This will be a short post answering a common question I get from clients. I hope it will give you some new tools for healthy success.
Q. How do I navigate my new way of eating in social settings?
A. I’m so glad you asked! This is a common question and you are not alone in wanting practical ideas so you can still enjoy time with your friends and family. There are lots of steps that you can take to help you stick with your plan. I have worked through it all from traveling to business events and family gatherings, to potlucks at church and meetings at restaurants. To some degree, the best way to handle these situations depends on the specific circumstance, but here are a few tricks to get you started:
- Always keep your goals in mind. Remind yourself WHY you’re eating this way. It’s not a painful diet … it’s a key to having the energy, life force, vitality and radiance that you have always wanted and that you deserve in your life. Keeping this in mind can be a key factor to inspire you to whatever it takes to stick to the plan.
- NEVER leave home without food. If your food standards are high, as they should be (you deserve only the best and most nourishing fuel), you can’t always just grab whatever is in front of you. For that reason, it’s important to ALWAYS have a snack on hand even if you’re not planning to be out long. Keeping snacks in your car, purse, backpack, gym bag, desk, etc. can be super helpful. You never know when something will come up and you won’t get home as soon as you thought you would. It’s easy to have a whole food bar, fresh fruit, raw nuts or homemade granola with you when you’re on the go. Convenience is a factor that is important to long-term compliance.1
- If/when appropriate, bring a delicious dish to pass. This is not only a way to ensure that you have amazing food to eat but it also shares the love with your friends and family. A mentor of mine used to always say that “food is a love note from God.” I love that. So beautiful and so true. Sharing good food is a fun and tasty way to love your friends and family. And the truth is, even junk food eaters like healthy food if it tastes good. Taste is the main reason many people eat what they eat, so making tasty food will help you and them.1
- Eat before you go. There are pros and cons to this. On a good note, you go full so you’re less tempted to eat things that don’t fit your plan, or even if you do eat something off the plan, you’re likely to eat less than if you walk in famished. On the other hand, it may leave you as the only one who isn’t participating in the meal. I don’t mind this and most of my friends and family know and understand. It gives me an opportunity to really focus on the conversation and the relationship with the person/people rather than the food.
- If you do want to eat and there are no healthy options, it is up to you what and how much. You are FREE to choose. Just one important point on this…if you do decide to just eat XYZ, do so consciously and with joy. Don’t go into autopilot. Think about your approach, get what you want, eat it slowly and don’t give it another thought. 10 minutes of guilty pleasure will not go away by beating yourself up for days! That only increases stress and anxiety. The best thing to do is to just enjoy and then get right back on track.
- If going to a restaurant, choose the restaurant if possible. If not, check the menu before you go. Find a couple of options (not just one, in case they are out of the only thing on the menu that you can eat). You can even call ahead and tell them how you are eating. Many chefs are thrilled with a challenge and like to get creative in the kitchen. Many eateries have steamed vegetables, rice, beans, salads and various other whole food options. Many times, I have “built” my order based on ingredients from several dishes on the menu that I would never eat as is.
- Know that you have more say than you think. You are in charge of your choices. Although you do want to be sensitive and kind, you need to do what is best for you and be able to trust that those who love you most will support your best health.
If tips like this have inspired you to stay the course, please connect with New Hope Health on social media for daily tips as well as event announcements and product specials.
1. Ensaff H, Coan S, Sahota P, Braybrook D, Akter H, McLeod H. Adolescents’ food choice and the place of plant-based foods. Nutrients. 2015. doi:10.3390/nu7064619
Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. It does not take the place of a health care practitioner. It is for educational purposes only.