Feature: Fighting the Food FOMO


By Veronica Chavez

Photo courtesy of blair_25.

Deciding to start eating healthier can be an exciting challenge. You get to try out new foods, concoct dishes you never knew existed, and of course, brag to all your friends when you start shedding weight and feeling amazing.

All too frequently, however, the food-planning diligence dieters practice at home is quickly derailed when eating out with friends. Suddenly the salad that looked and tasted incredible at home hardly compares to the plate of onion rings staring at you from the middle of the table.

In these moments it’s clear that FOMO does not only apply to scrolling through Facebook on a Friday night. No, no, the fear of missing out is alive and well and it’s ruining your dinner.

So what is a person to do? Dr. Kristen Bentson, founder of YouAnew Lifestyle Nutrition tells BTR that overcoming food FOMO is possible with just a few tweaks in your mindset.

For one, Bentson urges those suddenly stricken with FOMO while out with friends to truly think about what they’re “missing out” on. It’s true that sticking to healthy food while dining out sometimes deprives a person of the social aspect of sharing treats with friends. However, refraining from greasy, fried, and overly sweetened food also means you’ll miss out on the less pleasant aspects of overindulgence such as fatigue and stomachaches.

If the smells wafting around the restaurant are too overwhelming and you simply must treat yourself to something, Dr. Bentson suggests to “bite not binge.” As she explains, indulging in a bite of something allows us to share in the experience without feeling guilt about it later.

Bentson believes the most important tip, however, is to find healthy alternatives for the foods we crave, a task she claims is simple if the effort is put in.

Clearly this is true since the very task is the basis of Bentson’s program. She first helps people identify why they crave what they crave. As a believer that food is as much about emotional connections as it is about nourishment, Bentson looks at a person’s habits and introduces them to nutrient dense food that will provide the same satisfaction as their favorite snack.

“I often joke that I turn people into health food snobs,” Bentson shares. “They begin to turn up their nose at the junky food they used to crave in favor of healthier alternatives.”

Dr. Bentson offers three different ways for participants to turn over a new leaf in their eating habits.

Every few months, Bentson offers a 30-day workshop that includes metabolism testing, four in-person workshops, grocery lists, calorie-customized meal plans, and use of her online meal-tracking tool.

People can also opt for “The Metabolic Plan” which includes metabolism testing, an emailed analysis of the results, and a calorie customized Eat Clean Meal Plan.

For those who just want some meal ideas, Dr. Bentson offers individual meal plans in different calorie ranges.

Although Dr. Bentson can accommodate to most diet preferences such as gluten-free, paleo, or vegan, she emphasizes that she only “discusses trends” and doesn’t follow them. Her program is based on two “foundational and evidence-based concepts: eat to your metabolism and eat high quality nutrient foods.”

“Feeling deprived or satisfied is a matter of mindset,” Bentson insists, “a person’s approach to food changes the way a person looks and feels to such a great extent that cravings become a thing of the past.”