While the intentions behind it might be sincere, food-pushing is certainly not okay. People usually insist you add more food to your plate because:
* That’s their way of showing care
* They use food to show love
* They love food and want to share it with others
* They seek validation for their cooking skills
* Food-pushing is their nature
* They feel you’re shy or are being picky and hence want to make you feel better
Unfortunately, the holiday season is a time where food-pushing isn’t just accepted, it’s almost expected by our loved ones. But if you are trying to eat more mindfully or simply struggle with eating too much food, it might be difficult to get yourself out of the food pushing scenario.
Here are a few tips that can help you tactfully and gracefully maneuver such a situation during the holidays or any other time.
Related: 8 Tips to Successfully Handle a Difficult Conversation
1. Be honest
Honestly is the best policy. Yes, your aunt or dear friend might not like to hear you turn down their desserts, but being honest with them is bound to make them back off. Explain to them how you are committed to your weight-loss goals this time and you intend to stick to them. Or sincerely make them understand that overeating makes you feel uncomfortable and how you’ve gotten sick in the past because of it. Tell them that you’re not trying to offend them. That should work as a polite reminder that they need to respect your decision.
Example: “I wish I could have that second. But overeating makes me so queasy. I really hope you understand.”
2. Use humor
Humor acts as a great social lubricant. So when someone is forcing food on you, try and keep your reply light-hearted.
Example: “I couldn’t eat another piece! I am so stuffed I think I might explode and ruin all your decorations.”
Or “Look, I will have another bite if you insist. But if I end up getting sick, I will send the doctor's bill to you."
3. Blame it on the doctor
Some food-pushers won’t understand that you’re eating mindfully or that you’re trying to make some healthy lifestyle changes. In that case, what you can do is simply blame it on the doctor!
Example: “I’m so sorry, but my doctor advised me to limit my sugar for the next few months. Next year, I would love to try your fruitcake if my doctor gives me the go-ahead.”
This is a pretty easy way out and not many would be able to argue with you over this. Yes, lying isn’t the best strategy when speaking with loved ones. But it can help spare their feelings and get you out of that awkward situation.
4. Change the subject
If someone can’t take no for an answer, try and change the subject and move on. That might be the technique to distract them from shoving food on your plate.
Example: “No, I don’t need that pie. But, tell me about your grandkid. She seems like such an angel!"
5. Ask them to wrap the food in a bag
When a friend or relative offers you seconds one too many times, a smart way to handle the situation without offending them is to simply ask the food to be wrapped up so you can take them home.
Example: “I am too full right now. But I do want to enjoy your food later. Why don’t you just wrap it up for me, please?”
This way, the cook will be pleased and you can actually enjoy the food at some other time if you want to.
6. Just say “No, thank you” with a polite smile
If none of the above strategies work, then just politely decline. Say “No, thank you” assertively but with a smile. Repeat as many times as necessary. The key is how you say it. Say it with force and conviction. But make sure you don’t come across as rude.
Always remember that you’re under no obligation to please someone just because they feel like they should shove food on you. Ultimately, your health is your priority and only you can decide how much you want to eat.
Share this post with your loved ones!