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Fighting Back Against Food Pushers

Do you have a food pusher in your life?
Do you have a food pusher in your life?

"I can resist anything but temptation." It's one of my favorite lines, written by Oscar Wilde for the comedy Lady Windermere's Fan. It neatly sums up my struggle when food pushers try to get me to take more food than I should.

A "food pusher," for those that don't know, is someone who's always trying to get you to eat more food than you want or need. It's the friend at a lunch encouraging you to splurge with them. It's a family member who serves up more than you asked for on your plate. It's the host at a party insisting you take home containers of leftovers.

Most people aren't deliberately trying to sabotage you, they're just often uncomfortable with change. Losing fat and getting into shape is something you welcome, but friends and loved ones may see it as a threat. They might feel guilty they're not losing weight with you. Perhaps they're already in shape and don't understand your struggle to get there. Some may miss the indulgences you used to share.

Whatever their motivation, you've got to concentrate on your health. It's hard to say no to people we care about. Food pushers have a way of wearing us down, often making it easier to just give in. But if you're dealing with a weight problem, you have to learn how to say no. Here are a few things food pushers do, and what you can do to stop them.

Someone puts extra food on your plate, that you didn't ask for.

Keep eating what you did want, until you're finished. Then spread the leftover food around your plate and it'll look like you at least gave it a bite or two. If you're questioned about the extra food, simply say you're full. Remember you're not required to eat what someone else dumps on your plate.

A loved one says, "One bite isn't going to kill you."

You can respond with, "You're right! But I'm not going to take any chances." or "That's true, but once I start I just can't stop." By responding with humor you diffuse the situation. Then change the conversation and take the focus off the food.

This dish is my specialty, you MUST have some.

People often take pride in what they prepare, so put them off by delaying. Say, "I'll have some in a bit." Then eat what you had planned. Most people will forget you didn't indulge. However, if they do remember and ask again, it's OK to tell a little white lie. Say, "I already tried it, it was great!"

But it's a special occasion!

How many special occasions do you have each year? Your birthday and the birthdays of everyone around you. Anniversaries, holidays, parties, promotions... the list goes on and on. Simply say, "I'm very happy with what I have, now there's more for you!" If they insist again say, "I've already indulged as much as I should this day/week/month."

You keep getting offered more food after you've finished your meal.

If you're able, stand up and take your plate away to the kitchen for cleaning. By removing the plate, food pushers won't have anyplace to dump more. Plus, getting up from the table indicates you're finished and don't want anything else.

You're handed a container of leftovers to take home.

Politely explain you're watching what you eat and that's not in your plan. If they insist, take the food and smile. As soon as you get home, before you walk into your house, go straight to the trash and dump the leftovers out. You can't be tempted by food you don't have. Clean the container and return it with a nice thanks.

Remember that whatever you decide to eat is your responsibility. You may be tempted, but you have the final say. Keep reminding yourself how good you'll feel as the weight drops off. Don't let food pushers get the best of you.

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