The Food Pushers are all around us! This Christmas, anticipate difficulties, think of how you are going to say NO and really mean it. Otherwise you won’t stand a chance when the Food Pushers come out for the holidays. They range from well-intentioned loved ones to total diet saboteurs.
They may appear innocent but Grandma, Grandpa and your slightly jealous sister can be brutal when it comes to your sticking to your guns.
Don’t wing it. ‘Trying’ not to eat as much was not a good plan in the past and it’s surely not a good plan for a bariatric post op. In order to obtain a different result, we have to change the way we move through life. To quote Tony Robbins, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
Know what you’re going to say.
When we are offered a gooey homemade chocolate chip cookie, there comes a pivotal moment where we have the decision right in front of us. The split second where we can be impulsive and take it, or where we can say ‘NO THANK YOU, I am eating healthier!’
If it makes you feel better to say “No thank you, I’m on a diet” or “No thank you, I don’t eat sugar” or “No thank you, I am already full”, or “No, thank you, I WILL HAVE ONE LATER!” then do it. (the last one is technically not standing up to people, but avoiding confrontation, which is much easier for many.)
Here is your script
“Wow, that really looks delicious, but no thank you.” Compliment the food and firmly turn it down. You can also tell a small white lie “That looks great but I am just getting over food poisoning” that makes it a case-closed type of situation where you don’t have to have a big discussion or defend yourself. Plus the sheer unpleasantness of your statement can be a conversation killer, which is sometimes needed with relentless food pushers.
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
To speak up and take a stand takes decent boldness that obviously did not come naturally in pre-op life. It often helps to practice being assertive. Later tonight, tomorrow morning, in the bathroom at the office tomorrow before the party, practice turning down food. Say it to yourself in the mirror until it sounds like you mean it. Say it with a smile on your face instead of looking as if someone is poking you with a fork. Be truly happy about what you are saying… be happy about all the things you can have, rather than pining over what you choose not to eat. Being 325 pounds is not worth the ability to eat fudge. If it is, you have made a mistake in having bariatric surgery.
But what if people notice I’m not eating?
If you think that sticking to your bariatric eating plan will put you in the spotlight, you are greatly overestimating how much attention people pay to what you are eating. People really don’t care about your plate and what is on it, they are concentrating on what’s on their plate. Humans are rather selfish and while they may be curious, when fork comes to mouth, they they lose interest in YOU.
What if someone does mention that you are not eating much? So what!? Let it roll right off your shoulders. They are just making conversation and not even listening to your answer. Living with the new habits that have given you back your life is way more important than worrying about what people think.
Practice… practice… practice
Say it out loud! Practice a few well thought out comments to yourself in the mirror. Remember that your family and friends want to spend time with you and are not there to take a poll of what you eat. “NO ONE CARES WHAT I EAT!”
YOU FEEL: Concerned that people will notice that you are not eating much.
TELL YOURSELF: So what! I am entitled to eat however I please. And if someone actually wants to know why, I can say ‘I’m eating healthier’, SMILE and change the subject.
YOU FEEL: Rude for turning down a too large helping.
TELL YOURSELF: So What! Taking care of my health is more important than pleasing my Grandma.
YOU FEEL: That you have been good and deserve a treat.
TELL YOURSELF: I can find other ways to celebrate a special occasion, like sitting down with my grandfather and asking him to share stories of his childhood over a cup of cocoa. That is a treat worth more than any food on the table!
YOU FEEL: Everyone is staring when the bowl of stuffing is passed to you.
TELL YOURSELF: Staying true to my surgery is more important to me than everyone’s approval. I can be firm and pass the bowl with a big smile instead of a tortured look. Besides, they are probably staring because I look so different and I am undeniably happy.
Dear Past, thanks for the lessons. Dear Future, I’m ready!
Each day we stand at crossroads. Every moment brings new decisions that are within your sphere of influence. Forget your past. Don’t think about who you have been. Instead, who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make choices consciously. Make them powerfully.
“FUDGE?” “Would love to, it really looks delicious. I’ll have some later.” Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukah!