For the first part of this blog, please see What To Eat When… Part 1.
Now, let’s consider that I am not really hungry, but I am in a social situation that warrants eating or drinking, such as happy hour, parties, or social dinners. That changes my mindset some, as I don’t want to overeat, but I also don’t want to draw a terrible amount of attention to myself or risk offending other people by choosing to not eat.
If the event has more of a buffet type setup, one option is to choose some healthy food to munch on. Often there will be a fruit or vegetable tray and those are fine options for snacking. If I have to order off of a menu, I would follow the suggestions for restaurant eating that were described in Part 1, if I didn’t feel comfortable choosing not to order. Depending on the situation, I could take the majority of the food to-go and eat it at a more appropriate time. Sautéed food and salads without dressing are great options for carryout and can be reheated with minimal problems.
If there is a bar, one idea is to get a virgin vodka and water with a lime. This works very well with sparkling water, as well. If your drink is in the same type of glass that mixed drinks are served in, no one will suspect you’re not having a cocktail (if that’s what you’re going for).
I did this once at a work function for my previous company. Social rules dictated drinking large quantities of alcohol and I did not want to. My colleagues assumed I was drinking a vodka tonic, when I was actually drinking Perrier with lime. No one said a word to me. Had I publicly stated I wasn’t drinking, I would have received unsolicited comments. This was my way to avoid that and be true to my personal convictions.
I think it’s important to have boundaries for eating. Decisions about food and nutrition are unique to each individual and even if other people feel like we should eat, we shouldn’t feel pressured into eating something we don’t want. A simple “no, thank you” will suffice in many situations, which should stop the persuasion, but that doesn’t always happen, as we well know.
It’s important to have a short, clear answer that establishes your boundary and hopefully ends the discussion. Otherwise, the conversation can go down the wrong path and may get ugly. I speak from experience here, some people feel like they know what’s best for you or care more about what they want for you than what you want for yourself. The worst thing you can do is give into their pushing.
Some boundary breaking retorts to a polite decline are:
“What, are you on a diet?” My response would be something like, “I am not dieting, but my health is important to me and I don’t feel like I need to eat right now.”
“One bite won’t hurt.” This is a hard one because in some situations that may be true and having one could be an appropriate compromise. I would just be careful to not overeat in this situation, as it’s very easy to do. At the same time, there are situations where one bite will hurt. If it’s a food sensitivity concern or a trigger food for an addiction, I would want to say something that communicates that, such as “It looks delicious and I would love to try some, but I’ve been having problems with dairy (sugar, gluten, etc), so I’ll have to pass.”
“It’s your favorite!” or “I made it just for you!” This one is tough because the other person’s feelings are on the line. I would reply “That is so sweet of you; it looks amazing! I am not hungry right now, but I would love to have some later.”
The bottom line is to be honest, avoid a long discussion, and don’t feel bad because you’re saying no to food. If the other person is offended, that’s their concern. No one should try and control what you decide to eat or not eat.
After writing these two blogs, I have set a 90-day goal that involves determining 100 go-to foods (see 2019 Plan – Starting Soon on a Blog Near You! for my five initial goals). I will do this over the 90-days and will share the information that I find on my Food I have Grown to Love site. Stay tuned… I have some great plans for 2019 that I look forward to sharing on my blog.