Everything I used to do, everywhere I went, I thought:
“What can I eat there?”
“What can I eat to celebrate this?”
“Which food will make me feel (happy, calm, loving, excited)?”
If there wasn’t a food focus, I almost thought it probably wasn’t worth even going. Why would I do something without the promise or motivation of eating something? Going to the park without a picnic was unthinkable, leaving the house close to mid-day without lunch plans was just silly, and ALL get-togethers with friends and family involved food.
I needed that food focus to make me feel like the trip was ‘worth it’. The food filled in the gaps when I couldn’t feel the sense of connection, celebration, or satisfaction that I wanted.
Which was always.
Because food was how I’d learned to experience EVERY emotion.
Food and drugs
We’re usually more aware of the sadness-loneliness-anxiety based eating, so this celebratory-going-out emotional eating falls under our radar – but it can be just as powerful. If not more so.
A woman I spoke to the other day said to me that she almost wished she was addicted to an illegal drug instead of an emotional eater. That is how powerful she felt her emotional eating was. She said that what really sabotaged her was the social acceptance, food focus, and even pressure, to eat and use food socially. She said that at least drugs would be illegal – and therefore have a high barrier.
She said she found it impossible to be social or celebrate in her life without food that really didn’t fit her current goals.
If you eat emotionally, you can relate. You use food as a powerful way to regulate and manipulate your emotions – and going out is a key time and space to get some of that food-emotion connection.
Emotional eating is NOT limited to eating chocolate and chips alone on the sofa in the dark after a bad day at work. It’s any eating used to change your feelings – and it’s not all bad. But it’s often unconscious and doesn’t serve your higher self.
Or your weight loss efforts.
Navigating social situations where food is the main focus is a whole ‘nother topic, but today I’m going to give you 11 outings you can go on -alone or with friends – that do NOT involve a food focus.
11 fun things to do with no food focus
board game cafes
gym, yoga, movement you love
museums and galleries
If you’re like me, and you start to feel like you need the food to make it special or enjoyable, calmly recognize that.
It’s natural, and it’s your pattern. It’s ok. Gently take that energy and refocus it on the needs that are being met by the outing. What are you feeling? Focus on that and let that fill you, without the need for food to enhance those feelings.
Over time you’ll learn to experience emotions without the need to feed them with junk.
Do you have any more suggestions for activities without a food focus? Leave us a comment 🙂