It’s a term I only learnt the meaning of a couple of weeks ago – clearly not very down with the kids. How many times have you promised yourself that you’re going to eat healthily, only have a movie night in with your mates and gorge on bags of Maltesers, Minstrels and Buttons? Given up alcohol for a month? Two nights in and you’re at the pub finishing off a bottle of wine - we’ve all been there…
It’s clear we have a strong emotional connection to food, something which drives us to eat what we do. I think part of that emotional connection is to do with the fact that we don’t want to miss out. If there's anything that's going to cause you to fall off the bandwagon, it's the temptation of the NOT gluten/dairy/sugar free dessert your friend's eating... even when you know it's going to make you feel really crummy afterwards.
When I first stopped drinking alcohol (it plays havoc with my skin), I often got an embarrassed look when handed a wine glass by my friend, only for them to realise I wouldn’t need it.
When I quit sugar, I could see the guilt of my friends’ faces when they ate a chocolate bar in front of me. Not because they were feeling guilty about eating it. They were feeling guilty for me, because I wasn’t, and they felt FOMO on my behalf…
I still need to reassure my friends and family that I choose to eat this way. I prefer it. I enjoy it. it makes me feel good. I know that seems unlikely to some, but it’s true. Even so, the feeling of missing out is still somewhere in there. Drinking a glass of tap water when everyone else is enjoying a glass of red just isn’t the same, but after a while, I’m over it.
I have developed some tactics that help overcome the Fear of Missing Out > help me to stick with my choices > stay in good health.
EATING AT RESTAURANTS
Always check the menu before you go. Even better, give the restaurant a call. Or suggest to your friends that you’ll find somewhere and make the booking. They’ll be thankful that someone else is doing the organising and you’ll get to pick somewhere you know you can eat.
I know. Everything behind the bar is either alcoholic or contains a bag of sugar. Your options are… water: still or sparkling. Ask for water, a glass with some ice, lemon, lime, and if you’re lucky, some of the fruit they use for Pimms. You might get a strange look from the bar tender - just laugh, thank them or make a joke... Do whatever makes you feel comfortable. The extra bits make you feel like you’ve got something special, too…
GOING TO THE CINEMA
Do you really want to sit in between two people who are munching their way through a bag of popcorn whilst you’re munching on… nothing? Didn’t think so. Make your own snacks and bring them with you. Guaranteed your friends will want what you’ve got.
A MOVIE NIGHT IN
Again, make your own snacks. Even better, make enough to share with your friends too…
LUNCH ON THE GO
You can find plenty of options in most ‘healthy’ high street chain eateries now, and they’re usually the ones your friends want to go to, too.