I had eleven client sessions on Tuesday. Everyone wants to come in, before the holiday weekend. And I pack sessions in, so that I can take a couple of days off. Depending on the time of year, certain topics seem to pop up on repeat. This week, there was a lot of talk about entertaining and social gatherings. There are different variables at play when you’re at someone’s home versus a restaurant or hotel.

In a session with a longtime client, we discussed dessert. I’ll call this client Pie, to protect his anonymity. Pie told me he had three events at friend’s houses, a dinner party, a pool party/BBQ and a cocktail party. Pie is pretty social. We usually budget with clients and strategize for cocktail intake, carb consumption and sweet treats. Of course, we’re more lenient for holiday weeks.

I asked pie if he anticipated sweet treats, over the weekend. He paused and said, “I expect there will be pie.” So, I started negotiations asking Pie how often he’d pie. And he said, “well I don’t know how often it will be offered.” This time I paused and said, “I don’t think it’s a good strategy to have desserts, every time they are offered.” I explained there’s a difference between the host who says, “I baked this, you have to try it” and a bunch of desserts set out on a table. None of us want to appear rude but you also don’t need to consume things you don’t wish to or like. And it’s really a fraction of the time others notice and/or care. Pie decided to test this out, in an effort to only consume the sweet that looked appealing. There’s social eating pressure and there’s perceived social pressure.

In another session, we discussed being a houseguest with food out all day. “If I don’t pay attention, I’ll graze for the entire day.” I asked this client, we’ll call her Fun, why she feels tempted to pick at food. Fun is perceptive and said, “sometimes I eat when it’s socially awkward.” She also said that she feels responsible that people are having a good time. I raised an eyebrow.

Gatherings can be anxiety provoking but I explained to Fun that she didn’t need to eat to help others enjoy themselves. We had a good laugh. I suggested a 2-hour rule. If you have guac and veggies (if they’re there, better than chips), try to wait 2 hours before you return to the food spread. We also discussed putting all food consumed on a plate or napkin, to make it more mindful. Some shrimp here, pretzels there, a few cheese cubes- it’s easy to have no clue what you’re eating.

Social gatherings can push all our buttons. And when our buttons are pushed, we can have urges to eat or drink. Whether you don’t want to insult anyone, like Pie, or you’re mindless eating, like Fun- you probably know your M.O. I’m completely not suggesting a treat free 4th or summer but I’ll have a whole new crew of clients, come Monday, and we’ll all feel successful if we eat pie or snacks because they’re delicious versus because we feel we have to.

I have a family wedding to attend. I’ll be having our Foodtrainers’ nutcase in the car en route. I’ll also get a glass of water each time I order a drink. And I’ll have a couple Lord Jones gummies in my purse because just in case…did I mention it’s a family wedding?

Happy and healthy 4th to you and yours! If you haven’t please subscribe and listen to the new, Foodtrainers’ podcast.

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