Say “No” to Poor Food Choices
In order to lose weight, there are going be many times that you will have to turn down food that is available at work, social events, or even leftovers at home. More than willpower, you may need to change your thinking to get through these temptations without going off your meal plan. First of all, there is no such thing as “free food”. This includes treats in the work break room or candy on someone’s desk, and “gifts” of home baked goods. Pass on the “all you can eat” buffets, and those grocery store “deals” to “buy one [bag of chips], get one free”. There is a cost. Not only the cost of calories, but also the cost mentally and physically. How will you feel about going off your healthy food plan? So make it easier for yourself, and next time don’t buy those cookies, even if it’s a great sale!
See if you recognize any of these other unhealthy thought patterns in yourself:
Do you have trouble declining food because you might offend someone, or because you won’t feel included in the social event? It is ok to say “no” to food. You can decline food in a polite way by complimenting the host/hostess on how wonderful it looks, and still say, “no thank you“. If that person is pushy (like your aunt who insists you have a piece of her pie), you may have to assert yourself. Have a line about how you are choosing what you eat carefully. (Be prepared for a comment that you look fine and one bite won’t hurt. That’s when you may want to say that you feel better and healthier not eating foods high in sugar and fat.) It’s up to you what information you share depending on the situation. Even loved ones can sabotage your efforts, perhaps because they are used to showing their love with food.
In order to convince others so they’ll stop asking, you may first have to convince yourself that you can continue healthy eating on all occasions. Decide to change how you see food at social events. You can still be a part of the birthday celebration without eating a large slice of cake. This may require a mental shift after years of food-centered activities. You may have to break associations like popcorn at movies, hotdogs at ballgames, and funnel cake at the fair. Remind yourself of the reason for the event, i.e. to spend time with family, or catch up with friends. Begin to focus on the enjoyment and pleasure from people and activities, rather than food.
Another time to say “no” is when you have that urge to finish your plate. Were you part of the “clean plate club” where you had to finish all the food on your plate as a child? Now as an adult it’s up to you how much you eat. It might help to only fill your plate with a healthy portion, and use a smaller plate. Remind yourself that overeating really doesn’t help starving people in other countries (but a donation will). Overeating actually hurts you. If it’s hard for you to throw away food, you might start by discarding junk food that is empty of nutrition anyway. You can send leftovers home with company, or if it’s healthy food, you can save it for another meal. Just don’t finish off food to get rid of it. It’s still wasted food; it’s just inside you.