As you head into Labor Day weekend, you might be feeling anxious about food. Why? Because you know that you will have to face your issues with food yet again. Dealing with food issues is difficult to deal with during the week, but it is even more difficult to navigate during weekend social events. Here are a few tips to follow to help ease your anxiety about your future food choices.
Eat the Food
Before I healed my relationship with food, I would always always always drink a protein shake or eat some sort of "clean" meal before heading to a picnic or a party. I did this so I would not be tempted by the food people brought that was clearly "unhealthy". Truth is, drinking that protein shake or eating that "clean" meal did not do me any good and I could not actually enjoy the party. I would be the one at the party only nibbling on vegetables (no dressing, of course) and drinking only water (too many calories in those other drinks). Bottom line, do not "prepare" yourself by trying to fill up on protein shakes, protein bars, or homemade energy balls. Let yourself enjoy the food that your friends and family made. You will feel better all around.
Have a Neutral Mindset About Food
Avoid labeling food as good or bad. Unfortunately, diet culture has taught us to label foods this way. In turn, when we eat the "bad" food, we ourselves feel bad. This is just one source of our guilt and feeling this way often leads us to either restrict heavily or binge heavily. Try to be neutral with your food choices so that you don't feel that guilt later in the day. Food is just food and we should be able to enjoy it without feeling bad about it!
Focus on Your Plate
When you are trying to heal your relationship with food, you may find that oftentimes, you look at what everyone else is eating. Because if everyone else is eating a hotdog AND a hamburger, why can't you? Or if most people are eating fruit and only salad, then maybe you should too. This weekend and always, stop worrying about what other people are eating. Eat whatever your body wants and and hopefully, others will do the same.
Ignore the Peanut Gallery
As mentioned in my blog last week, you cannot let the comments of others get to you. Unfortunately, there are going to be people who WILL comment on your food choices (thanks, diet culture). When someone comments on your food choices, either change the subject or let them know that you are at peace with what is on your plate. DO NOT let these comments get to you! Keep your mindset in tact and do not let the comments of others make you feel guilty.
When I was obsessed with "clean" eating, I would always plan a cleanse after a weekend of "bad" food. I would let myself enjoy literally all the food during the weekend and then I would heavily restrict the following week. This behavior was not helping my body thrive and I never felt good. The best thing to do after a weekend is to keep eating what you normally eat. You should not feel like you have "punish" yourself after you eat a hamburger or a piece of pie. Enjoy your food and continue to fuel your body with what you normally eat. Restriction does not help your body!
I hope these tips help you to enjoy your weekend more. Please share any other tips you may have below!