I live 3 blocks from the State Fair and I LOVE the fair!
I love the energy, the activity, the people, the fireworks, the concerts - and all that is what I love while I'm OUTSIDE the fair.
When I go inside, it becomes a din of families, fun, and FOOD.
You'd think a SMART compulsive eater would stay AWAY from a place that appears to be so much about the food. But I disagree.
I think going to a place LIKE a State Fair is a great way to show other compulsive overeaters that NOTHING has to be all about food. If you cannot go to a place like the fair and enjoy all the OTHER things of the fair, than more work needs to be done in your program.
Yes, I eat at the fair. I usually go for one full day and therefore eat all three meals and a snack there, then we'll go another evening to listen to a concert and have a cocktail. I usually eat supper on that night.
It is possible to eat at the fair and not OVER eat.
What do I do?
1. I plan my food. It doesn't have to be set in unbreakable stone, but if I go in with no plan, I lose track of how much and how often I'm eating. I plan my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then have a limited amount of options for my "snack". That way I feel I have choices, but it's not a free-for-all.
2. I plan my activities. There are SO MANY things to see and do at the fair. I look at the daily schedule and find 3 or 4 (or 8) things I want to do. When attending an activity, you usually have to get there early if you want a seat, so we sometimes end on trucking from one end to the other just to see the show we have planned. Which leads me to my next action plan.
3. I think of the fairgrounds as an exercise gym. I plan our activities on opposite sides of the fair. That way I'm not stuck in the slllloooowww moving herds that are just aimlessly wandering about wondering what to eat next because there is no plan. That doesn't mean I'm on the run the entire time. I love to wander around the corner where there are dog shows and "freebies" and huge 30 mic karaoke sessions. I wander around the barns in the opposite corner, but most of the time I end up sitting and waiting while my partner while she pets every single animal in the barns. That is usually my rest time and it's also the time I get in my people watching.
4. And finally, I always research the "new foods" ahead of time. Most of the time they are on my "do not eat" list. This year there is bacon ice cream , poutine (french fries), scones, chocolate p.butter fudge puppies, cannolies, and red velvet funnel cake - all things I do not eat. But, there are others I can eat like lamb on a stick, walleye (in a roll which I won't eat), Great Balls of fire (sausage on a stick), Hibiscus Iced Tea, and Ragin Ankles (which I assume to be like a rib??). Researching stops me from wanting to read every single menu as I walk by to see what I might be missing.
So there you have it - that is how I survive the State Fair. I've been abstinent for 14 years and have lived next to the state fair for 8.
I'm not suggesting a person new to OA or someone fighting to stay abstinent go to their State Fair. I'm just saying that if/when you are at the place where you are living the program or strong in your abstinence, it is FUN to go to these "food fests" while maintaining your abstinence and having a BLAST!