Special Occasion Dining
Special occasions come up throughout the year. They include holidays, birthdays and big life events, like weddings or graduations. These celebrations are a time for families and friends to come together and spend time with one another in honor of the festive occasion.
Most often, this form of celebration involves a lot of food.
Special Occasions for Overeating
It is easy to put on the attitude of “just this once is okay” when it comes to special occasions. A slice of cake, an over the top meal, an excessively large portion—these are common traits of special events. Buffet tables, party spreads and specially prepared holiday dishes aren’t available year round, and that makes eating them on a certain day all the more special.
The trouble is that special occasions come about more often than you may realize at first. When you start adding promotions, office birthdays, anniversaries and other similar events into the mix, it is not uncommon to have a special occasion pop up once or twice every month.
Special occasions present several risks when we are managing our diets:
- Food is often openly displayed, putting it in our sight and on our minds
- Seeing other people eating may stimulate our appetite
- Food choices are often abundant and high calorie treats are common
- Conversation and other distractions may take your mind off how much food we’ve eaten
Additionally, many special events involve alcohol, which reduces inhibitions and will encourage many people to eat more than they intend. It is too easy to use special occasions as a justification for overeating or indulgence, and this may interfere with weight loss efforts.
Managing Special Occasions
Rather than allowing special occasions to operate on a different set of rules, it is wise to understand the triggers that encourage you to overeat at special occasions, and to strategize ways that you can avoid overconsumption.
To avoid overeating at special occasions, practice these steps:
- Eat before going to the event and position yourself as far from the food as possible
- Bring a water bottle and drink only from that instead of indulging in the sugary punch or alcohol
- Focus on the conversation going around, and not on the food
- If asked to try something, politely let the host know you are full but maybe will later, and then move on
- Turn the conversation to healthy topics like vegetable recipes and exercise to keep your mind off of the buffet
If you do eat at a special event, make sure to remain as mindful as possible. Eat slowly and think carefully about what you want to eat before adding food to your plate. Shifting attention away from the food can help you manage special occasions in a healthier fashion.