Hello and happy Monday! This is Susan Hyatt and it’s GO time.
This is the 103rd episode in a series of GO mp3s to wake you up on your Monday morning and get you going.
In this episode we’re talking about how to stop overeating at parties & other social events. You don’t wanna miss this!
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Wanna read the full transcript? Here ya go:
Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
You get invited to a dinner party, or a birthday party, or a work-related party, or some other kind of social gathering.
You’re not really that excited about it, but you feel like you need to go, otherwise you might offend the person who invited you, or you might “miss out” on something important. So… you haul yourself over to the party.
You’re already pretty tired when you walk in the door. It’s already been a long, busy day. Maybe you’re feeling a little shy and awkward. Maybe your friend was supposed to go with you, but she flaked at the last second. Now you’re there, all alone. You’re struggling to summon up the energy to talk to people. You’re just not in the mood to chit-chat with strangers.
So, you head for the bar, or the snack table, or the buffet, and you start loading up your plate, mainly out of sheer boredom.
Before you know it, you’ve eaten your way through, like, half a dozen mini quiches and pigs in a blanket, and a bunch of cheese, and brownie bites, and maybe a couple glasses of wine. You barely even tasted any of it. You just sorta inhaled it. And then you wonder, “Ugh. Why did I do that?”
Has that ever happened to you?
I’ve heard stories like that from so many of my clients over the years. There are so many women—and men, too—who secretly hate going to parties, and who struggle with mindless snacking and drinking when they’re there. There’s a lot of overindulging that happens at social events. And a lost of post-party regret.
And… yup. I’ve totally been there. I remember this one time…
What I experienced at that party is what so many of us experience. You go to a social gathering. You feel nervous, bored, or uncomfortable. So then you try to dull those emotions with food and alcohol. It’s totally understandable. And… it’s something we can learn how to stop doing. Because it’s really not much fun.
You might be wondering, “OK, but how? How do I stop overeating at social events?”
Well, here are some guidelines that I recommend, and that have really helped me a lot…
#1. If I get invited to something and I don’t want to go, then… I just don’t go.
For me, these days, it’s really that simple.
I only go to events that I truly want to attend. Because life is too short to go to events that feel boring, or unappealing, or that just don’t realistically fit into my schedule.
Why put yourself into a situation that you know you’re not going to enjoy? Unless something is absolutely required for your career, or crucially important to someone you love, like your spouse or partner, you can just… not go.
You are allowed to receive an invitation and say “no.” You might think, “Oh my gosh, they’ll be so offended” or “I might miss out on something important,” but nope. You’re not going to miss anything.
I promise you, the world will keep turning even if you say “no” to a happy hour event or a PTA meeting or a fundraiser or whatever.
Look. If you receive an invitation and your body feels heavy, lethargic, and resentful just THINKING about it, that’s a big sign that you should probably decline.
These days, I manage my calendar very intentionally. And—with very, very few exceptions—I only attend stuff that I’m seriously EXCITED to be part of. That way, when I show, I’m in a great mood! I’m happy, excited, relaxed, feeling great, and I can’t wait to see the people there. When I feel fantastic, then I don’t feel the urge to eat out of stress.
So that’s the first guideline I’d recommend. If you struggle with overeating at parties, then stop going to so many parties that you don’t wanna go to. Start there.
Here’s the second guideline…
#2. Come up with a game plan before you walk in the door.
Going into an event, I like to have a strategy. I like to decide, ahead of time, why I’m going and what I hope to get out of the experience.
I might say to myself, “I want to have one glass of Prosecco with my friend Rachel, and I want to hear all about how her latest product launch went, and I want to give her a big hug, and then…go home. That’s my plan for tonight.”
Or I might say to myself, “I’m going to talk to two people that I don’t know very well.”
Or I might say, “OK, I’m going because I want to support my friend’s book launch. I’m showing up for her, to show how much I love her. I don’t need to do anything other than be there, and smile, and buy a book, and say ‘OMG GREAT JOB’.”
I always enjoy having a game plan. It helps me to feel focused when I step into the room, instead of feeling like a deer in the headlights.
Being at a party is just like any other scenario in life. It feels a lot more meaningful when you’ve decided why you’re there, and what your purpose is going to be.
OK, one last guideline to help you avoid stress-eating at social events…
#3. Be a conversation-starter. Ask people unexpected questions.
So, one big reason why people hate going to parties is that… some parties are filled with conversations that are excruciatingly boring. Oh yes. We’ve all there.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. You can decide, “You know what? I’m going to spark some interesting conversations. I’m going to bring some LIFE into this party.”
I have a girlfriend who loves doing this. When she’s at an event, she’ll sidle over to people who look super bored—you know, standing there, staring into their phones—and she’ll say something totally unexpected, like, “So, I was reading about the history of this hotel, and I read that this building is allegedly haunted by ghosts. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had an experience where you felt something, or sensed something like that?”
And just like that, suddenly, everyone’s telling stories about their ghost encounters and there’s a lively conversation going.
This is a great strategy for parties. Instead of asking typical questions like, “Where are you from?” or “What do you do?” try asking an unexpected question, and see where the conversation goes.
Honestly, the other people at the party are probably feeling just as shy, awkward, and anxious as you are, and they’ll be so grateful that you steered the conversation in a stimulating direction.
Try memorizing one or two questions before you head into the party, and then bust ‘em out. Some fun questions are, “Do you believe in ghosts?” or if that’s too quirky for you, you could ask, “What’s been the best part of your day so far?” or “What’s one thing you really want to do before the end of the summer?” or “Who’s one of your personal heroes and why?”
When you’re immersed in a fascinating conversation, it feeds your mind and spirit. And when your mind and spirit are being nourished, then you don’t feel such a strong urge to mindlessly snack on hors d’oeuvres out of boredom.
So, to recap these suggestions…
#1. Don’t go to parties that you don’t wanna go to. If you stuff your calendar full of experiences that make you feel bored and resentful, then you’re more likely to stuff yourself with extra food to cope with unhappy feelings. Starting saying “no thank you,” like, three times more than you typically do.
#2. Come up with a game plan. A strategy. What I really mean is, set an intention. Decide why you’re showing up. Is it to support a friend? Is it to support your partner? Is it to catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a long time? Is it because you want to challenge yourself to be brave and chat with 1 or 2 people you don’t know very well, and maybe make some new friends? Decide why you’re going so that you feel purposeful instead of aimless.
And #3. Ask people unexpected questions. Keep a couple questions tucked in the back of your mind. Ask, “What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?” or “What’s something you’d love to experience before the end of this year?” Get people talking. With just one question, you can spark a fascinating conversation and people will love being around you.
OK, peeps. My challenge for you this week is to say NO to a social commitment that you don’t want to do. Instead, seek out an experience that you DO want to do—whether that’s trying a new workout class, or trying a new restaurant, or going to the movies, or spending quality time with a friend that you miss, or whatever actually sounds FUN to you. Do THAT.
Life is too damn short to spend your time stewing in resentment. Pursue—and create—the social experiences that you crave. That’s what I invite you to do. And this is one invitation that I hope… you’ll accept.
It’s GO time.