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Biggest Loser Blog Series: Social Eating

Updated: Aug 13, 2018

Group of adults sharing delicious food at wood table
Social Eating and How to handle food pushers

One of the most difficult aspects of any weight reduction program occurs when you are in social situations where other people are eating and expect you to eat.  There is no doubt that eating has, in many ways, become almost a recreational pastime in America.  When people get together to socialize, there is usually lots of food and drink.  Many people seem to think that being a good host or hostess means getting your guests to eat and drink as much as possible.  Eating out in a restaurant is also one of the great American pastimes.  No date seems complete without going somewhere for food and drinks.  Merely on the basis of the environmental cues, it is apparent that these sorts of situations could present a great problem to people trying to lose weight.  Nonetheless, there are ways in which you can deal with these situations so that they do not interfere with your efforts to lose weight.  You need not withdraw from people and avoid social situations.

The first thing you need to do is be honest with people you plan on getting together with and, in fact, elicit their cooperation.  When you are invited somewhere, let them know that you are trying to lose weight and you are being very selective about your foods.  If you let these people know that you are not being antisocial, you will find that most people will be very cooperative.  If they are at all sensitive, they will help you by not pushing food and drinks at you.

At larger get-togethers, there always seems to be one insensitive person who is going to do his or her best to get you to eat or drink something.  These individuals seem to be everywhere.  This is a very critical moment for you and you will have to do your best to overcome this pressure.  Many people succumb to the pressure when in this situation.  But they end up feeling worse for giving in.  The best way to deal with this type of person is to be very direct and assertive.  It is frequently sufficient to communicate the message that you are presently in the process of losing weight and you appreciate it if they would stop doing what it is they were doing to make it difficult for you.  

Most “normal” people will respond to this sort of firmness and directness.  Many people seem to believe that the sky will fall in if they are assertive in this manner.  That is not the case.  It is possible to communicate this so that nobody gets his or her feelings hurt.  Periodically, you might encounter somebody who, despite all your efforts, persists in pressuring you to eat.  If that happens, you need to make a decision whether to be more direct or simply leave altogether.  You would probably like to dump a bowl of spaghetti over this fellow’s head about this time, and this is a possibility.  Many of us, however, are not quite that assertive and would tend to fear possible repercussions.  By being more confrontive or leaving entirely, however, you are being good to yourself. After all that effort you have invested in your weight loss program, you deserve it.

You may find yourself getting together with people in restaurants for a variety of reasons.  It is easier than you think to adhere to your program while eating in a restaurant.  Today, more restaurants serve low-calorie plates and diet drinks.  Very few people will scorn you for ordering either of these.  Most people are more health and look conscious today than at any point in history.  You may even find that you get respect and admiration for shoeing concern about yourself. 

-Corey Evans, C

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