If you’re an emotional eater, you may experience this common conundrum: you do well when at home during the week - eating the right foods and portion sizes. However, whenever there is a social event or potluck, you tend to overeat and your portion sizes are far larger than at home. You pass it off as “having a good time”, but perhaps you’re starting to wonder if that’s all it is.

Most compulsive eaters have a hard time sticking to what’s good for them when eating out or in social situations. Obviously, when we are faced with richer, high calorie foods at social events the temptation to overeat will be greater; when the atmosphere is celebratory our minds determine that a special occasion is excuse enough to deviate from the norm of tossed salads and baked chicken.

However, there is some psychology involved as well. To get to the bottom of it, ask yourself these questions: Am I wanting to feel “a part of” by eating what everyone else is eating and not being “left out”? Am I feeling self-conscious, believing that if I don’t have cake or Aunt Sally’s casserole others will notice and be disappointed? Do I feel a little uneasy being around others I don’t know well and am therefore seeking a little added security in the starchy, heavier foods being served? Am I taking advantage of a free meal by “going for it”?

Try to be conscious of your uncomfortable feelings. Awareness is the first step. You may want to mention your uncomfortable feelings to a friend – talking about it will help you feel better. I like to say a little prayer, asking for help when I am feeling vulnerable. Pray to have the feelings removed instead of eating over them. If you think of what you can do to help out at the party you will immediately feel more involved and it will help others get to know you. Most importantly, remember that what others think of you is not nearly as important as what you think of you. And waking up in the morning feeling good about what you ate the night before will make you feel great!

Author's Bio: 

Having lost 50 lbs. through identifying and addressing the underlying causes of her emotional eating, Tricia Greaves founded Heal Your Hunger an online resource which offers hope and healing for emotional eaters worldwide. Tricia is also the director of The Greaves Foundation for those with nowhere else to turn for help with eating disorders, obesity and addictions. Tricia is the author of many articles on emotional eating, eating disorders, healthy weight loss and addictions. She is also the contributing author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health and the popular Thank God I book series in which she writes a chapter called, “Thank God I Was Fat.” To learn more and to register for your free “HYH JumpStart Kit,” visit healyourhunger.com.