Eating Lonely

Standard

When sticking to a meal plan, the hardest thing is not food~
it’s the
isolation that comes with abstaining in a social situation.

It’s Friday night and I’m standing in the middle of a catered function room surrounded by laughing wine drinkers and hors d’oeuvre nibblers.

courtesy of Colin Clicks

Just another fancy celebration for others, but it’s a full-scale war between the freshly baked dinner rolls and my will power

I am here because my lovely boyfriend has told me at minimal notice that we are attending an engagement party. Tonight.

Dress code smart casual, location is about a half hour drive and oh, by the way, finger food only. Awesome.

Normally I don’t have an issue dropping things on a whim and mingling at such a lovely social occasion. However, I knew from previous experiences that spontaneity is Clean Eating’s worst enemy and I’m dreading the mental battle that lies ahead- not just with food, but socially as well.

Tightly hugging a mini cooler bag containing my precious dinner, I entered the venue and was instantly greeted by the seductive aromas of melting cheese…

My hastily prepared BYO chicken salad starts looking less and less appealing as plates of anti-pestos, pizzas and meatballs trickle into the room. As my eyes fixate on the table of cured meats, the annoying feeling of being left out kept growing stronger.
I felt distant from all the happy people around me, involuntarily side-lined to watch the proceedings instead of participating.

Conscious that my brain was associating the enjoyment of the crowd with the food on offer, the sad truth is that I wanted to eat so I could join in on the social aspect but I didn’t actually want the food.

Eating Is Social. People have gathered around tables of food for centuries…our natural urge to do what those around us are doing, and not set ourselves apart or alienate other people by declining to eat.
– Alice G. Walton PhD (health journalist)

I face the same feeling of exclusion at most social dining events (due to my own choices and at no fault from my family and friends) but they purposely choose dining options to accommodate for my “culinary-challenged” eating plan. Most occasions though, I try to save them the trouble by packing my trusty red mini cooler bag because many restaurants are a nutrient wasteland covered in fat, cream and cheese.

I’m getting the hang of turning down deep fried entrees and degustation-style desserts without flinching, however I still feel lonely watching the people on my table enjoying these things and try to distract myself on the phone or nurse a short black coffee to pass the time.

So, if there are more random posts than usual on this blog, you know I’ve got my head down at another dinner party trying to avoid eye contact with the bread sticks!

Linked articles:
Eating Badly : Are you Overeating with Friends?

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