has helped me to visually convey to others that I’m well and satisfied, and it helps to avoid a conversation about why I’m not eating or drinking other things.
If the event includes meat, fill your plate and enjoy! Dr. Shawn Baker recently commented about the “decoy broccoli” – I love this phrase. If it helps to allow the restaurant to serve your steak alongside a piece of vegetable, go ahead and allow it on your plate (just not in your mouth)! It’s amazing how people will feel calmed by coach seeing the decoy broccoli (or decoy lemon wedge, or decoy carrot, or decoy anything!) on your plate. People are less likely to interrogate you about what you’re eating, if your plate looks more like their plate. Over the long-term, we become more comfortable with our choice and less concerned about what others think, but when initially making a change, there is some value and benefit in “blending-in” as it may help you reach your goals.
Lastly, but very importantly, when in social situations, remember to focus on the reason you are attending the event. Your purpose is generally about seeing friends, loved ones, or associates and it is not about the food. This is a good time to practice staying mindful in the social situation. Observe others and their interactions. Ask questions and really listen to people’s answers. And enjoy yourself!
You will have more energy to have a good time, socialize, and be an interesting guest because you’re not focused on food.