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6 Ways to Say No to Food Pushers

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Updated February 15, 2014

guy with asparagus

Mysteriously, food pushers never seem to push vegetables on us.

Image: © [2008] www.clipart.com
"Just a little piece," my Mom says, as hot apple pie wafts under my nose, "You can't live on salads forever." I am feeling tempted. "You don't want any of my Black Forest cake?" my aunt asks, looking dejected. "You've always loved my cake. Come on, it's a special occasion." I start to think she may have a point.

Do these scenarios seem familiar to you? They aren't unusual. Whether it's a normal dinner or a holiday meal, food pushers seem to be around when you are least prepared.

This situation doesn't have to cause you to overeat. By being diplomatic about how you "just say no" you can avoid both causing hurt feelings and doing damage to your waistline. Here are six ways to deal with food pushers:

  1. Be Honest

    Talk to family and friends about your weight-loss efforts. If your family get-togethers always center on a meal, they're going to find out anyway. If your friends always meet at restaurants, it's going to come up.


    Explain: You are really committed to losing weight and want it to work. By saying no, you're not trying to offend anyone, it's just really important for you to keep a close eye on what and how much you eat.

  2. Use Stall Tactics

    If dessert starts making its way around the table, say something along the lines of, "I would, but right now I'm stuffed and I just wouldn't enjoy it." or "Maybe after a while I'll have some." In other words... stall.


    I use the stall tactic if my Mom has been on a baking kick when we get together for our traditional Sunday family lunch. Sometimes I will say that I'll come back for a piece of cake or pie after I've had my walk; once I walk, my craving for something sweet has passed and it's easier to give a firm no.

  3. "Mm-mm, Good!"

    If you anticipate a dessert offer that you can't refuse, try to eat smaller portions of higher-calorie items during your meal. Then, take a small portion of the dessert. As you take the first few bites of your treat, make sure you give the chef your compliments; she will be less likely to assume that you disliked the dish when you say that firm no to a second helping.
  4. Get it "To Go"

    When offered seconds one too many times, ask for them to be wrapped up so you can take them home. You can always tell the cook you want to be able to enjoy the food later, or that it was so good you want to share it with someone else at home. Whether you eat it later or not is completely up to you -- there's no peer pressure when you are alone!
  5. Get Prepared

    Sad, but true: In some cases, a food pusher may be hoping you will fail at weight loss. There are those who are driven to sabotage someone trying to lose weight. They may be uncomfortable with your weight loss because of their own weight issues, they might dislike eating "bad" food without you, or they could be jealous or threatened by attention you may be receiving.


    Whatever the cause, it is important that you are assertive, but not aggressive (which will only worsen the situation), when you say no. Practice being assertive in similar situations or maybe even while looking into the mirror. It may look silly, but if doing so will help you be stronger when the real thing happens, it's worth it.

  6. The Bottom Line

    Even if you can't find the "right" way to say no, chances are no permanent damage will be done to the relationships in your life when you do, so stick to your guns. It's not worth avoiding a few ruffled feathers to eat something you truly don't want to take into your body. You have the right to make your health top priority.


    Remember, no one but you is in control of your own behavior, so don't let pressure from anyone else sway you from your weight-loss efforts.

To learn more on the basics of losing weight, sign up now for our free 10-week e-mail course, Weight Loss 101.

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