If you come from a family of persuasive "food pushers" who always managed to coerce you into eating a second helping of meatballs you weren't hungry for or devouring a cupcake when you really weren't craving it, don't panic.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. While you will need to be an advocate for your own health, rest assured, it will be fun, even if it often feels like a business negotiation. I know you are willing to strengthen your negotiation muscle if it means your health goals don't get derailed.
Truth is, moving forward, the food pushing situation needs to be managed. Food pushers are everywhere. At work, at home, at parties. I want you to be able to handle any tricky food situation without it stressing you out.
Let me share some strategies that work for me, so that you don't have to experience "eater's remorse" ever again if you don't want to.
The only way to stay healthy when you have food pushers around is to be adamant about eating what and when you really want to. This means you have to speak up, clearly and assertively, when necessary. If you are in the habit of being a "people pleaser", rest assured, if I can change from chronic people pleasing, to politely assertive, you can too.
My go to response is always "I think I'm satisfied, thank-you". Repeat as many times as needed.
Often times, at a gathering, the problem is we feel obligated to try a bit of every dish, so that the people who brought it or cooked it know how much we appreciated their efforts.
However, no-one knows our appetites better than we do. Therefore, only we can decide how much food we need. Let's look at it this way, if you had an operation to reduce your stomach, and more food would mean potentially vomitting, then NO would definitely mean NO, wouldn't it? Good news is, we can treat our body like we have a small stomach (because we do) and behave accordingly.
Giving someone else control over your appetite is a recipe for an unhappy gut and a weight management problem. You don't need to argue for your rights, because its not their body and you are a grown up. You just need to assert your boundaries. You're no longer a child listening to a parent.
Other responses to use to politely refuse food are;
If someone says something along the lines of "You're so skinny! Have some more. You don't eat enough!"
You can turn it into a lighthearted teaching opportunity. Make a fist, hold up your hand and say "Did you know this is the actual size of your stomach?" It's amazing to think about how much we try to put in there. I don't enjoy feeling uncomfortable".
Whatever it is you feel comfortable to say to food pushers, it's about saying it with force and conviction. It might lead to a short, uncomfortable silence, but they will understand they were too pushy and it won't happen again. If it does, rinse and repeat, until they get the message! Remember that food isn't the only way to celebrate, so be sure to enjoy yourself, all the while staying in your "feel good" zone with food.
G'day. Welcome to my blog, where I write about mindful eating. My name is Sally Asher and I'm a wellness author of three books. I hold a Health Science degree and have a passion for behavioral change. I live between South Florida and Melbourne with my husband and two teenagers. My husband and I run a real estate investment company. I love to help people eat mindfully and reconnect with the innate, intuitive sense of eating that we are all born with.