Friday, October 22, 2010

Food Pushers

It's been a fact of life since Eve pulled that first locust and honey casserole out of the fire: Food=Love. Women, especially, are programmed to want to feed the world. We put our hearts and souls into dinner for our family and feel so gratified when they clean their plates and ask for more. Historically, it makes sense. People out working the farms all day felt loved and cared for when they came home to a warm fire and a hot meal. Food is magical. It can warm, comfort and cheer.

In modern times, we have an abundance of food. It's every where! Yet, we still think of it, and use it, the way people did in ancient times. We are gradually learning that there are other things that can warm, comfort and cheer. And we are learning that food really isn't the magical ingredient anyway. The magical ingredient is (and has always been) home, love and safety.

Having realized that, now we are trying to develop a more appropriate relationship with food. So, what do we do with the people around us who still have "old-fashioned" ideas of the magic of food? What do you do when someone insists you try this, that, or the other? Well, for me it kind of depends.

If the pusher is someone in your family, or someone you will encounter frequently, it may be worth it to take them aside and talk to them. Tell them that you are trying to eat healthier and would really appreciate their support. Ask them point blank if they will please stop insisting you try things. If it's someone you don't really know, or will never see again, then stand firm, be as polite as possible and don't worry too much about whether they choose to get offended.

Whatever the situation you can try some phrases like:
"Oh, it looks delicious, but I'm so full from that wonderful (insert food) that I couldn't eat another bite!"
"I would love to, but I've already had your (insert food) and I promised myself I would keep it to one treat tonight!"
"Do you mind if I take it home instead?"

Trying just a little bitty bit and then being very vocal about how great it is often satisfies the pusher. If it's something you know you can't just eat a little bitty bit of, you might have to get a little rude. If they keep insisting, stand your ground. Look them in the eye, say "No, thank you" and go find someone else to talk to. I find that looking people in the eye tends to have the most impact. Then, they know you're serious. If it's someone you really can't afford to offend- like your boss's wife or whatever- you may just have to try some of whatever they're offering. Then, go home and do an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill. Asking to take some home is often the best method for getting out of sticky situations. They are usually thrilled to send some home with you, and you don't actually have to eat it. If it's something you really want, but know you shouldn't eat, it would be best to drive by a dumpster on the way home.

Isn't that terrible? Why do we sometimes have to stoop to deceiving people in order to stay healthy? I honestly think it is rude to insist someone eats something when they have said no. If someone truly cares about you, they should respect what you are trying to do for your body.

People do tend to be more respectful of medical-sounding reasons. "I really shouldn't have that cake, my blood sugar was a little high this morning." or "My blood pressure has been worrying my doctor, I think I'll pass on the chips" etc. I don't advocate lying, but a little creative stretching of the truth is sometimes necessary for getting out of pushy situations. Find out if anything runs in your family. High blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and so on. Use those as reasons for passing on unhealthy food. (side note: you really should find out if you are at risk for any of those things anyway)

What do you think? Anybody have any suggestions or tricks that have worked for them?


  1. I think saying something like, "I promised myself I wouldn't have any treats today" works pretty well. I've also said something like, "I'm saving myself for dessert" when someone offers me seconds on the main meal. I think it's pretty easy to say no to stuff you don't really want but it sure is hard when it looks good. I need to remember not to be a food pusher myself. :)

  2. Great ideas. Thanks for the tips and "Way to go Pegi"