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Socializing at shindigs kept Andrea Kennedy away from the buffet table and a lean 135 pounds for more than 14 years.

Thin for most of her life, Andrea, a 51-year-old interior designer from North Bethesda, Maryland, started gaining weight in 1980 after rupturing a disk while moving into a new home. The injury caused so much pain that Andrea could hardly move. After undergoing surgery, she was instructed to avoid exercise to prevent further injury. Her weight climbed from 135 to 150, where it remained until September 9, 1985. That’s when she joined Weight Watchers.

“Within 2 months, I was down to 127 pounds,” Andrea recalls. “But Christmas was around the corner, and I could see that it had the potential to sabotage my hard work. I decided I needed a plan.”

It started at her husband’s company Christmas party. “As soon as I walked in, I did what I would usually do—head for the buffet table,” she says. “Then I thought about how pleased I was with my weight loss.” That stopped her in her tracks.

“I remembered that food wasn’t the reason that I went to that party,” Andrea says. “Friends were.”

She scanned the room, found friends located far away from the buffet table, and struck up a conversation. When they migrated to the food, Andrea found a new group to chat with. She avoided the buffet the entire night, a strategy she used to get her through the Christmas season. And it worked; she didn’t gain an ounce.

Andrea eventually did gain back some weight. She felt too thin at 127 pounds and allowed herself to go up to 135. But she still follows her party ritual. “I spend my party time socializing,” she says. “If I feel hungry, I scan the buffet table and decide what I want— low-fat only, of course. Then I send my husband to get it for me.”


Talk, talk, talk—don’t eat, eat, eat. The purpose of parties and get-togethers is to socialize, not to eat. If you go to a party where you don’t know a lot of people, strike up a conversation anyway—preferably with someone who’s standing far away from the buffet table. You never know when or where you may meet a kindred spirit.


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