Why do I turn down a dinner invite, just to eat lots at home by myself?

Have you every set yourself the goal of "getting healthy" or "losing weight" but then found that this makes you dread social interactions around food? Perhaps you worry that other people will pressure you into eating something "off plan" or that you will give in to temptation and ruin your day by over-indulging. Perhaps you worry about the fact that you don't know how the food has been cooked and have no way of measuring or controlling the calories that it contains. Perhaps you just have a fear of not being able to stop once you have tasted some delicious restaurant food. Whatever your reasons - it is actually very common for people trying to change their eating habits/get healthy/lose weight, to then end up avoiding social interactions around food completely.


Now there are a few issues with this. Firstly, it is unsustainable long-term - do you really want to never go out for dinner with friends and family again? Secondly, it doesn't prioritise your mental and emotional wellbeing - having those social interactions and connecting with others around food is so important for your happiness. Thirdly - I often hear my clients telling me that something very strange happens when they cancel or don't attend a dinner/meal invite from friends/ family. They often then end up feeling really bad about themselves because they haven't gone out - and then over-indulging on food alone at home. Sometimes even bingeing or over-eating to the point that they feel uncomfortable - knowing that they probably would have eaten less food had they just gone out for the meal.


The reason for this unhelpful pattern of behaviour is that denying themselves social connection and forcing themselves to stay indoors because of worries about weight/food choices/body shape, can then cause them to obsess over these very things. So they end up spending time at home worrying about their weight/food choices/ body shape. This in turn can often cause a low mood or stress/anxiety and a lot of people turn to food (especially very sugary or fatty food) to cope with low mood/stress/anxiety. So it becomes a bit of an unhelpful and vicious cycle.


Having a desire to get healthy and look after your physical health is a great thing. However, it does need to be approached in a way that is sustainable long-term. As you make changes to your diet and lifestyle, a good test for whether these changes are helpful is to ask yourself whether this a way of life you can see yourself sticking to in 3/4 years' time. So any approach that doesn't build in meals out, allowing you to eat your favourite foods from time-to-time or that is intended just to be a quick-fix, is unlikely to be helpful long-term. Also food should be something that you are able to enjoy, to socialise around and to really savour - eating well and achieving great health doesn't have to be a miserable journey.


If you would like some help in building habits that are straightforward to stick to and that you can sustain for the long-term, please get in touch with me at info@thefoodtherapyclinic.com. I have also created an online binge-eating treatment programme, which will allow you to shift how you think about and feel about food and in turn will shift the food choices that you make. You can find out more about this programme here: https://www.thefoodtherapyclinic.com/online-binge-eating-treatment


“Food brings people together on many different levels. It’s nourishment of the soul and body; it’s truly love.”