I’m socially awkward and I’m an oddball in general. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I’m definitely OK with my weirdness and the things that make me unique. I do, however, still revert to my younger self when I’m in new social situations. Over the years, I’ve coped with this feeling in a variety of unhealthy ways. One of those unhealthy coping mechanisms has been that I’ll just eat/snack/drink uncontrollably at social gatherings. I’m usually not hungry but I just need to occupy myself so I don’t feel so darn uncomfortable in my own skin. My rational self knows that, not only are people not even thinking about me, but they are probably preoccupied with their own insecurities. Nonetheless, I find this to be the one area I haven’t quite conquered yet.
I’ve found, when coaching my clients through their HCG journey, that social situations are a huge hurdle and/or road block. I will ask my client what (specifically) triggered the compulsion to eat or drink poorly in a social situation. I really want to get to the bottom of why we cannot seem to maintain our healthy eating habits when we are socializing. This, of course, opened a can of worms! I’m happy it did though because this is clearly a place where we need to analyze and figure out why we self sabotage in these situations over and over again.
The factors are many and myriad. They range from complex family dynamics to a (very common) deeply ingrained association between happiness in social settings and decadent food and alcohol. These factors, in my opinion, are all understandable and certainly valid. Initially, I wanted an answer for my clients. I wanted a tried and true formula but I was unable to come up with one that felt doable to me. I researched (also known as Googling lol) and the information felt detached and generic and very one-size-fits-all. Or, conversely, there was a lot of advice that suggested abstaining from social gatherings while on a diet or very rigid protocols that seemed unlikely to stick. Again, I was not satisfied with that answer. I want you to live normally and happily while eating healthily. Otherwise, it’s not sustainable so what’s the point. When you leave me, I want you to just carry on seamlessly and feel completely empowered to take ownership of your health and body!
After researching and thinking about how I could best help people overcome this hurdle I came up with an approach that can be used going into any and every social engagement. My approach with my clients has been to assess each social situation separately and well in advance. I will ask you if you have something coming up. We will then talk about all the possible triggers that may arise in that situation. I will help you come up with strategies to manage all of these triggers and even unforseen ones if possible. Sometimes, the answer is to say “no” to an event. If you know that an event will only bring you stress and anxiety, you are well within your right to sit it out. I found that, after really delving into each social situation separately and creating a personalized game plan each time, that the success rate of my clients shot through the roof! This is certainly something you can do on your own and, with practice, you will only get better at it. Your homework this week is to think about a situation in the near future that is giving you anxiety. There is no need to even think about the healthy eating for this drill. This is just a tool to help you start to understand yourself better. Follow these steps and see how you do.
This will be useful with the holidays around the corner and I’d love to hear all about your ups and downs. Or maybe you have some great ideas or tools of your own. Just shoot me an email to let me know what worked or didn’t work or even just to say hello :-)
Personally, I feel that one of the most frustrating aspects of many programs (not just diet programs) is that the power lies within the the person or entity that is dispensing the information to you. There is always this sense that they know more than you do and so, in turn, you need them. For me, this codependency is not sustainable. It works out beautifully when you are in relationship with that person or company but what happens when you eventually need or want to detach and take ownership of your journey. As your coach, my ultimate goal is to equip you with the information you need to be able to maintain your weight and a healthy lifestyle when the day comes to end our time together. My role is to be your teacher, not your crutch!
Much of our inability to achieve our weight loss goals comes from a lack of knowledge and a lack of confidence. Throughout our time together, I will learn about you and what your personal roadblocks are. I will then gift you with the information you need in order to rebuild your self-esteem and , hopefully, your life! There are so many things you don’t think are a major roadblocks like negative self-talk, lack of sleep etc. The good news is that there is a plethora of tools at our disposal to break down these roadblocks. Your homework this week is to practice esteemable acts that build YOU up! Working on your self-esteem is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself!