At parties, eating right is such a struggle for me. A part of it might have to do with my upbringing (that's right I am blaming my parents, who I truly love, for my issue). I was always taught it was rude to refuse food. Coming from a Filipino background, food is highly intertwined with the culture and social interaction with people. Food is a big part of every celebration, birthday, and social gathering. I remember my childhood birthday parties with the tables filled with food. My grandmother and mama bear would start cooking early in the morning and even began preparing food days ahead of time. Having lots of food was a normal part of each celebration. It is very difficult to separate the two and to not partake in the yummy Filipino food that is available at every celebration. Don't get me wrong, I love my family and my Filipino heritage and I absolutely love Filipino food! That is part of my problem, I tend to overeat because I love food. It especially hard to say no especially when family is constantly telling you to eat and to refuse would be disrespectful. My daddy has dietary restrictions due to his heart problems and he has become reluctant to go to parties and events (especially Filipino parties) because of the temptations and difficulties of refusing food.
It seems that parties and food go hand in hand and because of my upbringing and socialization, I find that I am a social eater who is unable to refuse food. On an every day basis, I am able to exercise willpower and discipline, but when it comes to parties that willpower and discipline seems to stay at home. It is so ingrained in me that in order to be social I have to eat and not eating is a sign of disrespect.
What's a girl to do? Somehow I need to be stronger. I am quite disciplined when it comes to exercise, if only I can apply that same discipline here. Here are some tips I have found that I will have to try.
Don't go to a party on an empty stomach.
If you eat a light snack before you go to a social event or party you are less likely to overeat and you are better able to resist the temptation of eating higher fat and higher calories foods.
Set a game plan.
Think about where you are going, who you will be with, and what foods are available. If you are going out to a restaurant take a look at the menu on the Internet beforehand. If you are going to a party, survey party buffet before filling your plate. Make a plan of action before diving in. By being cognizant of what you are doing, it will be easier to make better choices and not eat mindlessly.
Watch your portions.
It is okay to treat yourself a nice drink, dessert, chocolate or sweets without guilt, but watch your portion. Moderation is always the key. If you go for small portions you can sample all the different foods.
Choose your drinks wisely.
If you choose to drink alcohol, realize that alcohol is high in calories. And, watch out for calories in soda and fruit punch as well. Remember to practice moderation and drink plenty of water.
Stay away from temptations.
It is okay to indulge yourself once in a while, at parties we tend to keep eating simply because the food is there. To avoid grazing, be conscious of what is on your plate, eat slowly, and stay away from the food table to keep yourself from overeating.
Enjoy good friends and family.
Parties are about being social and gathering with friends and family. Focus on this aspect and away from the food aspect. It is okay to taste some yummy treats, but remember it is about balance and moderation.
If you do overeat, it is not the end of the work and one day won't make you gain weight! Just get back on track and put that one day behind you.
Here are a couple more of online resources and tips for eating at parties.
(I am going to a pot luck party next weekend, so let’s see if I can apply some of these tips.)