Is ‘Obligation Eating’ Controlling You?

Obligation EatingSeveral clients this week have talked about the frustration of ‘obligation eating’.

You know how it is.

You’re out to dinner with a friend, and while you don’t want pudding or that fourth glass of wine, they do. So you feel obliged to have more than you want, just to keep them company.

Or, you’re at your friend’s house for dinner. They’ve been slaving over a hot stove all afternoon. Unfortunately, it looks absolutely awful. You don’t want to eat it, but you feel like you have to.

Uh-oh. There’s little escape.

Or is there?

It’s true that there are a handful of situations where you can’t get out of eating something. But most of the time, the obligation to eat is a creation of our own mind.

Often clients say, “If I don’t eat what everyone else is eating I’ll ruin the fun of the party.”

That’s lovely that you think that the fate of the entire party relies on what you’re eating!

For example:

“It was my daughter’s fifth birthday, and she would’ve been very disappointed if I didn’t eat the chocolate cake.”

Reeeally? Is that true? Would your daughter’s party actually have been spoiled if you hadn’t eaten the chocolate cake?

I’d go so far as say no-one – not even birthday girl herself – cares what or how much you eat. She’s too busy having fun.

Let’s reverse the situation.

Imagine that you’re the one who’s prepared a special pudding for a friend, and she says she’s too full to eat it.

Unless you’re a psychopath, are you going to bear a lifelong grudge against this person?

Are you going to bring it up every time you see her? Will it keep you up at night? Will it actually spoil 2016 for you?

Sure, you might feel a little disappointed, but odds are a few hours later, you won’t even remember it.

And let’s say you’re on the receiving end. Can you imagine any of your friends saying, “Remember on July 12th 1996, you didn’t have that apple pie I made?”

Haha, I don’t think so!

Obligation eating arises from us worrying about what other people think. It’s our very human desire to fit in with the tribe. It’s much more about our fear of what they’ll think, rather than what they actually do think.

Instead, take a step back and logically think about whether there’s a genuine reason for eating something that you don’t want.

There rarely is.

Listen to your body.

Your body instinctively knows when it’s comfortable when it’s had enough. It was born knowing – it’s an instinctual signal.

So start noticing when you overeat out of obligation or fear of what others think, and question your thinking. With this new awareness you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you have more control than you think.

And from now on, start caring more about your own health and happiness, rather than what other people deem ‘right’ for you.

Love etc, Avril

PS: If you sense that obligation eating is stopping you from having the health and happiness you desire, then the virtual gastric band can help. Why not c’mon over here and start a conversation and make peace with food, once and for all.

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