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Social Eating (& Practical Steps to Avoid Peer Pressure)
January 10, 2018
Human beings are social animals. From the moment that an ancient hunter realized that hunting a mammoth was easier with friends, we’ve been going out and eating in groups. Eating in groups has amazing social benefits, and the phrase “breaking bread” was created to reference the camaraderie and trust that sharing a meal can represent.
Unfortunately, the benefits of sharing a meal can be difficult when you’ve recently made a commitment to change your eating habits. Like we mentioned in a previous blog, so much of our eating habits are tied to the way we were raised—both in our homes and in our culture. That effect is multiplied when you’re eating with a friend, colleague, or loved one.
However, that doesn’t mean you should give up eating with friends! They’re going to hear about your commitment to health at some point anyway—telling them might turn them into your cheerleaders (or teammates).
How to Eat Healthy with Friends & Loved Ones
One of the best things you can do when it comes to social eating (whether it’s a work lunch, a family dinner, or a meet-up with an old friend) is to emphasize the social over the eating. Reframing the time you spend with others as a time to connect and talk (rather than eat loads of bread and imbibe) changes your mental expectations. Changing your mental expectations is what will help you make consistent choices later.
Here are some practical steps you can take to avoid eating out-of-step with your long-term goals:
- Eat filling, healthy snacks before the gathering
- Set a limit on drinking for yourself
- Drink a glass of water before eating or drinking
- If you can, work out before eating
Remember: it’s okay to go off plan a little or enjoy your meal. What we’re trying to prevent here is a binge/crash mindset. You’re not restricting yourself, you’re choosing to be healthy. The former is dieting; the latter is empowering.
Follow these tips next time you go out with friends, and let us know how it goes in the comments!
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