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5 Social Eating Hacks for Weight Loss

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Do you constantly find yourself making poor choices when you're out socializing? Social eating is one of the major obstacles my clients face. It can be discouraging when you have so much discipline during the week, eating right and exercising, only to go out on the weekends and take a bunch of steps backwards. Your weight goes down then slowly back up at the end of every week, leaving you with zero progress.

Of course you're not really making zero progress, you just don't have the right strategy going into your social life. We are going to fix that today. Try these hacks to improve your self-control and progress when it comes to social eating.

1. Track your weekend eating in an APP.

Where eating typically goes wrong over the weekend or at social events is in portion sizes. One piece of pizza and a glass of wine isn't the issue, it's when that turns into 3 pieces of pizza, 3 glasses of wine and dessert that you find yourself in trouble. So, set some caloric boundaries. Tracking is a great way to not only hold yourself accountable to eating the right amounts, but also allows you some flexibility to eat outside your basic, healthy foods that you eat during the week. My favorite tracking app is Lose It! ( Set a specific number of calories for each day (let's say 1400-1500 kcal) during the weekend and don't go over that amount. Boundaries with food are good, try it!

2. Put connection before food.

Don't make food the focus. Once food becomes your main concern, the joy of company and socializing takes the backseat. Make connecting with others your priority and choose not to let food take over your thoughts or energy. Put family, friends, conversation, and fun before the food. This simple hack can help change the way you experience socializing altogether and helps you avoid fixating on food.

3. Fake it.

The funny thing about social eating is that other people just don't pay attention to what you are eating (or not eating). People are generally too busy in their own world thinking about themselves. There are some exceptions here, food pushers for example, who will not rest until they see you eat something they either made or are eating themselves. But for those of you who decide to take a gentle approach and want to slide under the radar of others and avoid the "no" conversation overall, try faking it. Take the piece of cake, put it on a plate and push it around. Make a plate of food and sit with it. Don't feel obligated to eat everything on that plate. The likelihood of someone noticing you're not actually eating or cleaning your plate is very, very low. Pretend to participate, I guarantee no one will even mention it.

4. Eat once and don't go back for seconds.

This hack is more so applicable to family or friend parties with lots of snacks and spreads. One way to assure you don't over eat is to stick to the "one plate rule". It's simple, get a a plate and fill it up with food, eat it slowly and then don't eat again. You can even set the plate down and revisit it over time. Grab a seltzer, a glass of water, coffee or a cup of tea to hold you over the rest of the night. Unless your plate is stacked up to the ceiling, it's hard to go wrong with this rule. We know that snacking isn't really a healthy habit, so skip it overall and commit to eating whatever you want, but just once. It's the second, third and fourth helpings that can really start to stack up calories. Avoid that and stick to the one plate rule.

5. Make a concrete commitment.

Make committments and stick to them. Making them is easy, sticking to them is hard. But maybe you're going into your weekend with the idea of "doing better". Wanting to better is a great thing, but it's very vague and there is no real action attached to that. When it comes to social influence and food, it's better to be specific and make black and white committments. Gray area is our enemy. For example, make an alcoholic beverage commitment - "I will have 1 glass of wine." We can apply the same method with food. "I will not eat any chips or bread in the basket on the table." This is helpful because you have a direction and a game plan going into a challenging situation. It also conditions you to start doing what you say you are going to do. That builds confidence. Make the commitment and stick to it, you will feel so proud that you did!

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