Coping With Food and Feelings at Food-focused Events

Reviewed Nov 23, 2016

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

  • Take a friend with you who is aware of your disorder.
  • Bring your own meal or snacks if you can.
  • Make a list of things to talk about other than food.

The idea of food-filled events excites some people. They enjoy eating tasty foods while talking with family or friends, or meeting new people. If you have an eating disorder though, this thought most likely scares you. What others call a good time, you call a nightmare.

There are ways of getting ready for these events that can really help you. With proper planning, you can learn to cope and maybe even to have some fun.

Be prepared

Whether it’s a wedding, birthday party, music fest, or sporting event, food is likely on the menu. Taking some simple steps ahead of time can keep you from stressing out about it.

Here are some helpful ways to prepare:

  • Plan when to arrive at the event and when to leave.
  • Have a plan for leaving early if needed.
  • Take a friend with you who is aware of your disorder.
  • Have your friend help you make good food choices or prepare a plate for you.
  • Know what foods you should avoid and which ones are safe.
  • Bring your own meal or snacks if you can.
  • Do not hang around the food table after you have eaten.
  • Spend time getting to know people better.
  • Make a list of things to talk about other than food.
  • Take part in activities at the event.
  • Dress in a way that makes you feel good about yourself.

Have a backup plan

Sometimes best laid plans can get derailed. Realize that some things are simply beyond your control. You cannot always predict the weather or who might show up, for instance. It is a good idea to have a backup plan for such cases.

If you are bringing a friend, have a signal for when you want to leave. If you are alone, have an excuse ready in case you need to leave early. If you just need a break, talk to a friend in person or by phone.

Back out if needed

You may find yourself getting more stressed out the closer it gets to the event. Talk to a counselor or someone else you trust about how you are feeling. Be honest. It may be that you are not ready for such an event.

Do not let yourself be pressured by other people. Only you can decide if you think you can handle the stress or not. If you have to back out, do not feel guilty about it. Tell yourself and others that you will be able to attend future events.

Stay positive

Keeping upbeat is a key to your success. Learn to detect and reject the negative inner voice that tries to put you down. Counter it with positive thoughts of how far you have come. Remind yourself that a few setbacks will not keep you from reaching your goals.

Dealing with holidays

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays present extra tests. There is more food, more meals, more family, and more stress. Try not to put added pressure on yourself. Relax some of your eating goals. Allow yourself to eat some things you may not normally eat. Do limit your alcohol use however. Do not try to skip meals, which could lead you to binge later. If you are able, bring some of your own favorite foods to eat and share.

Decide to focus on family rather than food during the holidays. Listen to their stories. Ask them questions. Prepare a list ahead of time of topics to discuss. Sit next to someone you enjoy talking with at mealtimes. Be thankful for family and the chance to be together.

Resource

National Eating Disorders Association
12 Ways to Help People With Eating Disorders Negotiate the Holidays

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: National Eating Disorders Association, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/navigating-4th-july-finding-emotional-freedom-you-deserve, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/navigating-holiday-season, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/twelve-ideas-help-people-eating-disorders-negotiate-holidays, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/slips-lapses-and-relapses
Reviewed by Maria F Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Take a friend with you who is aware of your disorder.
  • Bring your own meal or snacks if you can.
  • Make a list of things to talk about other than food.

The idea of food-filled events excites some people. They enjoy eating tasty foods while talking with family or friends, or meeting new people. If you have an eating disorder though, this thought most likely scares you. What others call a good time, you call a nightmare.

There are ways of getting ready for these events that can really help you. With proper planning, you can learn to cope and maybe even to have some fun.

Be prepared

Whether it’s a wedding, birthday party, music fest, or sporting event, food is likely on the menu. Taking some simple steps ahead of time can keep you from stressing out about it.

Here are some helpful ways to prepare:

  • Plan when to arrive at the event and when to leave.
  • Have a plan for leaving early if needed.
  • Take a friend with you who is aware of your disorder.
  • Have your friend help you make good food choices or prepare a plate for you.
  • Know what foods you should avoid and which ones are safe.
  • Bring your own meal or snacks if you can.
  • Do not hang around the food table after you have eaten.
  • Spend time getting to know people better.
  • Make a list of things to talk about other than food.
  • Take part in activities at the event.
  • Dress in a way that makes you feel good about yourself.

Have a backup plan

Sometimes best laid plans can get derailed. Realize that some things are simply beyond your control. You cannot always predict the weather or who might show up, for instance. It is a good idea to have a backup plan for such cases.

If you are bringing a friend, have a signal for when you want to leave. If you are alone, have an excuse ready in case you need to leave early. If you just need a break, talk to a friend in person or by phone.

Back out if needed

You may find yourself getting more stressed out the closer it gets to the event. Talk to a counselor or someone else you trust about how you are feeling. Be honest. It may be that you are not ready for such an event.

Do not let yourself be pressured by other people. Only you can decide if you think you can handle the stress or not. If you have to back out, do not feel guilty about it. Tell yourself and others that you will be able to attend future events.

Stay positive

Keeping upbeat is a key to your success. Learn to detect and reject the negative inner voice that tries to put you down. Counter it with positive thoughts of how far you have come. Remind yourself that a few setbacks will not keep you from reaching your goals.

Dealing with holidays

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays present extra tests. There is more food, more meals, more family, and more stress. Try not to put added pressure on yourself. Relax some of your eating goals. Allow yourself to eat some things you may not normally eat. Do limit your alcohol use however. Do not try to skip meals, which could lead you to binge later. If you are able, bring some of your own favorite foods to eat and share.

Decide to focus on family rather than food during the holidays. Listen to their stories. Ask them questions. Prepare a list ahead of time of topics to discuss. Sit next to someone you enjoy talking with at mealtimes. Be thankful for family and the chance to be together.

Resource

National Eating Disorders Association
12 Ways to Help People With Eating Disorders Negotiate the Holidays

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: National Eating Disorders Association, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/navigating-4th-july-finding-emotional-freedom-you-deserve, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/navigating-holiday-season, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/twelve-ideas-help-people-eating-disorders-negotiate-holidays, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/slips-lapses-and-relapses
Reviewed by Maria F Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Take a friend with you who is aware of your disorder.
  • Bring your own meal or snacks if you can.
  • Make a list of things to talk about other than food.

The idea of food-filled events excites some people. They enjoy eating tasty foods while talking with family or friends, or meeting new people. If you have an eating disorder though, this thought most likely scares you. What others call a good time, you call a nightmare.

There are ways of getting ready for these events that can really help you. With proper planning, you can learn to cope and maybe even to have some fun.

Be prepared

Whether it’s a wedding, birthday party, music fest, or sporting event, food is likely on the menu. Taking some simple steps ahead of time can keep you from stressing out about it.

Here are some helpful ways to prepare:

  • Plan when to arrive at the event and when to leave.
  • Have a plan for leaving early if needed.
  • Take a friend with you who is aware of your disorder.
  • Have your friend help you make good food choices or prepare a plate for you.
  • Know what foods you should avoid and which ones are safe.
  • Bring your own meal or snacks if you can.
  • Do not hang around the food table after you have eaten.
  • Spend time getting to know people better.
  • Make a list of things to talk about other than food.
  • Take part in activities at the event.
  • Dress in a way that makes you feel good about yourself.

Have a backup plan

Sometimes best laid plans can get derailed. Realize that some things are simply beyond your control. You cannot always predict the weather or who might show up, for instance. It is a good idea to have a backup plan for such cases.

If you are bringing a friend, have a signal for when you want to leave. If you are alone, have an excuse ready in case you need to leave early. If you just need a break, talk to a friend in person or by phone.

Back out if needed

You may find yourself getting more stressed out the closer it gets to the event. Talk to a counselor or someone else you trust about how you are feeling. Be honest. It may be that you are not ready for such an event.

Do not let yourself be pressured by other people. Only you can decide if you think you can handle the stress or not. If you have to back out, do not feel guilty about it. Tell yourself and others that you will be able to attend future events.

Stay positive

Keeping upbeat is a key to your success. Learn to detect and reject the negative inner voice that tries to put you down. Counter it with positive thoughts of how far you have come. Remind yourself that a few setbacks will not keep you from reaching your goals.

Dealing with holidays

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays present extra tests. There is more food, more meals, more family, and more stress. Try not to put added pressure on yourself. Relax some of your eating goals. Allow yourself to eat some things you may not normally eat. Do limit your alcohol use however. Do not try to skip meals, which could lead you to binge later. If you are able, bring some of your own favorite foods to eat and share.

Decide to focus on family rather than food during the holidays. Listen to their stories. Ask them questions. Prepare a list ahead of time of topics to discuss. Sit next to someone you enjoy talking with at mealtimes. Be thankful for family and the chance to be together.

Resource

National Eating Disorders Association
12 Ways to Help People With Eating Disorders Negotiate the Holidays

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: National Eating Disorders Association, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/navigating-4th-july-finding-emotional-freedom-you-deserve, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/navigating-holiday-season, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/twelve-ideas-help-people-eating-disorders-negotiate-holidays, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/slips-lapses-and-relapses
Reviewed by Maria F Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical or health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.