Get Off My Plate! Pushing Back on Food Pushers

One of the hardest things to deal with when it comes to weight loss is others’ expectations. There are two extremes of meddling, but with both, people are pressuring you about food. The first is when people make swooping generalizations that you will only eat uber-healthy food and obsess over whether you can find something to eat at their party or the restaurant they’ve chosen, when you’re more flexible about choices than they think. Second, other people will keep at you to eat the food they have, when you don’t want any parts of it.

Weight Watchers users only call the second type of person a “food pusher,” but with both, you still feel pushed and pulled about food. You get tempted to deviate from your plan, or you question your assertiveness at only wanting the best for your body.

I used to be affected very strongly by these people. I wanted to go overboard in letting the health food worrywort know not to worry if she wanted to order a pizza when I visited–that I eat “normal” food too. To appease the unhealthy food reveller, I would’ve just eaten whatever he had at his Super Bowl party, and hoped for the best at weigh-in time. But no more.

My wedding anniversary is coming up soon, and I want to look fabulous–a little more polished in the black jeggings I have on deck for a concert my husband and I are going to. With a goal in my sights, it’s easier to stick to my plan and not be swayed by others’ notions about my eating.

I can transfer this assertiveness to other times when I don’t have a hard and fast goal, though, because the premise is still the same: Eating how I have set out to eat is for my benefit, not for the benefit of others. If I turn down their food offer, their feelings will heal, and I won’t feel like I compromised my needs. Eating healthy is strictly my responsibility, even when others have strong opinions about how I should be eating.

What advice do I have for dealing with food pushers?

  • Eat before you visit. If you’re already full, you won’t have any need for what’s on the menu, and you can explain that if you want.
  • Eat in the way that’s most appropriate for your weight loss goals, and don’t feel guilty about it. If you have splurged recently and are trying to do damage control, choose healthy fare. If you are interested in trying the ribs at the cookout, and you have been on your best behavior all week, go right ahead.
  • Load up on conversation. If you lose yourself in conversations large and small, punctuating these talks with sips of water or a light-handed sampling of the food, you take your focus off of what you could be missing food-wise–and the host will be satisfied that you’re enjoying yourself.
  • Bring your own food to share. The important part is “to share.” Bring something healthy for everyone, or bring one of your favorite heavy treats, and share so you’re not suck with eight servings at your house staring back at you every time you open your refrigerator door.

Chances are that if you’ve been on your weight loss journey for a while, you’ve run into food pushers. How do you fight back? Drop a line!

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