Eating due to peer pressure, eating something because everyone else is eating, or eating because you think you’ll never have a chance to eat a specific food again (the rest of your life!!) can make you feel out of control! This is especially true when you don’t really want to indulge, but you perceive the situation is out of your control.
Just last night I helped serve dinner for a neighbor at her son’s wedding. The food was AMAZING, and had the most delicious Hawaiian Sliders you ever saw! After serving the sliders to 100 guests, there were about 50+ leftover. It would have been acceptable for me to eat one. They were delicious, and everyone else was eating one. But, did I have to eat 5? LOL. No. but they were SO GOOD, and I may never get those delicious sliders again the rest of my life!Of course, that’s what I told myself to justify FIVE sandwiches!
During a work meeting or a church social, everyone is eating and enjoying their food while they stand around and chat! Your friend is holding a drink and cookie, and, suddenly, you are craving a drink and a cookie. Or you are at a wedding, and they are serving the most delicious sliders you ever saw! You must have one because you don’t know if you’ll ever be served those cheesy sliders again!! This is FOOD FOMO!
Two Strategies to Avoid Situations of FOMO
Two things have helped me navigate these types of situations.
- First, is to imagine the event ahead of time and decide how to respond to each hurdle. It’s easier for me to decide to eat the healthy options, instead of trying to eat mindfully. If I know there is going to be a long work meeting, with lots of snacks, I can choose the baby carrots instead of the Swedish Fish. Sometimes, it’s about joining in and eating more than which foods you are choosing.
- Second, If the event has food that I know I’m going to want to taste or try because it is special, I simply delay the first bite. When I start eating at the beginning of the event, it’s difficult to stop. So, simply waiting as long as possible to start can cut the quantity of food I am mindlessly eating in half! I also remind myself that–even in a situation like these–you can chew your food slowly, pay attention to how the food tastes and feels, even while listening in on a conversation!
5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Eat!
Beyond getting out of the situation, here are 5 questions you can ask yourself before indulging in food that you are only eating because you fear missing out on the chance to eat that thing!
- Would I eat this food right now if I was all alone? Are you only eating this because your friends are eating it?
- Is it true? Is this REALLY the only opportunity I have to eat this thing for the rest of my life? I’ve told myself this lie too many times. It may feel like you’ll never see this gourmet cookie again the rest of your life, but chances are, there will be more cookies like this tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
- Would I eat this if I had to pay for it? How many times do you eat something, because it’s FREE! Parties, conferences, and any social event is filled with random goodies that you’ll only eat because it’s in front of you, and it’s free!
- Would I eat this if I could recreate it at home? If you can remake this at home, maybe it’s really not as special as you thought it was.
- And finally, can I control my appetite if I only have one bite or one serving, or is going to compel me to “throw in the towel” and overeat the rest of the day?
When you can finally pin down the reasons you’re eating, it will have less power over you.
Next time you feel the need to indulge in food you didn’t want to eat, because of FOMO, practice saying no, and that resolve will get stronger each time.
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