Obstacle #3 “When I go to functions with family some people push me to eat more than I know is good for me.”
We all have a food pusher on our family tree or in our circle of friends. It goes something like this:
Food Pusher ”(Insert your name here), what else can I give you to eat?”
You “Nothing, (insert food pusher’s name here), I’m full.
Food Pusher “Oh, you can’t be full yet. Don’t you want more mashed potatoes?”
You “No thank you, I’m good.”
Food Pusher “How about some more roast beef? You don’t want me to have to throw all this good food out do you?”
You “Really, it was great, but I can’t eat another bite.”
Food Pusher “Well, make sure you save room for a BIG piece of cake later. It’s your favorite and I made it especially for you!”
Food Pushers usually mean well. Food equals love to them. The more food they cook for you= the more love they have for you. The more food you eat= the more love you have for them. I’m sure you are spotting the problem here. Here are nine tips to help you navigate this minefield of food and emotional connections.
Be honest about your weight loss efforts. Tell your family or friends that you have decided to really watch the amount and kinds of food you are eating. You can tell them it’s doctor’s orders if that takes the pressure off you. Then ask them to help you by respecting your refusals on seconds and desserts.
Eat slowly and enjoy your meal. While you do that, the food pusher has offered everyone else firsts AND seconds. By the time you finish it will be clean up time and the pressure to eat more will be lessened.
Eat smaller portions of your regular meal. Take a little bit of everything. During the chaos of the big food dishout, the food pusher won’t notice. Then take a small portion of dessert. If Food Pusher asks why say,” I’m so full from that wonderful dinner!”
Use stealthy stall tactics. When asked to take seconds or dessert, again exclaim that you are really full from the wonderful dinner and you would like to wait till later. Later may never come and Food Pusher may never notice. He/she may have moved on to someone else by then.
Some food pushers are of the “misery loves company” persuasion. They feel better about overeating if you are overeating with them. These folks are often more persistent in their offers. Here’s some tips for them.
If you are asked repeatedly to take seconds say, “I couldn’t possibly eat another bite right now. If you are offering doggie bags, I would love to take some home.”
Just offer a polite, “no thank you” without an explanation. Sometimes these can be shot down easily by the food pusher and that could leave you scrambling and eventually giving in.
Apply the broken record technique. Apply the tip above as many times as necessary.
Bait and Switch: Answer repeated offers for seconds or desserts with a question about the kids, the grandkids or an upcoming trip that’s planned. Be very interested in the response. Your attention= love too!
Bring a healthy side dish or dessert to share with everyone else. Combat unhealthy food pushing with healthy food. It may turn out to be the most popular dish at the event!
Have you had to deal with a food pusher? What were you faced with and how did you handle it?
Sue Kauffman is a physical educator and fitness coach in Central PA. She has one awesome hubby, two almost grown daughters and one chocolate lab. Visit her website at http://www.exercise-fintess-nutrition.com