7 tips to avoid overeating in social situations

how to avoid overeating in social situations

If you’re planning a special meal out for Mother’s Day or another social occasion here are some tips 😊

Do you find that you overeat or make poor food choices when out with family and friends? You’re not alone! In fact, there are studies that have been done on this very topic and researchers have named this phenomenon of overeating in social situations ‘social facilitation’.

Studies revealed that people eating with others ate up to 48% more food than solo diners*.

Researchers identified 3 reasons we overeat when among friends and family

  • Eating with others is more enjoyable and provides emotional rewards not available when eating alone
  • Social norms regard overeating in company as acceptable or even expected in some instances
  • Preparing/providing food for others is strongly associated with praise and recognition from friends and family, which in turn strengthens social bonds

And it seems the better we know people, the more likely we are to overeat in social situations.

So, what can you do to avoid the temptation to overindulge?

Here are my 7 tips to avoid overeating in social situations:

  1. Don’t go to the event hungry – Have a healthy snack beforehand to curb your hunger
  2. Avoid standing near the food table – I always say to stand with your back to the food if you can.
  3. Be aware of your body’s signs – When offered food, ask yourself “am I hungry?” or “do I need more food?”
  4. Make healthy choices – Scan the food table or ask the person serving what food is being offered, this way you can make the best decisions based on what’s on offer for the entire event.
  5. Drink plenty of water and limit alcohol – Always make your first drink water and refill your water glass often.
  6. Engage in meaningful conversation – Social engagements are about more than just food and drinks. Take the time to catch up with old friends and get lost in conversation to take the focus off food.
  7. Eat slowly and don’t go back for seconds – Take your time eating, you’ll be more likely to fill up and less likely to be offered seconds.

A final wrap up

If you do overindulge at a social gathering, don’t get caught in the trap of giving up on your healthy eating plan. One night of overindulging won’t ruin your healthy eating plan, only giving up will do that. So, get back on track the next day.

Dining in? Check out How to make the best low-fat parmigiana

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*Source: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/110/4/842/5552759