Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Socializing times

Lately, I haven't talked much about how my socialization goals were going. At the beginning of the year, the goal was to get out and socialize more with people which also included lessening the food anxiety. Some of you might remember these socialization posts:

Friday night socialization
When you don't know what you're having for dinner
Dinner update which follows previous post
Spontaneous moment with pizza
Adventures in spontaneity

Now of course, you don't have to read all these posts, they just give an idea of where I have been on the socialization/food anxiety scale. Socialization scale low, anxiety high.

Since April, I've had at least one social get-together with various friends a month. They've mostly been outings for lunch or dinner with general visits attached. On all these occasions, I've actually had some lower anxiety while also enjoying the company. It's not that I didn't like hanging out with my friends before, but rather that there was always a glass ceiling type effect. I'd get to a certain point, but then find it difficult to shatter the glass and breakthrough to a place of
real enjoyable-ness. Instead, I was still too worried over the food or their perceptions of me.

The last few social outings consisted of Thai dinner with a friend whom I had not seen in awhile and several visits with with a another friend, K. where we've had Chinese buffet and Indian food. Today, I'm having brunch with another friend whom I have not seen in awhile, and next week, possibly dinner with someone else. I'm excited about both outings and hope to be able to catch up in general conversation with them.

So slowly, I'm learning to let go of some of the anxiety. There is no longer a feeling of dread or how I'm going to look, even on those days when my body image is very poor. It's like that Nike commercial of "Just Do It."

This is not to say that I'm completely care-free over social outings with food. I'm finding a lot really depends on the company (still have issues with strangers or people I do not know well) and that it is more on my terms. But as with everything, it's all a learning process with that nice little bell curve.


Just Eat It! said...

I think it's great that you're challenging yourself to go on social outings, specifically involving food. I think after a while, it's possible to become desensitized to the anxiety of eating in front of other people.

I know what you mean about the company you're with. I find that I can only go on food outings with people that I trust, whereas with people I don't know, it's very hard.

Maeve said...

I second the sentiment that it's great you are challenging yourself in this way.

Social gatherings can be so unbelievably stressful and avoiding them is often tempting. That being said, "healthy people" seem to find them really enjoyable and something to look forward to. Hopefully you will soon get more comfortable and be able to partake in the enjoyment without feeling as much of the food related anxiety.

Kim said...

Social challenges are great! I know I have a tendency to be in my bubble, so I have to push myself. The more I do it, the less anxiety I have. It's kind of like the exposures on "Obsessed." That's how I think of them. It comforts me to know that most people are a little socially anxious. We all just want to be accepted and liked. When I think about it that way, I feel more compassion for myself and the people I'm meeting. Keep at it :)

Angel said...

I really commend you for pushing through your comfort zone. I too struggle with social situations, especially with strangers. It is nearly impossible for me on low body image days. I love your "just do it" attitude!

I Hate to Weight said...

social outings - often difficult. i've enjoyed some recent activities without food. my boyfriend, my neighbors and i went out on motorcycles and tooled around the countryside. then, we got something to drink.

activities based around food are still hard if they're not really around my parameters. i want them to be when i'm hungry, at times that i usually eat, where i can get foods i'm comfortable with, with people i like, preferably without alcohol (i've stopped drinking), where food is served and taken away - as opposed to left out for nibbling....

see why i don't really like food-related activities?

keep up the great work. you are so clearly working hard. i admire you.

Tiptoe said...

Thanks for the support everyone. My brunch on Tues. went great!

JEI, good word: desensitization. I use it all the time with dog clients. Need to remember that is really all I am doing too.

Maeve,yes, that is the goal: to feel comfortable in food gatherings. If you think about it, it takes so much more effort to constantly be thinking about the food and such.

Kim, pushing can be hard but definitely is good to learn to be out of the comfort zone a bit. I've found myself having to do that in other areas of my life too.

Angel, the "just do it" attitude can be tough, but I think in these types of situations, it really is helpful. You learn that you can get through it. Btw, your blog is lovely. I love the photos you use for your entries.

Lissy, I think it is good to be able to enjoy both. Food outings may not always be our favorite, but the point where we can be less anxiety-ridden and enjoy ourselves is the goal. I may never become completely immersed with all activities food, but I want to be able to feel more at ease. Thanks for the compliment1