10 Steps To Conquer A Buffet Meal With Joy And Delight

6 September 2019 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

In my dieting days I had such mixed feelings about buffets. On the one hand they would terrify me – the choice, the desserts, will people judge me if I go back for seconds? And on the other hand I was thrilled by the abundance and choice. I was excited at the anticipation of tasting delicious food!

Before becoming a coach, I worked in tourism and was privileged to travel extensively, staying in beautiful safari lodges and luxurious hotels where the buffets were lavish with a mesmerising display of food.

There were mornings I would stay in my room and have coffee and a protein bar, it was easier to deny myself than to face all that choice. Other times, I would leave the safety of my room only to be feeling bloated, overfull, grumpy and guilty because I had eaten so much. I had no idea about the middle way.

When I discovered Intuitive and Mindful Eating this changed (with a huge amount of practice) and I began to delight in buffet meals.

Here are 10 steps you can take to navigate a buffet meal with joy:

Give yourself permission to eat what you want to eat

The first step is to try not to approach the buffet with dread and fear. See it as an adventure into an array of tastes and options. Definitely don’t tell yourself to “be good” or promise yourself not eat a lot because in most cases your inner rebel will revolt and you will do the opposite. Let go of the idea that you need to use willpower to control yourself. Rather focus on freedom, choice and trust.

Hunger and Fullness

Before eating check in with your hunger levels. How hungry are you? Ask yourself how full would you like to feel after you have finished eating? There is no right or wrong way. If you want to feel full it’s okay – decide how full. If you want to feel light – it’s also okay. You are free to choose.

Explore The Buffet

Survey the scene. What’s on offer? What looks delicious? What calls you? Take it all in. Feast on the visual appeal, the colours and the presentation, the aroma and fragrance.

Go Within

Tune in to your body, your mind and your emotions.

What is your mind saying about the food? Are you judging the food? Labelling the food naughty, bad or good?

Notice how you are feeling? Anxious, excited, worried about that people are watching you or that someone will comment on your food choices?

Become aware of how your body feels and what food might satisfy your mouth, your body, your mind and your taste buds.

As I have said before, kale and cake can co-exist at the same meal!


Assess the starters, the main course, the cheeses and the desserts. What appeals most to you? If the mains don’t look great why not just have starters and dessert? If the desserts look amazing, enjoy those or if you just feel like crackers and cheese enjoy that! There is no right or wrong way to eat at a buffet.

Try not to be worried about going back a few times.

You could also treat the buffet like a tasting menu – take small amounts of everything like, taste them and go back for what is absolutely delicious.

Eat only what you love

If you take something that doesn’t taste good, give yourself permission not to eat it. Yes, I know it’s wasting. But why waste something that doesn’t taste good in your body?

Slow down and Savour

In social situations there is so much stimulus – remember to slow down, enjoy the taste and texture. Alternate between talking and eating. Pause in -between bites if you remember.

Observe…with no judgement

Notice your levels of fullness and check in, stop when your mind, mouth and body have had enough. Remember our taste buds are in our mouths and the mouth wants entertainment. Fullness is felt in our bellies. The mind may encourage you to have more or may judge you and say you are eating too much. Listen to your body, it has an innate wisdom. Whatever you decide to do – eat more or eat less – try let go of judgement.

End the meal with pleasure

Choose how you would like to end the meal. Is it savoury or sweet? Is it coffee or a liqueur? Enjoy the rounding off of this experience.


You may prefer to do this at the start of the meal. Give thanks for the occasion to be with people and share food. Take a moment to be thankful for the food and the people who prepared it, you could also extend this to the farmers.

Have fun eating and remember this takes practice and patience!

Wishing you peace and freedom with food and buffets!

With love,

Are you tired of overeating and feeling out of control around food? Ready to end the war with your body?

I can help you find peace and freedom around food, eating and your body:


Leave a Comment

“The banquet is in the first bite...”

- Unknown -

“Seldom is the last of anything better than the first...”

- Irish Proverb -

“If hunger is not the problem, food is not the solution.”

- Brooke Castillo -

“Someday society will doubt the wisdom of dieting rather than the willpower of dieters...”

- Unknown -

“In eating, a third of the stomach should be filled with food, a third with drink and the rest left empty...”

- Unknown -

“If you are invested in security and certainty, you are on the wrong planet...”

- Pema Chodron -

“The only journey is the one within...”

- Rainer Maria Rilke -

“Right in the difficult must we have our joys, our happiness, our dreams: there against the depth of this background, they stand out. There for the first time, we see how beautiful they are.”

- Rainer Maria Rilke -

“Wellness isn't about deprivation and it's not about perfection. It is about pointing yourself in the direction of growth, training yourself to get comfortable with your highest potential and then taking small steps to support that shift. It is about showing up for yourself day by day and then one day finding that you have undergone a transformation.”

- Kathy Freston -

“Unless you stole the food or killed the chef, there is no place for morality or guilt in eating.”

- Evelyn Tribole -

“Foods are not good, or bad. Not right, or wrong. Food is just food.”

- Dr Rick Kausman -

Certified by The Life Coach School Certified Life Coach Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro