Navigating Social Gatherings While Sticking To Your Goals

By: Kim Banks

Imagine it...you regularly enjoy social gatherings and no longer worry about the repercussions that food and drink can have on your health + nutrition.

Imagine that you're able to attend any vacation, work travel, wedding, birthday, etc, and you no longer experience anxiety about losing control of your eating, drinking, and self-care.

You do not have to worry about gaining extra body fat or losing muscle mass in for the sake of having some fun.

You easily enjoy special times with friends and family and no longer feel preoccupied and frustrated about the food and drinks that are involved.

Instead, you easily focus on the good time you're having and do not cling to the food and drinks but rather the experience itself.

How freeing would that be!?...

The value of knowing how to eat, anywhere, at any given time, and still reach your health + nutrition goals is a priceless skill!

If your goal is to sustain health results for the long-term, the skill of knowing how to navigate social situations while staying in alignment with your bigger vision is a must.

The best part? you don't have to sacrifice fun to do so!

You know how it goes...you're out with your friends and someone asks you if you want to have [insert delicious food/drink item here] and you sadly respond with, "no...I can't." leaving you with overwhelming feelings of FOMO and you now assume you cannot go out and enjoy yourself with friends ever again for the sake of your health + nutrition goals.

What if we chose a more empowering thought?

What if instead, we responded with "no, that's okay, but thank you!" because you are choosing not to take part in said item. Isn't that true though? You can have whatever food or drinks you want as long as you have access and no one is truly going to stop you. Maybe right now you choose not to have those items because you're simply choosing not to and that decision aligns most with your long term goals right now.

Or maybe you run into a problem like this...

Your uncle Randy starts endlessly talking to you at the Holiday dinner and you're stuck by the snack table. You anxiously munch away while he rambles on and before you know it there is no more peanut M&Ms left for anyone else.

Because you were not consciously acknowledging your emotions your anxiety created the emotional cue to turn to food to self soothe. Meanwhile, if we were to be more mindful of our surroundings and conscious of our thoughts we could have chosen a better solution to cope with the discomfort.

Maybe your friends invite you to a day of tailgating for your favorite sports team. Due to your lack of communication and preparedness, you do not bring any food or water and you're left munching on the fried wings, pretzels, and beer provided, --oh and no one thought to bring water so you are left bloated, dehydrated and slightly cranky from the dehydration headache you have.

How can we do better at navigating situations like this?

It starts with taking responsibility and creating a plan.

Do not leave it to fate and assume that our best judgment at the moment will help us make the most favorable decisions. Or that someone else will handle it for us.

We must take ownership of our decisions in advance if we want the outcome to be in our favor.

"Fail to plan, and plan to fail"

Before your outing, Create a strategy that is going to support you so you can focus on having fun! By being proactive in your decision making you become less reactive to your circumstances and become aligned with what you want most vs. what you want at the moment.

To begin your plan, start by asking some necessary questions to help you navigate any situation.

Knowing what to expect before it happens will help you become less reactive and be in control of your decision making.

Here are a few examples of some helpful questions to ask before attending a social event:


"Approximately what time will the event start and end?"

Note that if the gathering lasts more than 4 hours you will likely need to eat food at some point.


"Will there be food provided during the gathering?

If so, am I planning on eating the food provided at the gathering?"

Having clear intentions about eating or not at the gathering can prevent overindulging on items that were not planned.


"Should I find other means for food if I don't want to eat what is provided?"

Let's say all the food provided is not in alignment with your plan. For example, maybe you're at a children's birthday party and only pizza and ice cream are provided and you'd like to make a different choice. In this case, it might make sense to find another means of eating close to the time of the gathering.


"If not eating at the gathering, what restaurants or grocery stores are nearby that can meet my needs?

Should I just eat at home?"

Search online for grocery stores and restaurants that provide favorable options for you. You can also use meal delivery services like Instacart and Doordash if pressed for time. This is a great strategy when traveling out of town.


"Will there be special foods or drinks there that I want to indulge in during the gathering?

If so, how much will I have?"

Aim to create a plate and choose drink options that you'll enjoy and feel good about. If there are any must-have treats you'd like to take part in, note them and eat accordingly to meet your goals.

"What items will truly be worth the indulgence?"

Often it can be hard to choose what to indulge in if we are faced with too many options. Take note of a few foods and drinks you are most excited about. Take part in only what you will truly enjoy and consume them in proper serving sizes that align with your goals.

"Will I be frustrated with myself in the long run if I decide to go off of the plan I have set in advance?"

This is a great question to ask when faced with a spur of the moment decisions. Asking this question can create clarity about what is most important to us and not falling victim to what seems important at the moment.

"How can I best enjoy myself while staying on track towards my goals?"

Release guilt. If you've done the work and created a game plan that's all you need. Trust that you will make the right decisions and do your best. Focus on what you can control and let go of what you can't. Relax and have a good time!

"What phase am I in with my nutrition? Fat loss? Maintenance? Sports performance? Muscle gain?"

Discuss with your coach how you can best eat according to your goals.

Get curious and be your own advocate! Don't be shy! Ask around to get more details about the food and drinks that may be served during social gatherings, when, and what will be available.

Diving into real-world situations and keeping your nutrition on point takes practice!

The only way to become better at navigating health + nutrition during social gatherings is to put yourself out there, make a plan, ask for advice from a trusted coach, and do the best you can.

After your gathering, take note of what worked well. Then ask what could have gone better.

I work with people every day just like you that are looking to enjoy all of the fun that life has to offer all while moving closer to their nutrition + lifestyle goals!

Balance is key for sustaining results long term!

If you would like to get clear about your nutrition and create a game plan for socializing while reaching your goals I would love to hear from you! Get started today by scheduling an appointment.