Our Lady of Weight Loss

Our Lady of Weight Loss

Do YOU Suffer from Social Anxiety?

I received an email from a member of the Kick in the Tush Club, who greatly suffers when at social functions. Parties and gatherings bring forth extreme feelings of discomfort. In order to feel better, she eats. And sometimes she eats some more.
I thought I would share her letter here, because I know she’s not alone. Many of us are uncomfortable in these types of situations. Many suffer from social anxiety. What advice do you have for “N?”
Dear Janice ~ I, too, am seeking permanent thinness. I do fine at home, at work, at restaurants, at night, in the car. It’s the social events that drive me out of “won’t power” to bunches of this and that, usually chocolate thises and thats.
No one does this to me; no pushy offers. It’s me and a party that is a lethal combination. I don’t like parties; but I do like sugar in most any form. The only person I need to say no to is me, so it’s the “won’t power” vs. piles of cookies and sitting around. I’ve found myself washing the hostess’s dishes so I don’t have my hands in the candy bowl. Do I need to wear elbow-length white gloves so picking up chocolate would be disgusting?
Suggestions are welcome. Best, N.
Dear N. ~ I do like the visual of the elbow-length white gloves! It’s almost as ‘bad’ as me duct-taping my mouth closed when cooking!!
All kidding aside, it sounds like you are extremely uncomfortable in social settings that require schmoozing and mixing it up people you may or may not know. You’re not alone. Many people have difficulties in social settings.
Now, I could give you the basic advice that you may have heard before.


  • Eat something before you go, so you won’t be famished and go off the deep end.
  • Decide ahead of time how many cookies you’re going to have. And stick to it!
  • If possible, bring a crudite platter or fruit platter so there’s something there you can eat!

Or … we could look at this another way.
Instead of approaching this from the food angle and working on how to say ‘no’ to the food; perhaps you could look at getting more comfortable with being at these social gatherings. There are many techniques that can help including hypnosis, meditation, and breathing – to name a few. I think that this is a perfect example of how weight loss isn’t about the food; it’s about something else that is triggering food.
I hope that gives you food for thought. Thanks for writing, and please let us know how you move through this uncomfortable challenge. We’re rootin’ for you! ~ Janice

For those of us who can relate to this problem. RIGHT NOW … Write down 5 things that YOU CAN do that will change the way you approach and experience social gatherings. And what advice do you have for “N.?”
Spread the word … NOT the icing!
Janice Taylor is a Life & Wellness Coach, author, seminar leader and 50-pound-BIG-Time-LOSER!
For more motivation and inspiration, join the Kick in the Tush Club: Beliefnet Chapter.
Pick up a copy of Janice’s latest: All Is Forgiven, Move ON ~ Our Lady of Weight Loss’s 101 Fat-Burning Steps on Your Journey to Sveltesville!
” . . . . kooky genius ~ see if her idiosyncratic diet plan will work for you.” ~ O, The Oprah Magazine
ART heart.jpg about Janice

  • cat123

    How would it be if “N” left the party BEFORE the desssert was served? That way, the sweets aren’t as tempting and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel – she gets to leave!

  • Marilyn

    My husband was very anxious is social situations. What helped was putting a time limit on how long we would stay. It gave him a manageable set point and some structure to the event. He also would pick up a plate and a cup to hold so both hands would be busy.

  • MinervaFan

    Janet, I used to have to attend local parties every month as part of a singing group. When we were performing, I was fine. But when it was just the party, the experience could be agonizing. Even if I knew the people, sometimes I would just agonise through the whole thing. Eventually, I discovered that there were a few things I could do to make the evening bearable (even fun) without parking myself at the chip/dip station for hours on end.
    1. Really concentrate on your self-talk. The worst thing about SA is the feelings of “everybody’s staring at me,” or “they’re laughing at me.” My personal favorite is “OMG, did I just do/say/trip over that??” The fact is, no, they’re not staring at you or laughing at you, and most people at a party are so into themselves (and not looking like a fool) that they probably haven’t noticed your social faux pas. Chances are, the person with SA is blowing every little thing out of proportion.
    2. Try finding another “wallflower” to talk to. Chances are, you are not the only person there who’s uncomfortable. Just noticing someone who looks as uncomfortable as you, sidling up to them, smiling, and murmering, “Wow, don’tcha hate these company parties?” (unless, of course, that person is the boss….) will probably start a conversation. At our parties, there were often spouses/moms/roommates who got brought along and didn’t know anybody. These people were often very uncomfortable, as they didn’t know the songs or most of the people. They were very good targets to talk to, because they were usually grateful to have someone talk to them. And you have a built in conversation before you even start–oh, who are you with? Are you from around here? Are you enjoying the party? Do you have any questions?
    3. My trick to avoid overeating when I’m nervous is to always have something in my hands. Usually, it’s a glass of water or diet soda. If you have to put something down before you can eat, it will at least slow you down. Plus, the water/diet soda will make you need to go to the bathroom more, which will give you several opportunities to get out of the fray, get a little privacy, and regain your composure. Also, another trick is to get a plate of something you absolutely loathe–mine is cheese. I would put cheese and crackers on a plate and hold it. Everytime I went to put it down to get somethign, I’d look at the cheese and cringe and lose my desire to munch. No matter how uncomfortable I was, it wasn’t worth eating cheese over.
    4. Finally, the best thing I ever did was talk to the host/hostess of the party before hand. Usually, you are not invited to a private party unless you are at least acquaintances with the people throwing it. Nobody wants unhappy/miserable people at their party, so they will be very willing to help you out. Call them a day or two before, let them know you’re nervous about the party (for whatever reason), and ask them if they can give you an idea of what to expect. I have a big problem being around drunks, so I usually mention that up front and ask if alcohol will be served. Usually, my host/hostess will be able to tell me what to expect, and will often keep an eye on me during the party to make sure I’m not getting trapped by a slimy drunk or wilting away alone in a corner. It’s nice to go into the situation knowing you have an ally on the inside.
    5. The only other thing I can think of to do to avoid stress in a party situation is to make sure the rest of your day is as stress free as possible. Do not schedule to have your carpets cleaned on the same day as your partner’s holiday party at work. If your old college roommate’s wedding takes place in another town where there is hideous traffic and you know you’ll get stressed, go in a day early and get a hotel near the wedding venue. If you arrive at a party stressed out, it will only go downhill from there.

  • Denise

    U know what I have found when at a social gathering? I am so concerned that everyone is watching what I PUT IN MY MOUTH, rather than what I am saying or doing. As a result, I eat much less than anyone else, because I am so concerned about looking like a glutton.

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