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Navigating Social Gatherings

Katherine Webb, M.A., NBC-HWC

Whether it's short-term or long-term, many of us have specific dietary requirements or preferences in effort to improve our health. Below are a few tips for navigating social gatherings while sticking to our plan!

1. Plan ahead: If you know something will be served that you cannot or prefer not to eat or drink, then eat beforehand and/or offer to bring something that you CAN eat. For example, eating healthy foods just before arriving or bringing a large salad for a dinner party or gluten/dairy free cookies to a birthday party.

2. Communicate beforehand: let your friends/family know ahead of time. Most of the time, people who know us well want to support us in our goals! Let your friends/family know that if the focus of the evening is the meal and accommodations are inconvenient, that you understand and will join them next time!

3. Be prepared to say “no:” If someone offers you something you’re not eating, politely decline. You can choose to explain or leave it at “no, thank you” with a smile. If you’d like, have a few back pocket responses prepared. Example: “I appreciate the offer. But I have some dietary restrictions I need to stick to” or “I’m good for now!”

4. Focus on socializing: enjoy the get-together and connections with people you’re with. Shift focus away from food and on to the experience.

5. Now, celebrate your success! It’s swimming upstream in our culture to prioritize health in this way. You are honoring your own body and your own goals, which is rewarding! Each time you do this, the momentum builds! Remind yourself of your past successes and the outcome of feeling your best.

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