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How to: Deal with Food Pushers

Megan Dumas

It’s that time of the year again where holiday celebrations are aplenty and everyone who brought a dish or treat to pass thinks that you absolutely have to have a taste! When someone pushes you and insists that you eat a food or treat that doesn’t align with your current health goals, we might lovingly refer to this person as a “food pusher.” And when that person is a friend or family member, it can be especially hard to say “no” to whatever they’re offering you!

So what do you do when you’re not interested in trying a thousand different treats and you want to politely refuse those foods that don’t align with your current goals? Here are a few positive ways to respond to food pushers (during the holidays and whenever else you encounter them):

Talk About Something Else

A simple “No, thank you” may work in some situations, but food pushers get their name by being persistent and not taking “no” for an answer. What can you do? Say “no, thank you” and then change the topic of conversation to turn the food pusher’s attention to something else. Try bringing up something healthy or positive that you’re looking forward to and would be excited to share about (like your successes since joining Noom)! Or try asking questions that will get the food pusher talking about themselves and something they’re excited about.

Avoid Talking About Food While Eating

On the same note of changing the topic, it can be helpful to avoid talking about food while eating a meal together. If there’s food sitting on the table in front of you or desserts waiting in the kitchen and food comes up in conversation, a food pusher might jump at the opportunity to insist that you eat more of something or try one of the foods or desserts that they don’t see on your plate.

“I’m Not Hungry”

If you’re not eating when someone tries to push food on you, let them know that you’re not hungry or that you’ve already eaten. No one knows your body better than you do, so they can’t argue with you! But if that doesn’t satisfy them, you can let them know that you might like to try the food another time.

Excuse Yourself

If a food pusher refuses to back down, even when you’ve tried numerous approaches to saying “no,” don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from the situation. It’s more important that you feel comfortable and advocate for your health than it is that you try Great Aunt Sally’s homemade pecan tassies or the last piece of pizza that your friend insists you finish.

Share Your Health Journey

One more approach to refusing food from a food pusher is to openly share your health journey and current health goals with them. If you feel comfortable with it, you can let them know that you’d appreciate for them to not push certain foods on you. More likely than not, this person will be supportive of your efforts and avoid pushing foods on you in the future.

However you choose to approach the situation, remember that you are in control of your health and have the power to say “no” to anything that does not align with your goals for yourself!