Staying Positive in Social Settings
You RSVP for a soiree and you have every intention to enjoy yourself. You're not fixated on what will be served, but you plan to stick to eating healthy. When you arrive, there's more food than you would ever need, healthy options are scant, and there's more than one person urging you to eat or drink up. Being in a social setting where it feels like food is the entertainment is a tough place to be. While you don't want to be off-putting by judging others' behavior, you don't have to give in to their expectations of your food intake. Choose to stay positive and avoid succumbing to the pressure to fit in.
It's Not Your Party
No matter how much people egg you on to eat or drink, your not doing so won't ruin the festivities. Don't explain why or how you eat, just pass the time, eat what is acceptable to you, and others' food fixation will likely pass. Try to move around, introduce yourselves to party goers, or talk it up with the host. He or she may need help of some kind and offering it will keep others' eyes off of your plate. If you make your eating habits the topic of conversation, you'll likely find yourself in an uncomfortable chat that's less than fun. If someone else asks you sincerely what you're doing, keep it short and personal. Going beyond that may come off as self-righteous or off-putting. No one comes to a party to get a list of food documentaries to watch.
What About You?
If you think how you eat is a distraction, a better one would be getting others' to talk about themselves. Most Americans have similar childhood experiences with television shows, games, and schools. If the topic of food comes up, you don't have to demonize your past. Use it as a way to find common ground with other party goers and laugh it up. Food is a normal part of life, so it's not always easy to deflect questions about eating, but you can always find a way to flip the conversation so that it stays positive. Many of us have stories about certain foods, family dinners, and eating out. Who said you have to have it on your plate to talk about it?
Go With the Flow
If it's time for a toast, grab a glass, if the birthday girl is cutting the cake, help take the picture. Don't turn your nose up at the role of food at celebrations. Shunning the smell of sausage or frowning at too much cheese on someone else's plate is a sign that you may be projecting negative feelings about food on others. Instead, eat what you eat, when you eat it, with a smile and don't make what you don't like at a party - the food - steal your joy in a social setting. It may be hard to overcome feeling awkward about what's on the table, but your presence is an indication that positive change is possible.
Do you eat or avoid foods you would usually not eat when in socials settings?