The thing that gets me about parties is that they are always surrounded by food. While this is normally not a bad thing, it can be for someone who has an extremely bad relationship with their body image and food, which I have talked about before here.
A little back story, growing up whenever I would go to a birthday or holiday party, I would eat so much sugar that I would make myself sick. Years later, I switched to the opposite and feared food at parties. I would obsess over the amount of calories present at a party because I thought one night of party food would make me gain weight. Pretty much I let food control my thoughts.
There are so many food options at a party. The thought of “what should I put on my plate” can be very overwhelming.
Like the other night, I was told we were going to my aunt’s for Thanksgiving. Hands down she makes the best food ever and it is all from scratch. I wish I could send her food to you through this screen, it is that good. I almost texted someone in my family and joked that I would need to start dieting now or working out extra hard for how much food I would consume in over a week. Luckily, I caught myself in this negativity and deleted the text before sending it out.
I am not a nutritionist but I have learned along the way that food should not have control. And most importantly, parties aren’t mainly about food, they are about the people you are with. I would choose spending time with people over obsessing about the calories in my food anyday.
Change Your Perspective
A few weeks ago when I knew I would be hosting a party, I had this fleeting moment the day before of how awkward the time was (4 pm – 6 pm). Yes, it was fleeting because those thoughts were immediately replaced with how much I enjoy hosting parties like this.
There are other things you can focus on other than food, including making memories with loved ones and other related things that can help you remember what hosting or attending parties are all about. Food may be a big part of the any party but it is also nourishment for our bodies. It is meant to be enjoyed.
Eat and Eat Healthy Before and After
I used to have this mindset that I would starve myself before a party and/or starve myself after. I have found that if I starve myself before a party, I end up eating everything in sight. “When we are starving it is harder to make healthier choices.” says Torey Armul, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.
Don’t arrive at the party extremely hungry. You should eat in preparation, meaning a healthy, well-rounded breakfast and lunch during the day of the party.
Be Okay with Saying No
When I lived in Africa for a year and a half, this was a big cultural no,no. I would try to turn down the continual offering of cake at tea time but would just be offered more. I feared saying no because I didn’t want to offend anyone.
But sometimes you have to stand your ground especially if you know that will keep your mind in the right place. Politely decline and continue your conversation.
Don’t Deprive Yourself
With that said, you do not have to deprive yourself at the party. If you want a slice of cake, go for it, just be mindful of how many slices you are eating (Healthy Eating Tips: Party-Proof Your Diet, Alla Byrne). The only reason you should feel bad about having a slice of pie is if you stole it from a child or the store.
On Thanksgiving, I do plan on enjoying my Aunt’s homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. These cookies should win awards!. Furthermore, I do not deprive myself throughout the year, so I know that I will not overeat these special treats during the holidays. Plus tomorrow is a new day and I will keep focused on the reason for the season.
This is one of my favorite things to do with family and friends. While you may not be up for a really intense workout after an overindulgent meal, go on a hike or walk to take a breather and catch up with family or friends.
I challenge you to practice healthy behaviors at anytime of the year so that you will prevent negative self-talk and boost your overall health and happiness. Most importantly, find gratitude and joyfulness in everything you do.