FOOD-SANITY FRIDAY: Ways to Say No to Food You Don't Want!

"Want one of my homemade cookies?" You don't HAVE to say yes--the baker will get over it. :)

My family can sometimes, by nature, be a bit pushy with food. Yes, they are Italian, but I’m pretty sure this behavior is not isolated just to families sharing my pasta-eating ancestry. I really appreciated Sunny’s @hlthygrl tweet this week: FOOD-SANITY TIP OF THE DAY: You don’t have to eat or drink something because someone was nice enough to give it to/make it for you. It’s a great reminder to listen to yourself and not to the unnecessary guilt you may put upon yourself for declining to ingest (or imbibe) something that you don’t want!

I love my Grandmother—absolutely adore her. What I don’t love is the way she can be sort of pushy with food. When I was younger, I would feel obligated to take whatever it was that she offered me, but it didn’t always feel good after wards and eventually it felt like I was not being true to myself and my body. I know that she has the best of intentions (many families or friends do), but it can get difficult sometimes, especially around the holidays.

I have learned that this is my Grandmother’s way of showing she loves me right back. It drives me nuts, but those are the times when I have to take a deep breath, smile and firmly tell her, “Looks great Gran, but I don’t really want that right now.” She might give me one of her looks, then ask one more time, but within about 30 seconds, she’s usually over it.

With the holidays upon us, you may find yourself in a situation (or two, or 10) where someone gives, makes or offers you a food or drink item that you don’t want. For some people, it might not be a big deal declining food, or eating something they didn’t really want, but I know from experience dealing with food and body issues that it can be unsettling. Here are a few things I’ve tried—maybe they’ll help you too:

Scenario A: a person makes or gives you a packaged food/drink item (baked goods, box of candy, tin of popcorn…). You do not want it, or do not want it around.

~      Wrap it up and re-gift it (proceed with proper re-gifting etiquette and caution: don’t give it back to them or to one of their friends!)

~      Donate it to a food bank or holiday charity (if this is appropriate).

~     Throw it away (in a place and at a time where the giver won’t see). Trust me, it’s fine.

Scenario B: a person makes or offers you a food or drink item and expects you to have it right there in front of them:

~       “Those look delicious, I’m not very hungry right now, but maybe later.”

~       “Thank you! I’m a little overloaded on sugar right now, I will try one later!”

~      “I’m not really in the mood to have one right now, maybe you could wrap one up for me?”

~      “That is so kind of you to think of me! I’ll have a taste later.”

~      “Wow, those look beautiful, where did you get the recipe?”

I sometimes think about it this way: the unnecessary and short-lived guilt that I may feel saying no to someone’s food or drink item in no way compares to the yucky feeling I will have if I betray myself and have something that I didn’t want or that wasn’t good for me personally! Know yourself and honor that!

What other strategies have you tried when dealing with something like this? —Morgan

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4 Responses to FOOD-SANITY FRIDAY: Ways to Say No to Food You Don't Want!

  1. Good advice and it is true you don’t (and shouldn’t) feel obliged to eat something you don’t want. Though I will say that a cookie once in a while won’t do much harm. The season is all about enjoyment — but like everything — in moderation. So when you DO accept and eat a cookie — eat it without guilt and REALLY ENJOY it. Savor every bite.

    Even though I do help people with weight loss and body image — I love baking cookies! I do. And I like eating them too (gotta be hones here…). But I limit how many I eat and give LOTS away to friends, family and neighbors. But eating a homemade cookie is much better than a store-bought one :)

    But yes, “food pushers” this time of year can be a challenge for those trying to lose or maintain their weight. Thanks for your advice!

    • Sunny says:

      Hi Dineen–yes, totally agree: If you want a cookie, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have one! It’s just so hard sometimes when people are pushing food on you that you know will make you physically or mentally unhappy.

      Nice post, Morgan!

  2. Great suggestions for saying no nicely. Keeping it civil makes everyone feel good, especially ourselves.

  3. […] 2009 December 21 tags: Food-Sanity Tips of the Day, holidays by Morgan Week before last, I posted some tips on how to say no to food offered or given to you that you don’t want to eat. I mentioned that I […]

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