We’ve all probably experienced a fear of missing out (FOMO) at some time or another. Social media makes it so easy to see all the things other people are doing that we aren’t. It also allows us to see all the different foods other people are eating (or just taking pictures of) that we might feel jealous of because we believe only people in certain bodies are able to eat certain foods, our food doesn’t look as good, or because we have allergies/intolerances that prevent us from eating certain foods. In our daily lives we may see certain seasonal foods we feel we can only have at certain times of year, we’re at an event and our favorite food is being served, or everyone else around us is having the same thing and it looks good. Food FOMO is going to come up. How could it not? But let’s take a look at some ways to help manage the feelings that arise so it doesn’t ultimately lead to feeling worse about ourselves.
Only Thin People Can Eat Dessert
The belief that only thin people can eat dessert is a belief held my many. I also hear many people say they’ll eat desserts once they lose weight. Let’s remember that if you’re restricting your diet so much so that it’s all you think about, finally allowing yourself dessert will most likely lead to overeating and accompanied guilt and shame and then further dieting.
People of all shapes and sizes can and should enjoy desserts. Because when we deprive ourselves of something, it’s going to be all we think about, and when we finally have it, it will never be as good as we imagined.
My Food Never Looks as Pretty
Most people only post the pictures of the attractive foods they eat. I don’t post pictures of 95% of the foods I eat because I don’t have time to make it look pretty, secure good lighting, and then take pictures from different angles. And sometimes it’s just a bunch of random things thrown together in Tupperware and called a meal. That doesn’t make for a good photo.
So just like most people only post the good things that happen to them on social media, so too is the food that is posted only the attractive meals.
I Literally Can’t Eat That
When you can’t eat certain foods due to allergies or intolerances, food FOMO can hit hard. You’re constantly reminded of all the things you can’t eat and you may never really get used to it.
It may help to remind yourself, for example “I know I can’t eat that pizza everyone else is having because I have celiac disease and not eating that pizza is an act of self-care. I can, however, order the gluten free pizza and get all of my favorite toppings.” You acknowledge that you are taking care of yourself, and that there are still other options for you to enjoy.
How many of us really drink pumpkin spice lattes in the early summer? So when September hits it’s time to get in as many pumpkin flavored items as possible. But guess what, you can have all foods at any time of year! Even though foods are meant to be seasonal and may taste better at certain times of year, most of us (who are reading this, anyway) live in a world where we can get any type of food at any time of the year. By allowing ourselves all foods all year long, we have the freedom to not experience food FOMO when we don’t get seasonal foods every day they’re in season.
It’s Here and I Love It
You’re out at a dinner party and the host made your favorite dish. Well of course go ahead and have it! By letting yourself have the foods you enjoy whenever they’re served, you give yourself the freedom to not feel deprived and the freedom to sometimes say “no” because you’re not in the mood for it.
Everyone Else is Having It
Sometimes, what everyone else is having is not what you feel like having. You may feel FOMO because it seems like you’re missing out on what everyone else is experiencing. Of course, you know logically that you didn’t really want it, but there’s a little voice nagging you that says you’re missing something. If you really need to, ask someone to try a bite of their food, but stand your ground and order whatever you feel like having, not what everyone else is having. This will leave you feeling way more satisfied.
Struggling with your relationship to food and your body? Recovering from an eating disorder and in search of an experienced eating disorder registered dietitian in the Centerport, New York area or virtually? Send Christina an email to learn more about 1:1 nutrition therapy sessions!