The Big Game: How to Survive (AND Enjoy) the Snack Table | Alsana
 In Eating Disorders, Tuesday's With Tammy

The Big Game: How to Survive (AND Enjoy) the Snack Table

Food-centric events can be triggering for people with eating disorders.

Tammy Beasley, RDN, CEDRD, CSSD, LD

Tammy Beasley, RDN, CEDRD, CSSD, LD

Whether you’re there for the game, the commercials, or the halftime show, everyone deserves to enjoy the Big Game and all the goodies that come with it. Here are some tips to help you face your snack-table fears.

Try Your Friend’s Dip

Your friend WILL bring dip. Or fudge. Or maybe something resembling cheese. Barring any allergies or signs of alien life, I urge you to try it, really try it, and tell your friend what you think.

This little activity will help you take your focus off of your fear and redirect it onto your friend and the love they put into the food they brought to share. Don’t lie if you don’t care for the food! Just do your friend and yourself the kindness of being open to something new that was made with love.

Come ready to play!

What I mean is, while I hope you allow yourself to enjoy the snack table and everything else the event has to offer, it’s still important to come prepared. Planning ahead for the fun also means taking care of your body by staying hydrated and fueled throughout the day. I don’t want you to get tackled (see what I did there?) by intense physical cravings that make you feel out of control around the game table. We are looking for balance here.

Slow down and use your senses

First of all, you only came to this party for the commercials, right? So there is plenty of time for you to really slow down and experience your food choices. Eating is one of the only biologically necessary activities that uses all of our senses at once. It can be overwhelming, but it can also be marvelous.

  • Eat with your eyes first. What looks appetizing? Familiar? New? Did you know that digestion begins with the smell AND sight of food?
  • Notice the aroma of your food choices. Are there any memories tied to this smell? Is there one you noticed as soon as you walked in the door that you’re curious to try?
  • Observe the texture and even the sound of each food. The quivering jello, a snap of a carrot stick, the crunchy chips, the glob of spinach dip on your jeans (oops), the popping of popped corn.
  • Then, of course, we taste the food. Savor it. Chewing each bite before picking up the next bite. Checking in with our hunger level and responding in a loving way, one bite at a time.

And BOOM! You just created a mindful moment in the middle of a party. Zen master level: Awesome.

"In order to flourish, we have to be flexible and allow ourselves to snuggle and get comfy with the beauty and messiness of imperfection because perfection does not exist."

“In order to flourish, we have to be flexible and allow ourselves to snuggle and get comfy with the beauty and messiness of imperfection because perfection does not exist.”

Be prepared to make a strategic move

It never fails. Where there’s a copious amount of snack food, there are boring people talking about diets. And honestly, you’re just too cool for that.

Politely (but that’s negotiable), remove yourself from conversations that somehow get stuck on diet culture and how “bad” the party food is. Food is just food, not a moral judgment on your character.

Food is not good or bad. Food is necessary, as are the mindful and deeply individual decisions that go into creating a relationship with food. You could step on your soapbox if you’d like, but I’d recommend simply finding a crowd with better banter and enjoying yourself.

Make room to have a full, well-rounded experience

Food may be the part of the Big-Game fun that you are most excited about – otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have read this far. What I want most for you this Sunday and every day is the ability to be present in the moment, devoting less and less of your precious energy over time to worrying or planning or rearranging your life around food.

Food will always be a part of your life, and life is, by nature, not predictable or plan-able. In order to flourish, we have to be flexible and allow ourselves to snuggle and get comfy with the beauty and messiness of imperfection because perfection does not exist.

At the Big Game, I want you to laugh and enjoy your friends. I want you to allow yourself to eat something just because it looks and smells yummy. And I want you to remember that it’s ok to struggle. Struggling means you’re trying, and that’s a victory in my book.

We Like You Already

I hope these tips help you enjoy this social gathering and beyond, but I also wanted to let you know that recovery takes community. If you are struggling with your relationship with food, we would like to be your recovery community. Please connect with us today so we can help you live a life free from food anxiety.

We’re here to help!

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