How to Get Over Fear of Eating in Front of Others?

Written by: Meenakshi Joshi – M.sc

Last updated date : August 16, 2022

Table of Contents How to Get Over Fear of Eating in Front of Others?
  1. What Is the Fear of Eating in Front of Others?
  2. Why Do You Have Fear of Eating in Front of Others?

Do you feel shy to eat in a group? Do you worry about how you will look when you eat? If yes, then you have fear about eating in front of people. Let’s see how to get over this fear of eating in front of others. You can learn ways to overcome your social anxiety when you are eating in a public place or in a group.

Table of Contents How to Get Over Fear of Eating in Front of Others?
  1. What Is the Fear of Eating in Front of Others?
  2. Why Do You Have Fear of Eating in Front of Others?

Do you feel shy to eat in a group? Do you worry about how you will look when you eat? If yes, then you have fear about eating in front of people. Let’s see how to get over this fear of eating in front of others. You can learn ways to overcome your social anxiety when you are eating in a public place or in a group.

Chapter 1:
What Is the Fear of Eating in Front of Others?

When you have this type of fear, then you tend to do these things.

  • You feel embarrassed about eating in public. You are not aversive to eating or have weird eating habits. It is just not possible for you to eat in public. or in a group.
  • It feels weird to eat at functions, events, etc. Hence, you typically try not to eat at such places. In extreme cases, you might try to avoid going to such events if you feel that you will have to eat there.
  • Going to a restaurant can also feel stressful. So, you try not to go out with family or friends. If you do have to go, then you try not to eat anything. You might make up excuses to avoid eating such as you are not feeling well, your stomach is upset, you are full, you just had your dinner, you are on a diet, etc.
  • You try to avoid eating in a group. For example, at the office, you might try to have lunch before or after everyone else to avoid eating with them.
  • You are not able to overcome this social anxiety about eating even after several attempts to do so.
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Chapter 2:
Why Do You Have Fear of Eating in Front of Others?

 

Fear of eating can be because of a few different things. Some reasons are –

  • You are not happy with your body type. You do not like the way you look. When you eat, you feel that it is going to increase your weight and this indirectly plays on your mind all the time. So, you tend to avoid eating in public as you feel too conscious about your weight and appearance. Also, in your mind, you equate eating to an increase in body weight.
  • You feel that people will comment on the way you are eating and how much you are eating. It makes you nervous thinking about the comments and reactions of people you are dining with. You do not want them to see you eat as you feel that they will judge you. This fear could be due to all the negative and critical comments you have received in the past. If you were told again and again as a child that you eat too fast or you do not eat properly, then these comments stay in your mind and make you extremely conscious about the way you eat. Additionally, if your parents give you a lot of instructions while eating or if you had to follow too rigid rules while eating, then this too can make you fear eating in front of others.
  • Also, if you have general social anxiety then it is tough to overcome that and it will creep up when you are eating too! So, because you are worried about being in public, speaking in public, talking to new people, and being the center of attention, your anxiety makes you fear eating in front of others as well.
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Chapter 3:
How to Overcome This Fear?

Here are a few ways in which you can overcome your social anxiety or fear about eating in public or front of others. Take baby steps Sometimes the fear of being ridiculed or laughed at can be very disturbing. No one likes it when they are insulted or when people make fun of them. So, if you feel that doing something will make people tease you or laugh at you, then you would want to avoid that thing. The same goes for eating in front of others. You will that people will laugh at you or make fun of you. So, you do not want to eat in front of them. To change this, you need to take baby steps. You need to overcome your fear of eating in front of others one step at a time. Start by listing the things that scare you regarding this. For example, you might realize that certain settings scare you a lot while you are just slightly uncomfortable in some settings. List them in increasing order of fear or discomfort. Target the setting or action that is the least scary. For example, eating at home with a few friends makes you a bit nervous but it is not very scary. So, you can start from here. Expose yourself to this situation and try to make yourself comfortable. Then you can move to more and more scary situations. Practice ways to calm yourself down When you will face a situation that scares you, then you will some tools in your kitty to help you relax. So, you need to develop certain calming techniques to overcome your fear of social anxiety about eating in front of others. Some techniques you can use are –
  • Deep breathing – A relaxed body will help you to calm your mind.
  • Counting 1 to 20 – It will give you a moment to take things in and will stop the scary thoughts from distressing you.
  • Positive thoughts in your mind. Negative thinking can make you even more nervous.
  • Picturizing a happy and relaxed place where you can stay calm.
  • Positive self-talk. The way to talk to yourself will decide how you feel about a situation. If you say that you will be scared, then you will be scared. But if you say that you will be able to manage everything well and that you are okay and doing good, then you will act in that way.
  • Distracting yourself from your fear by focusing on something else. For example, to not think about your fear of eating in front of others, you can focus on the conversation that is going on. You can even focus on the surroundings or a particular object.
Change what you think You need to challenge your fear. Change the way you think about something. Imagine what is the worst thing that will happen if your fears come true and then visualize that you are