I want to talk some more today on restaurants and travel and summer food non-fun. We look at summer and imagine other people taking cruises to Alaska, going to Rome, Paris, or Reno, and sometimes there is the feeling of “not enough”, “not good enough”, “why can’t I?”
Foods that trigger compulsive eaters seem to abound in the summer, from cold frozen desserts to gorgeous iced beverages to something hot off the grill. Where ever you go, you may find them in abundance.
I said in a previous blog… don’t go to a party hungry! Even if you need to add an extra metabolic to be sure you will not be more than four hours without eating, have the metabolic in the car on the way there if you need to.
(By the way, a “metabolic” is a weighed and measured, planned amount of food designed to get you from one meal to the next safely.)
Always call ahead – to restaurants, parties, weddings, Aunt Tilly’s summer barbecue, to be sure there will be food you can eat. Offer to bring Aunt Tilly a vegetable or fruit platter, to share, if that is what you need to be safe.
When the food is set out buffet-style, walk down the buffet line backwards – so you can see all the foods available. Now make your healthy and appropriate choices and get your plate and napkin. When there is something inappropriate that tempts you, tell yourself you don’t want to hurt your body with that and just move on.
Now relax and enjoy the meal, then go party! Sit where there is no food, circulate to folk who aren’t eating, and enjoy the people you came to see… perhaps you need a mental agenda of who you want to talk with and what you want to ask about. Focus on the people, not the food.
When or if it gets too hard, be welcome to make your apologies to your host/hostess and leave early. It may help to “bookend” these types of situations. That means you talk with someone in your support group ahead of time, and she is waiting for you to call her if there is a problem, or when it is over. This gives you great peace and power because you know you have the support of someone you trust if you need it.
Please do not plan to be perfect! OA’s definition of abstinence is this:
“Abstinence is the action of refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors while working towards or maintaining a healthy body weight. Spiritual, emotional and physical recovery is the result of living the Overeaters Anonymous Twelve-Step program.”
There are many other diets and food plans in the world today, but my favorite sentence comes from Dignity of Choice, the OA meal plan guide. It says:
Abstinence is a state of mind characterized by freedom from the obsession with food.
Realize that there is a difference between following your food plan, making the choices needed for today, and breaking your abstinence. Be gentle with yourself.
Especially when you are traveling, it is important to keep in contact with your support system. Look for Twelve Step meetings wherever you go; travel with people who support your meal plan; take some 12 step literature with you.
You used to trust food to get you through any situation; now you need to learn to trust your Higher Power and other carefully selected people to support you and help you behave in a way you are proud of. The more prior planning you do in this area, the easier it will become.
There are more things to enjoy in the summer than food; go find them and enjoy them. Watch the Renaissance Facebook and Instagram pages for more hints about the summer solstice and its importance, and work on moving yourself into becoming the person you really want to be!
But next week we will talk about boundaries and saboteurs. Join us!
Blessings to you.