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Podcast: Resisting Temptation: Conquering Junk Food in Social Settings


Peer Pressure and Fear of Missing Out

Please note this transcription is generated by software. There may be some errors. I hope you find it useful.


Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to Fit and Fabulous with me, Dr. Orlena. I hope that you are feeling fabulous today. Today I want to talk to you about how to stop eating treats or junk food in a social environment. And I know that this can be such a big hurdle that so many people face. I have so many people who say to me, oh my goodness, I eat healthily except...

My husband makes it really difficult because he brings home treats the whole time, or my family cook for me and they cook me this, you know, treat food that I don't really want to be eating or I'm going out to a social situation and there's cakes and cookies and things like that, and I feel obliged to eat it.

So this is a really big hurdle and I think it's one of the most difficult hurdles to get over in terms of healthy eating. So before we talk about this, I want to take a little step back and talk about the concept of fear of missing out because this plays a big part in this situation. So the fear of missing out is this fear that you are missing out on something.

Story: Fear of Missing Out

And I want to tell you a little story. So last week you may know that I swim pretty much every single day in the summer. Oh, that's coming to the end soon in the sea, and I go with a group of friends. And we normally go to a beach called Port Pedigree, which is a 15-minute cycle ride from my house.

Now, on this particular day, everybody wanted to go to a cave, which is a little bit further away, and the idea of going to this cave is you get there super early in the morning and the sun rises on one particular day in the summer at exactly the entrance to the cave. So you can sit in the cave and you can see the sun rising, and it's this beautiful, amazing experience.

Decision-Making and FOMO

Now, I have done this before. And I did it in the middle of Covid when we were allowed out to do things. But I remember sitting in this cave and there must have been about 200 people in this cave. I may be exaggerating, but we got up really, really early. We swam. We sat in this cold cave with loads of other people.

And although the sun was beautiful, I didn't really feel like I really enjoyed that particular experience. And I remember swimming back and we swam back quite slowly and getting really, really cold. So my memories of this. Were not, not amazing. Anyhow, it comes to the point where I need to make a decision.

Choosing Happiness Over FOMO

Am I gonna go with my friends who are going to this other place? It's a 15-minute drive away, and I don't particularly like driving. If I can go on my bike, I'd much rather go on my bike. Am I gonna go and join in this swim? That in my mind is, it's still like, oh my goodness, that's the best thing to do because you know, my friends are doing it.

Or am I just going to get up? Normally I can get a little bit extra time in bed cycle, do a swim by myself, and as much as I don't mind swimming by myself, it is much nicer to swim with people than it is to swim by myself. So I'm making this decision, and in the end, I decided I was just gonna go for a swim by myself, and my rational brain makes this decision as in.

Accepting Your Decision and Enjoying the Moment

Oh my goodness. You can get up a little bit later, you can still see the sunrise. You can do all of these things, and that's my rational brain sort of thinking through and sort of like putting like one point for this and one point for that and another point for this and really adding up those points.

But really and truly at the root of this, Decision is this idea of the fear of missing out on what all of my friends are doing, of not joining in what they are doing or going and doing it by myself. So anyhow, I went and did it by myself. I decided, okay, I'm gonna do it by myself. I'm gonna swim by myself.

I went and I enjoyed the sunrise. I saw the sunrise, but always in the back of my mind. I'm busy enjoying my experience, and I did enjoy my experience. But in the back of my mind, there is this still this little whisper of you could have gone and done what they did. You could have done, gone, and done it. It would've been fine.

Managing Peer Pressure

You could have gone and done it. That fear of missing out. Now, another part of this is I really think that my brain is trying to make a decision between the best thing, let's call that decision A, which does not exist. And decision B and C. So decision B is going by myself and decision C is going with them.

But really and truly what my brain wants is decision A, which is everybody just does what they normally do, which is our normal swim without having to go and do the cave thing. And that is not happening. So my brain is sort of like, you know, spinning on its wheels, spinning on its wheels, and using a lot of energy.

Like normally when I go swimming, I get up, I go swimming, I enjoy my swim, I come back. I've had a great time. But I can see in my brain that this is just using a lot of my energy. My energy is going over and over mulling over this idea, even when I'm swimming. Even after I'm swimming. So afterwards they came back and they said, oh my goodness.

Celebrating Your Own Choices

It wasn't actually that great. There were loads of people there. We actually got the day wrong. The sun didn't come up in the middle of the cave. Oh my goodness, I'm never doing that cave again early in the morning. And then I feel like, oh, hooray. I made the right decision based on what they said. But this is the wrong way of thinking about it.

I made a decision. And that was the decision I made. And then once you make that decision, you just have to go in and enjoy that decision as much, as much as you possibly can. So instead of thinking of it like, oh my goodness, it's, I've made a decision between like there was something better. No, this is the decision I have made and I am going to enjoy it to the maximum.

Applying the Concept to Healthy Eating Choices

And I think that's how we need to think about things instead of allowing our brains to just spiral out of control. I noticed it again last night. My friends decided to go on a night swim, and obviously I could have gone with them, but I was tired and I kind of didn't want to. And the decision is what is the best thing for me right now.

Yes, I'm missing out on that swim that night. Swim. But you know what? It was late at night and my body is just going, you're tired. Go to bed. You want to go to bed? You don't want to go to the beach, now you want to go to sleep. So this like untangling this fear of missing out. Really. At the root of it, you need to think what is the best decision for me without being influenced by other people.

Overcoming Social Influences

This idea of being influenced by other people, you know, if you could. Put yourself, isolate yourself and think about, you know, different people in different parts of the world and think, well, those people are having an amazing time doing something else. Those people are having an amazing time doing something else.

There's always something going on. It's just that we are not aware of it and it's when we become aware of it and it's really brought up to our face that it becomes a problem, that fear of missing out. So another example I always see is when I'm walking around the beaches, and obviously people are on holiday.

Embracing Your Choices

People on holiday always go to restaurants. The restaurants are full, full, full of people, but this is my life and we don't go out to restaurants, in fact, very much at all, to be honest. But it's easy to walk along and think, oh, look at those people enjoying themselves, having a nice meal or a glass of wine, or a beer or whatever they're doing.

Being in the restaurant and then having to remind myself, you know, they're on holiday and this is their holiday, and you are here every single day. If you walked along this beach every single day and every single day I saw somebody who was sitting in a restaurant enjoying a glass of beer and thinking, oh my goodness, I need to do that.

Making Informed Decisions

I would be sitting in those restaurants all the time, every single day. And clearly that's not what I want for my life. So it's really easy when a decision, when something comes into our orbit to be swayed by it and think, oh my goodness, this really affects me and my decision making when really and truly it shouldn't.

Navigating Peer Pressure in Food Choices

So how, how is this relevant to being in a situation where you are being faced with a decision to make food because of. Society because of peer pressure essentially. And peer pressure is such a strong influence in the human race. You'll see it in your kids and with ourselves, this peer pressure, this idea that other people are doing something, therefore we need to do it.

Developing the Resilience to Resist Peer Pressure

But on top of that, you have this idea of, oh my goodness, I am missing out. They are enjoying that cake, and I want to enjoy that cake as well. So this is how we unravel this. Now, this is a muscle, this is a skill that you need to build up. It isn't like, oh my goodness, you switch a flick, you, oh my goodness, flick a switch, and suddenly you stop being influenced by other people.

Three Eating Options in Social Situations

What actually happens is you put yourself in a situation where you think, Okay, other people are eating and I'm gonna go into that situation and I'm not going to be swayed to eat things that I don't want to eat. So I'm going to go and, for example, not have a beer when other people are having a beer.

That's the first time I'm going to do it. Now, next time it might not be the same. You might go and have a beer or a cake or whatever the thing is that you don't want to have. And that's okay. It's not about like, okay, I'm just gonna turn it off now. You can do that if you want, but the reality is you can turn it off for a bit and then it's gonna come back, and then it's gonna come back.

Finding Joy in Your Choices

So how I coach people through this is go into that situation and you've got three options every time you face one of those situations. The first is you can allow yourself to eat and drink whatever you want without restricting yourself in any way whatsoever. Just, I'm gonna indulge and I'm gonna hugely indulge.

The second option is, no, I'm going to not eat any of the food or drink that I don't want to eat. And the the third option is to have a sort of halfway house. I'm gonna allow myself to have one slice of cake, and that's it. I'm going to stop after that. Now, on some levels, that one can actually be the most difficult because you know, after you've taken the first one, then you have to stop.

Long-Term Impact of Choices

But those are your three options. Now, if you are going to decide whichever of those, there's no right or wrong answer to this question. Whatever you decide, go in and enjoy that situation. Whether you choose to eat the cake or drink the beer, or whatever it is. If you are not choosing to do that, then you just enjoy the situation and see other people drinking beer or eating cake, and you are doing something else.

You are enjoying the social scene. You are enjoying chatting to your friend. You're enjoying being with your family. Just shifting slightly to, it's not that I'm missing out. I am enjoying this experience. I'm getting a lot from this experience, and on top of that, I'm building up this muscle strength, which allows me to go into these social situations and go, do you know what?

Creating Lasting Change

Actually, I'm perfectly fine here. And this happens. I've seen it in my clients to begin with. They are, oh my goodness. You know, I go into a social situation and I find myself eating cakes and cookies and things that I don't want to, and they get to the stage where I, they go into a social situation and they just say no.

And it's not difficult. It's not about depriving yourself. It's not about using discipline. It's easy to say no when you have no desire to eat fat food. So if somebody says to me, Hey, do you want a brandy? I don't drink brandy. I don't drink spirits. I hate them. If somebody says to me, do you want a whiskey and water?

Understanding the Impact of Food Choices

I will just go, no thank you. Why would I want that? I don't like it. It's not very nice. And so that's part of the journey as well is really understanding your desire. And what you put in your mouth and how food affects you. And one of the things that I really use is an analogy of cigarettes and thinking, okay, sugar in big quantities is really bad for your body.

And thinking about an analogy of cigarette, one cigarette is not going to cause lung cancer, but if you consistently smoke, yes, you are going to end up in trouble. And it's the same with sugar. One slice of cake is not going to cause diabetes, but consistently eating it over a period of time, you significantly increase your chances of getting diabetes.

Conclusion and Workshop Announcement

So there is a good correlation between an analogy in your brain of thinking of. Sugar as something that damages your body. And we're so keen on thinking of the immediate gratification that, Hey, I'm gonna get a sugar rush, that we don't stop to think of the negative consequences that that sugar has on our bodies.

So just a few thoughts for you to really help you understand how you can manage being in a social situation. And now I did talk about, you know, what happens when your family cook for you and things like that. And I think one really big tip I have for you is, To talk to your family about your goals and your aims and help them.

If you are trying to give up sugar, if you are trying to eat more healthily, explain to them, Hey, this is what I'm doing. Your family and friends want to help you, and normally they do things in order to help you to please you. And if they are making cakes and treats and things like that, it's probably because they don't understand what it is you want, if you're trying to get more healthy.

Create Your Own Healthy Eating System/ Meal Plan that works for you so you can Lose Weight

So a few I ideas for you now, please remember that on Wednesday. We have an amazing workshop called Create Your Own Healthy System slash meal plan for healthy eating so that you can, that that works for you, so that you can really create a system so that you can easily create healthy food. And that is happening on Wednesday at 1:00 PM.

Eastern time, so make sure you sign up for that. It is gonna be amazing. I will leave the link in the show notes. The price for that is $49. It'll be worth your time and money if you come away with a system that you can sustain. Oh my goodness. It's gonna be so easy for you to create healthy food and stick to that plan and I will teach you all the tricks that I use with my clients and myself right now.

Okay, have a lovely day. I will see you soon. Bye-bye.


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