And one thing all of these fun activities have in common is the omnipresence of FOOD.
While this notion doesn’t phase most people and, in fact, often excites people … for someone with food issues, social events can cause a lot of anxiety.
Though I realize food issues are often masking something much bigger (anxiety, control issues, etc.), it can still make socializing during summer a challenge.
Case in point: at my worst, I would avoid social engagements or eat beforehand so I wasn’t tempted. In my disordered mind, I’d have an excuse not to eat something I couldn’t easily guesstimate how many Points it was worth. But that logic would often backfire – I’d end up feeling deprived and find myself eating more than I would have, had I just waited til said party.
Over the years, I’ve learned that restriction isn’t a foolproof solution: moderation is. Moderation doesn’t mean going crazy at every social function and over-eating (or bingeing when everyone leaves!), but it also doesn’t mean being a buffet wallflower, either.
I decided to post about this today because for the first time in about five years, I’m genuinely looking forward to a summer of socializing – and I’m feeling sort of blasé about the food component; it doesn’t scare me, nor excite me –but rather is just part of the overall experience.
It took a long time, but aside from still being a semi-picky eater, I consider myself to be recovered from my disordered eating issues. On occasion I struggle with emotional eating, but for the most part, I feel like I finally have a much healthier relationship with food.
I’ve tried to listen to my body more when it comes to both food and exercise. And this year in particular, I’ve been able to embrace food as an experience, not fear the unknown (i.e., dining for a week in South Korea, where I never knew what I was eating!), and loosen up my own restrictive ways when dining out.
It’s made me happier and healthier (specifically mentally), and I have a much better approach towards social functions. I try to see these moments in the bigger picture: the company, the atmosphere/ambiance, the presentation.
I finally understand that food is nothing to fear (or control/feel controlled by), but rather is meant to be enjoyed.
I’d be lying if I said I’ve turned off the Point/calorie counting in my head … but I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with journaling; it helps keep me on track. I certainly don’t talk about it aloud or obsess over every decision I make like I used to, so if the numbers still float in my head … so be it.
We hosted a BBQ at home yesterday for my husband’s fellow MBA friends and their wives, and it felt wonderful to just soak in the experience. We culminated the night lighting our fire pit to make S’mores …and you can bet I enjoyed mine 🙂
How about you? If you have recovered from an eating disorder or have disordered eating issues, are you comfortable in situations where food is an integral component of the experience? How did you get over food anxiety in social settings?