Sunday, October 3, 2010

Food = Fun?

I have shared that I am getting involved with a community group through the church I have been going to. While a part of me is guarded and hesitant to trust too much due to past bad experiences in other churches, a larger part of me is enjoying the group and getting to know the people in it. They are nice and I am enjoying it.

This group is causing me problems with food though. And it's not just this group, I think it would be any group I got involved with. First of all, the group takes place on a worknight, as would most groups I could get involved with. NO PROBLEM...except that I go to the gym after work and so trying to work out, find something to eat, and get to the group on time is a challenge. I usually sacrifice the healthy eating and get a $5 pizza to eat on the go. This has to stop. It is counterproductive toward meeting my goals, yet I see no healthy option unless I forgo the working out. The second problem is that every week, we have snacks at the group. To me this is so unnecessary. It is burdensome both for the snack providers (who has time do easily do this on a weekday, especially if your snack needs refrigeration and you have to stop home to get said snack?!), and it is a little hard for me to be around. I usually deal by passing on the snack altogether, as they are rarely healthy.

This week we are having a "fun" week instead of study for community group. While I usually shudder at the idea of scheduled, scripted fun, I am actually looking forward to this. However, it too may present a food problem for me as it is a potluck picnic. I usually bring fruit or a fruit salad to events like this, but I can't see any way to do this without being able to refrigerate it. (I leave for work around 8 and the picnic is at 6:30). This weekend, they are also planning a girls' night. While I am looking forward to it, it too is a "please bring something tasty and preferably unhealthy" event.

I have such mixed feelings about these types of events. I feel a little like a recovering alcoholic who is meeting friends at a bar. It just seems like a bad idea. Yes, being around bad food choices gets easier. However, the easiest thing is just not to be around it. For example, last night I really wanted to binge. REALLY badly. However, I had no unhealthy groceries around, which was a big part of my being able to avoid it. Equating food with fun needs to become a thing of my past, however it is hard with so many bad choices and so few good choices around at these type of events. None of these people know my past (and to some degree current) issues with food. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer or a food Nazi and ask them to please be considerate of me and my desire to live a healthy life when planning "fun", and ask that not all fun events involve food. For instance, we could play mini-golf and grab dinner on our own, or go to a restaurant where everyone could make his/her own selections -- and I could get something healthy. However, I also don't want them to think I have an eating disorder or am too good to eat their food. That seems bad too.

Bottom line: I am not sure how to handle myself in many social food situations yet. And I am a little resentful that our society equates food with fun. It makes it harder to succeed, but it is something I just have to learn to deal with if I want to be successful at living a healthy lifestyle.


  1. It is really tough to get through these situations, but as you point out, it is something we (you, me, and most everyone else who is on this journey) have to learn. You can do this!

  2. You can totally do this! Is there any way that you can participate in the planning process of what happens or what does not? Then you could plan non-food related fun events. Bring something that YOU can eat, and then choose to eat it. If anyone asks you why you never eat the non healthy stuff, tell the truth. You have "chosen a heart healthy lifestyle, and so you watch your food intake pretty closely"...and SMILE. What you have accomplished is something to be proud of!!! =)

    A greek salad with veggies would be fine un-refrigerated as long as it wasn't actually HOT. Could you drop off a fruit option at the church on your way to work perhaps? You just need to think outside of the box. =)

    Fun = fun =)

    Good luck and hugs!!

  3. Social eating is definitely a tough cookie to crack without offending anyone. If it was just every once in a while i'd say let your hair down and have a couple of treats but with it being so frequent i think your only option is to be firm but polite and maybe take your own food for you to consume...if anyone queries this you could just say that you are losing weight, tell them how far you've come and i'm sure they would be supportive...on the other hand if you don't want to get into THE diet conversation with them you could say you have specific dietary needs or are training towards some future event. Best of luck with it, but i honestly think they'd understand if you were straight with them and wouldn't think you were being a food

    In terms of having time to exercise/eat healthy, i'd have to sat that if you don't have time to do both, then just drop the exercise that day (or do it before work if that's a possibility) but make sure to keep eating healthy...i can only comment for myself here but allowing myself to eat unhealthy stuff more and more regularly would be much more likely to send me off the rails than a missed exercise session.

    All the best.

  4. I agree with some of the other comments. I do not think it is unreasonable to bring your own food and if questioned to tell the truth. It is not something to be ashamed of or to worry about, you are doing a wonderful thing for yourself and shouldn't sacrafice your health for the sake of "fun" that's ridiculous! I think most people will be very understanding and probably feel guilty themselves for not being more healthy!

    Think of it this way, if someone was a vegetarian or had dietary restrictions for other reasons (e.g. religion), I feel like people would not say I'm sorry but you have to eat this steak or else you're not allowed in the club. They want to spend time with you Sarah, not your appetite.

    Also, I agree with Phil that if you HAD to choose one or the other, eating healthy is the choice I'd pick over an exercise session. Eating a healthy dinner will help you set a better tone for the rest of the day (e.g. stop you from snacking at the get togethers) and maybe you can find another time to exercise during the day. I feel that skipping one exercise session is less damaging than a downward spiral of bad food choices.

    I don't mean to be a jerk but if the group isn't accepting of your eating choices then they're not the best of friends. I'm not saying forcing everyone to eat healthy because of you, but you should be allowed to bring your own options if you'd like.

    As for the fruit salad, I like the suggestion of seeing if you can drop it off early or if you can drop it off with someone else that can easily keep it refridgerated and bring it for you.

    Don't fall for "peer pressure" we're adults now, you don't have to change who you are to fit in with this group, you're better than that!

  5. I have an addition to what I just said, I want to clarify that I'm not trying to say "you do what you want and to hell with them!". I don't mean for you to just be a b*tch about what you want to do. But I not think that it is an unreasonable request to have your own food choices. I think that people will ask questions, as many people do when they meet a vegitarian for example. "You don't eat meat!??!?!... WHY?!" It's just morbid curiosity more than anything. People will ask questions and you can answer however you are comfortable doing, but I do not think it is a shameful thing to want to eat healthy. I think it is the opposite and that you should be proud that you're making a great decision for your health and your life. My point, is just that you shouldn't be ashamed or let it deter you from your goal. You're doing a great thing!


Clicky Web Analytics