Peer Pressure to Eat (or Drink) Things You Don’t Want

“Let’s order a buffalo chicken calzone!”
“Uhh, well, I don’t know, I don’t think….”
“C’mon, split one with me! You know you want to, they’re SO good.”
“Umm, well…okay.”
I can’t tell you how many times this little scenario has gone on (mostly when I was in college, and there was an admittedly delicious calzone spot around the corner from where I lived with my best friends).

Problem is, my friend saying these things has a totally different relationship to food than I do. She is a very intuitive eater and usually doesn’t overeat, so I would be the one who ended up finishing off the goods and feeling ill. (And who doesn’t have the friend that has a bottomless pit for a stomach and a seemingly magical metabolism?)

Sometimes I just have to be honest with myself and be clear that to stay sane, sometimes I can’t eat in the same way as my friends. Do I wish it were different? Yes. Can I change that? Not really—it is what it is. The reality of things sometimes is frustrating and disappointing, but ultimately dwelling on it and comparing myself to others is just a distraction from figuring out what works best for me.

Sometimes it’s a matter of needing to eat different stuff (for example, I can’t have a meal of just straight up simple carbs, or else I feel icky and get hungry again really quickly), or that I need to eat at a different time, or in a different environment than my friends. As I have accepted this and become more comfortable with it, the easier it has become to manage. I’ve also found I don’t need to make a big deal about it: “I’m not really feelin’ a calzone right now, but thanks for thinking of me!”

Eating is a naturally social event and its fun and nice to share a meal or snack with people. Sometimes, however, it makes it really easy to confuse what is actually right for you and what other people might be doing.

How do you guys handle these kinds of situations? Do they come up for you? —Morgan

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10 Responses to Peer Pressure to Eat (or Drink) Things You Don’t Want

  1. izziedarling says:

    Just say, “I’m allergic to that and you will have to rush me to the hospital if I take one bite”. People bug me all the time about not ordering a cocktail when they do. If I don’t want one, I don’t want one, so I just say “Shut Up and keep your eyes on your own paper.” Miss Grumpy Pants, but it works!

  2. Shanna says:

    These come up all the time. It’s one of the reason’s I will say no to friends when they invite me to go out and do stuff. It’s one of the reason’s I hate holidays and family events! It’s so sad but true, I will avoid having fun with family and friends because I know all of the food that will be around. I wish it didn’t control my life this way because ultimately I am missing out in life on family, friends, and good times.

  3. girliefriend says:

    Thank you for this Morgan. I think this might be one of the hardest, or most challenging things we can learn. We can’t let our relationship with food rob us of the joy in life. Learning to say ‘no’ and not caving into peer pressure is one of the best ways we can take care of ourselves.

  4. Sunny says:

    I deal with this with my lovely husband sometimes. He always wants to order pizza! I eat pizza, but in moderation-it used to be a binge food. Some days it just doesn’t feel right, so I have to steer him toward a meal with a better balance of whole-grain carbs, protein and veggies! (We did order pizza one day last week though and it was fab! Hawaiian with ham and pineapple-our favorite.) xo…Sunny

  5. Kate says:

    I’m not sure how to handle these situations. I’m still working through the see food/eat it phase. I have tried to assert myself a bit with family, I’m afraid I’m being too assertive (most of the time I’m not assertive enough, so when I try to assert myself it comes off as rude.) Whenever I go over to my mom’s for dinner she often tells me what side or dessert is “diet.” Especially if she notices I’m not eating something. I’m starting to tell her that I don’t want it (because for whatever reason I don’t) or that I prefer the real ice cream to the diet stuff. Hopefully these small changes will mean if someone offers me something to eat at work, I can say no and not feel I’m letting them down.

  6. Heather says:

    I was a total bitch to my parents about it. I told them that they were making me fat and I wasn’t going to be able to hang out for dinner with them if they were going to be weird about food…in either direction. (when I was young, my dad used to make pig-oinking noises whenever I would eat dessert…such a moron…) My mom and I ‘hang out’ by going out for nice long dinners together…a lot…and usually to nice restaurants So, we decided that we would still do dinner, but we’d make it be ‘normal’ and not celebratory every night. Soup or salad to start, we split an entree and lattes for dessert…she gets it; it worked with her. With my friends, I just make myself stand away from food at parties, get there “late” for group outings for dinner (miss the apps and bread and first round of drinks) and I always use the “I’m on a really tight budget this week” so I can get away with eating less.
    (All this being said, avoiding food in front of people has never been my issue! If I could convince myself not to do these things in front of myself, I’d be set!!)

  7. Olivia says:

    For me, it’s the same as Heather: I don’t really have trouble avoiding food when people are around. In fact, I’m WAY too controlling about it, I have really big issues about eating in public, even with family and close friends..
    The only time I feel ‘pressured’ to eat something is if my mom makes something just for me. Then I just feel really bad and guilty if I don’t enjoy something she put time and effort into making, as if I were insulting her or something. And I KNOW she wouldn’t actually feel insulted if I just said “That looks amazing, but I’m not hungry right now, I’ll have some later”, but I just can’t help it.

  8. Veronica says:

    Oddly enough, I’ve never dealt with this. I think this is one of my strong points, you know, never giving in to peer pressure. I guess it’s probably because the people I would hang out with in school would eat a lot, granted not as much as I would but I never really felt left out with them.

  9. Emily says:

    I deal with this all the time, since my job involves a lot of after-work Happy Hours in a culture that glorifies drinking and unhealthy living. Going out to HH or dinner - and sometimes even lunch - terrifies me. I still haven’t figured out a good way to deal with it.

    Right now, my strategy is to order as healthfully as I can, concentrate on the company, take my time eating, try to gauge when I am full and to forgive myself if I wasn’t perfect. For the drinking, I try to stick to one drink and not finish it or fake it with seltzer water and lime. That’s the best I’ve got so far.

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