What to Say When People Push Food on You

by Coach Stevo
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What to Say When People Push Food on You

“Just have one.”

“But it’s the holidays!”

“You can have a little.”

Staying true to your nutrition plan is hard. But with all the parties, feasts, and indulgence, staying on plan during the holidays is Rubik’s Cube hard. And to make matters worse, a lot of us face pressure, both subtle and overt, from our friends and family to toss the Rubik’s Cube out the window and eat cake for breakfast.

This can feel like sabotage, even when it’s innocent. The collected opinions of friends and family, and the opinions of complete strangers and coworkers can feel like a lot of pressure. So when I work with clients, we brainstorm ways to handle it. Everything from what to do to what to say. Here are some of the best lessons I have learned from my clients about how to handle “food pushers.”


When we were discussing food pushers, a client of mine who had lost a lot of weight let me in on her very unique strategy: “I remember that I’m not the only one dealing with change.” She recognized that as scared as she was of people pressuring her, a lot of the people pushing food on her were doing it because they were scared. They didn’t want their friend to change because it meant they might have to change. They didn’t want their friend to turn down a drink because it meant that they might have to reflect on why they needed that drink. “So I started thinking of them like bears. You know, more scared of me than I am of them?” That change in mindset was enough to take some of the power back and more easily say “no” to an extra helping of pie.


My clients and I actually plan and act out situations that they know are coming. Someone is going to ask “why are you on a diet?” Someone is going to offer you a drink. You know these situations are going to happen so you can plan for them and act them out in your head.


If your fear is looking ungrateful, plan and role-play saying things that show how grateful you are. A lot of food pushing at the holidays is hospitality with calories. People want us to feel welcome and comfortable, and that usually means food. And on the flip side of that relationship, we don’t want to appear ungrateful so we feel obliged to accept. So, accept people’s hospitality in other ways. If they offer you a muffin, politely decline but ask “who made that delicious salad?” If they ask if they can get you a beer, you can politely decline but let them know you’ll take a bottled water.


When people push food, a lot of what they say falls into the “one little one won’t hurt you” category. You can choose to ignore it, but if some people are really pushy you can respond in unexpected ways that turn the conversation. If the idea of saying, “but I might not stop at just one” is scary, try practicing “I’m trying to do this for myself.” Or, “I’m trying to practice a little willpower.” Or, “No thanks, I’m trying to be a better me.” Responding with the values you are trying to embody rather than the outcomes you want is a great way not only to shut down a pushy person, but to remind yourself about what this journey is really about.


  • cellochica

    This is the hardest part for me, but these ARE great suggestions! Thank you! Especially when traveling and living on hospitality from friends (or strangers), I fear offending them. I love the suggestion to provide an alternative means to show hospitality.

  • GyrlSmylee Ireland

    I dont get food pushers (FP) or the people who need to know why. I have decided the next time a FP absolutely needs to know… I am going to blow air in to my cheeks, shake my mouth like I am going to get sick, and fake calming down and quietly ask “what did you need to know…?” then bolt saying “I am going to be sick, something smells bad.” laugh out loud!! I am avoiding one Christmas party because I know I would be tempted to drink heartily because there is so much free booze available. I am not an alcoholic and seldom drink but when I want to, I can tie one on. No more of that.

    • William Dunham

      It’s amazing how a diet 7up or water in a cocktail glass can look like a drink and let you fit right in with the others.

      • Lydia

        Water on the rocks!

  • amyg

    Great advice. Food pushers typically cause me to break my routine. I’ll be using these tips at Christmas for sure!

  • 12lbsmore

    I’m one of the few that actually needs to GAIN weight… Any suggestions on the foods that help do that

    • ASG

      All foods can make you gain weight, as long as you’re eating more calories than you burn. If you don’t get hungry easily/very often, try things like olive oil, nuts, nut butters, butter, fattier cuts of meat, milkshakes, smoothies, full fat dairy, and other items that pack more of a calorie punch for smaller amounts.

      • telly

        True r.e fats having a higher density of calories. But please be careful here. Those who are at a lower weight are prone to high cholesterol just the same as those who are overweight (which we all know can lead to heart problems and numeous other issues too). If you want to add additional fats to your diet steer clear of those saturated fats e.g that come from dairy and the fat from meat. Look for options such as acocado, olive oil & nuts but still keep these in their right place and don’t overdo them.

    • Anbskdnd

      Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, nuts, and chocolate milk (with a lot of syrup) are some of the easiest. I needed to gain 20 pounds but eat healthy at the same time. Try eggs cooked in olive/canola oil for more calories. Don’t forget the ice cream! Have one “big bad” thing a day, (400+ cals) and eat healthy the rest of the time to gain a decent amount of weight, but not overload yourself.

  • rhoda

    Great tips!! Can someone also recommend strategies to manage FPs in ethnic community situations, where communication styles are different and expectations are rather unshakable? Cheers, happy holiday season everyone!

    • Kenjii D Hopgood

      I know for me, being African American, a visit to relatives means all the food will have meat or be fried. southern cooking is the WORST on your health best the taste is the BEST. I have tried various diets and I when confronted with homemade food. I may use a cheat day and have dinner. then next time I will politely say “no thanks, i’m not hungry.” meaning not hungry for that food. I believe in the power of attraction. you start making your new lifestyle a good habit by maintaining your beliefs. look at unhealthy food for what it really is. picture that plate of home cooked food as a few pounds of fat. literally see the globs of fat that YOU will be storing up. not your family. You.

      • aww thanks!!! really appreciate the fact that we’re not alone. i’m learning to enjoy the challenge of saying ‘no’. what are your relatives’ reactions when you stick to your healthy lifestyle

        • Kenjii D Hopgood

          Your welcome Rhoda. Feel free to add me as a friend on mfp. Well no matter what I say they always want to offer comfort food but if I say ‘no’ in such a way that it is not taken offensively I have no problem with my relatives.

        • Real foodie

          Also you might try getting alternative recipes that are healthier but still part of the heritage. I’m in the south and yes there was fried food and bacon in everything but over time recipes were altered so that the are much worse now. What used to be a seasoning is now a large part of the ingredients. Because it is cheaper now. People also had a limited amount of fat so fried foods were special, not constant and cheap and easy to come by.
          Example sweet potatoes do not need added sugar! Sugar was too expensive in the past to be added to a sweet veggie. Now the put sugar and marshmallow on them.
          And people used to eat the greens. Years ago I watched a program where they had found the greens literally counteracted much of the negatives of ham and bacon but people began to leave them off and/ or add more and more grease to them.
          If you try something like recipe rehab (see website) bring the dish as something that’s a new spin on tradition but don’t say healthy or diet it will be a threat!

  • lindadesserts

    I say: ” No thanks, I’m trying to quit.” Same line works for credit card pushers at retail stores.

    • Amber Richardson

      Some pushy people can’t take the hint though. My mother-in-law is extremely pushy. She is constantly saying I need to eat junk foods (that she likes) because “one won’t hurt”, ect….I decline with “no thanks. Remember how the doctor said no sugary sweets for me because of my health issues”….she comes back with “well sugar is good for you and your doctor doesn’t know what she is taking about”….I reply with “I really do t want to eat junk food though because I know I’ll start craving it again”….she replies again with “oh no you won’t. You know one won’t make a difference so I’m going to buy the (cookie/brownie/ect) anyway and I’m going to buy one for myself (then she “accidentally” leaves both in my refrigerator). She calls a week later and says “I didn’t mean to leve those in your fridge. Didn’t you happen to eat them?” I always say “no. I couldn’t eat them so I tossed them in the trash”. Then she gets upset at me for not caving in….funny thing is, I have declined her for months exactly how this article says to for pushy people so I’m fairly certain hers is straight up sabotage. She also likes to force butter on me. I get low fat/low cholesterol margerine because of my cholesterol levels AND my husband’s choloesterol levels (her son)….yet she still constantly insists on us eating a shit ton of butter to become “more healthy”. She tells me that I’m “not as jiggly as I used to be”…..

      • Richard Hertz

        Sounds like your MIL can use a nice hot cup of STFU

        • Amber Richardson

          I agree. Lol. I wish there was some way to make her and people like her understand that I’m not just “trying to get skinny”….I actually showed her my lab results from blood work…even then, she still insists on me eating all these unhealthy things….and even her own son….who has caved in and back to drinking Dr. Pepper on a daily basis and has begun eating fast food again. She lives Taco Bell and so does he. But he needs to take care of his cholesterol. He’s my husband and I would love to see him be healthy….simply because I want us to live long, healthy lives together.

          • Melissa Fillmore

            Hate to tell you, you will never be able to change anyone else. So you have to remind yourself “problem, problem, who has the problem?” Not you. The best gift you can give them is to be a great example of how to be the best “you” you can be. And when she insists on pushing her values on you, just say thank you and move on. She may never get the hint. But at least you won’t have to argue over it.

          • Bam

            It’s usually the people who are so competitive and need to lose weight,who do this to me and boy do they never give up! It’s like feeding me becomes their main aim once they see i am trying to be healthy! It’s just ridiculous!

          • Amber Richardson

            I know that…I’ll keep praying for her to realise what she’s doing and stop but that’s about all I can do. I try not to argue with her, however, she’s an extremely aggressive person on all ends. The healthy eating is just a tiny example of what she has done to me AND my sisters-in-law….she absolutely hates women in her sons’ lives and tries to “keep secrets that one says about the other” with all three of us….these “secrets” are false and made up by her….she’s hoping to make us hate each other but so far her shenanigans haven’t worked. (Still just the tip of the ice-burg of her aggressiveness).

          • Barb

            Amber, I am sorry my husband and my mother are the same that is why we moved as far away as we could 36 years ago. They will never change, if she leaves treats on your kitchen table pick them up In front of her and throw them in the trash. Believe me she will quite buying junk food for you. Or move away as far as you can.

          • Carly

            Yes, it’s so frustrating. Sometimes I think I should just get really fat and have a heart attack and then say, “See?? I told you!”

          • Bam

            No way! We just need to keep ramming it down their throats that NO we DO NOT WANT any! Now get lost!!

          • todd.sherise

            Right on. Although I know this is no the 70’s but right on.

          • Carly

            I’m being extreme. Maybe what I should do is continually push my kale smoothies on them. Turn it around. See how they like it. LOL

          • MSK09

            That is what I do!

          • todd.sherise

            Tell these kind of people certain things do not agree with your stomach no don’t let them jeopardize your health.

          • Amber Richardson

            Sometimes I also jokingly get this mentality. I know it wouldn’t do any good for this type of person….but a part of my mind says there has got to be a way to make them act more respectfully at the very least.

          • todd.sherise

            Do not give in. Tell them certain things do not agree with your stomach and that low fat low sugar foods agree with your stomach better. Do not jeopardize your health for these people.

          • Carly

            That’s a great reply. I think they’re catching on that I’m done with sugar and not to push anymore. LOL

          • Lydia

            You are SO right about sugar and cravings. You have to stay off it or it’s a whole downward spiral! She’s directly trying to sabotage you, kudos to you for being so strong!

          • Amber Richardson

            Thank you! I keep telling myself “at least I’m willing to work hard at something unlike her”….anytime she tries to pull anything.

          • Cat Kitty Welch

            Sorry you’re going through this. Maybe you and hubby shouls watch “Fed Up” together. It may inspire him to ditch the soda.

          • Amber Richardson

            Thanks. He and I have discussed the situation as he says he realises he’s back downhill and will start working on it. He has begun eating more of my cooked foods rather than fast foods again but still drinks the Dr. Pepper consistently. I’ll just have to keep encouraging him as I have been and eventually he will be doing good for himself again. 🙂

          • AJ

            Keep repeating the same line every time she pushes. “No thank you.” Have some! “No thank you.” Just one won’t hurt! “No thank you.” Oh come on! “No thank you.” If you repeat the exact same line over and over, it will mirror her own absurdity. Be robotic. As many times as she pushes, repeat the phrase. Do not waver. Unhealthful foods outside your plan do not help you reach your goals.

          • Eliot

            Another way to deal with it is to agree with their intended insults. It’s disarming. “You want to be skinny.” “That’s right.” “It’s not good for you”. “I know.” “Then why do you do it?” “I want to be skinny.” They either figure out you are mocking them, or they just get frustrated. Either way, they really want an argument and you aren’t letting them have one. Plus, rather than getting mad, you can enjoy the game. I visualize Tom & Jerry duking it out.

          • todd.sherise

            I meant does like slim better. Not soes. Lol. That as a typo on my part.

        • Bam

          Wow! Your MIL is a nasty piece of work!! You should drop the crap she puts into your refrigerator right back onto her doorstep and say,’with love!’

      • Midget01

        I would say yes you noticed that I am not so jiggly and I am proud of that. I bet I out live you. sometimes rudeness invites rudesness.

      • laquintana

        This is exactly how pushy people respond. As I was reading the article, I kept thinking of all the rebuttals that pushy people have and how persistent they continue to be. I look at it now as a good way to practice saying no, and I don’t even offer any explanation except that I am already filled and satisfied and will not eat unless I am hungry. Then I avoid eye contact and focus on something or someone else.

      • rosalina9877

        WOW. You are in fact dealing with a saboteur! It is a control thing for her. Good for you!!!!

      • kj

        Holy sh#t !! You should enter the world’s worst mother-in-law competition. That is pretty aggressive and i do think there is an element of sabotage or backhanded cruelty. I have had a family member be almost as aggressive as that and i had to try really hard to not just call her on her motivations to cut through the bullshit “good intentions” which were not good at all although strangely my aunty and probably your MIL may not be aware of their true motivations. If i had to guess your situation it would be somewhere around being threatened, jealous, control etc It could also be that weird thing mother-in-laws sometimes do is wanting to make their DIL more like them because they dont like their sons marrying someone a lot different from them and want to make sure their sons own life is the same as it was growing up which is weird and unhealthy

        • Amber Richardson

          She’s definitely a very jealous person. Just about a week and a half ago I was weighing myself and she happened to walk in the door at the same time….she asked what I weighed. I told her my weight and she said something sweet “Wow. You’re getting so close to your goal”. I said “Yep I’m excited about it too…I’m glad I’m doing so good for my health now”. She said “Hmm…let’s see what I weigh (speaking of herself).”….*weighs herself*…”Hey how much did you say you weighed?” “I said “132”. She said “Well you weigh almost as much as me now….I weigh 122…but I bet with my coat and shoes and winter clothes on I could weigh as much as you…..well probably still couldn’t weigh that much.”

          It’s like a gear switches over mid sentence for her from very nice to Satan.

          What the most ironic thing about it is, is the fact that I’m one of her favorite cooks….she’s constantly eating my foods (I cook large meals that anyone is welcome to) and that is one thing she consistently compliments….she tells me I’m such a good cook and asks me where I get my recipes (even now that I’ve switched over to healthy meals)….she says she can’t get enough of my food…..the ironic part is that she wouldn’t be receiving all of this delicious food if I was still eating Taco Bell all the time like she wants me to.

          • saveourplanet22

            You have an extra 10 lbs of niceness and good will. She has 122 lbs of meanness.

      • Sheryl

        Wow! She’d make one hell of a drug pusher! Next time she leaves something to undermine you, freeze it and hand it back to her the next time you see her saying you realize it was important to her so you saved it for her. you can’t change someone else, toucan only change how you react to them. Stay strong!

      • Anthony Grubb

        Unfortunately, family and in-laws can quickly fall into a category of blurred boundaries and pushiness beyond the scope of this article and in the realm of counselors, pastors, and life coaches. Good luck with this one!

      • saveourplanet22

        Wow – hope you don’t have to see her too often!

      • saveourplanet22

        My dad’s wife believed in 4 food groups, fat, sugar, meat, wine. She came from the South and loved everything smothered with sugar and gravy – like the original Paula Deen. She ridiculed my salads and tsked any weight loss I enjoyed. She would say time and again that God’s grace determines our health, not diet. She died at 76 yrs old.

      • Rose

        Amber, this is not about food! Your MIL sounds like a real control person! I’ll bet she tries to push you around in other ways too! Stick to your guns and continue to do what’s best for YOU! Good luck!

      • Coll

        She’s a down right bitch. I used to have one just like her

      • Eliot

        It’s funny, but I did not read your post until after I posted my “sabotage” comment. I think it confirms the necessity of my statement. 🙂

      • Linda Brush

        My ex mother in law served desert at every meal…she would be planning her next meal while sitting down at the current one…she weighed 350 lbs. She always tried to push desert off on EVERYBODY..especially if she knew you were trying to lose weight. The saving grace here is that she would lick the knife between every slice of pie or cake she cut, so it was really easy for me to turn down the desert she was serving………LOL……..just think about that if you want to say no.

      • Pachence

        You are ridiculous, and seeking a fantasy type of acceptance that you never recieved from your own mother! Get over yourself!

      • Jennifer

        Sounds like she has a few screws loose

      • ISeeFitPeople

        Your mother-in-law sound ms controlling, overbearing and a pain in the ass.

      • Chellyb

        I’m so sorry you are going through this. That’s terrible. Good for you for standing your ground.

      • todd.sherise

        Tell her yes you will start craving it again you know from experience. Tell that broad you do not want to be giggly and you are sticking with your healthy spreads and not her butter. When she says a little won’t hurt tell this bra you’re not taking any chances

      • todd.sherise

        Now I know trying to get slim is not healthy for everyone. So I am not saying that it is not dangerous for some people to try to be slim. However, if somebody soes like slim better guess what? There is not necessarily anything wrong with that. I bet your mom in law is overweight. In your case it is about your health condition. Here is something that works like a charm. Tell her that father does not agree with your stomach when you eat a bunch of things that are made with butter tell her when you eat your way with the spreads you like, that agrees with your stomach better. Trust me this works like a charm.

      • Rick

        I dont think food pushers do these things out of love at all. They are usually very insecure people who have a need to sabotage and control others.

    • Midget01

      that line worked when I first started this program but now my friends are tired of my diet and want me to return to eating like I use to. I have more stamina than that and because I now have a stomach the size of a medium egg there is no turning back and I have lost enough weight to keep me on track. So if it’s a choice between friendships or foods I plan on staying healthy at all cost. I don’t like being sick to prove a point.

    • SpazMataz

      try that with my mom. saying no to her, then means she says something back. then you have to respond. then she gives a long explanation. then the guilt. to say no to an offer of food takes such an effort of energy and verbal jousting, its easier to just submit and say ok.

  • adrielslifewithfibro.com

    These are great suggestions. I especially appreciate the thought that the change is difficult for them too. That helps put things in a new perspective.

  • Amanda Weigner

    There are a lot of food pushers at work to the point where sometimes they come around and hand everyone one of whatever it is. My office is big on food in a 5 day work week breakfast or lunch will be catered by a client at least 3 times. We place all that food in the kitchen. Sometimes if a food pusher comes and sets something on my desk I politely say thank you then later take it to the kitchen where the other food is for someone else to have.

  • Eli

    I’m not saying that you need to give in to “Food Pushing” bur if you splurge on a holiday, that’s fine. What you do with the other 364 days of the year really counts. Make it a splurge and not a regular occurrence.

    • Shawnie

      I was waiting for someone to give this response. I started eating healthy and exercising 6 months ago and have lost 30 pounds. I still have a drink when I want or the occasion presents itself and I have treats when I really want it, my girls have made me something special. My friend who helped me start with a clean eating challange for 5 days gave me this, subscribe to a 80/20 plan. Make sure you stay on a track at least 80% of the time and then you can have treats. I think it is hard at first, but once a healthy lifestyle starts it is easier to splurge.
      For example when I know we are going tailgating I add a little more to my run. Guess what I have had 3 pieces of the homemade peppermint fudge the girls and I made. Also remember it is about portion that fudge piece was cut into small bite size pieces. I have three daughters it is important for them to see me make healthy choices and lifestyle, not a constant of always saying no or over indulging.

      • BuzzPreston

        That’s like quitting smoking 80% of the time, and “adding a little more to your run” does nothing. You may not gain weight back, but you’re not doing your lipid panel any good.

        • Stephanie Webster

          The difference here is that cigarettes are just downright bad for you and are physically addictive. All nutritionists will agree that there is no such thing as a “bad” food (well, maybe except for super-processed fake food), and that indulging in our favorite “junk” foods–in moderation, of course–can help us stick to our healthy eating plans in the long run.
          And while we can certainly become “addicted” to food, whether psychologically or even physically (caffeine headaches, the comforting “food coma”), it is in fact possible for someone to have a limited amount of a treat and not completely relapse. I’m eating some delicious (and expensive!) dark chocolate as I type this. It’s my indulgence for the day, and it’s not going to cause me to suddenly gain back the 30 pounds I lost. This scenario is probably not the case with cigarettes. If it *were* possible for a former smoker to smoke just one cigarette a month, I doubt it would be an issue. I’m sure a doctor would even agree, if they were willing to suspend their disbelief and go along with that premise (which is clearly a false one when it comes to smoking).
          Three bite-size pieces or fudge are hardly going to affect her lipid panel.

          • BuzzPreston

            Apparently someone has my user id and psswd, as I did not comment on this subject.

      • nursecathy123cat

        Good for you, Shawnee. Feeling deprived can be death to a healthy eating plan. If I have one beer at a party, then switch to sparkling water, it is more satisfying AND I feel good about not having 2 or 3 more beers! And my lipid panel is just fine.

      • Kim

        I’m like yourself, to totally deny an old crave, or not eat something your children eat or make – can lead to sabotage. But the main point is to show your kids or whoever you can have or choose to have the occasional food. It can be justified with a little extra exercise or a smaller meal before or after it.

    • Big Al

      Here’s the thing though…I have noticed when trying to stick to a nutrition plan, meal plan, healthy eating routine (whatever you may call it). You say “its okay to splurge on a holiday, what you do with the other 364 days really counts” Let’s not forget, the Thanksgiving holiday, Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, St. Patricks Day, Easter/Easter Candy, Birthdays (at least a few a year), Memorial Day (cookouts), 4th of July, Weddings, Barbecues, Happy Hours, Concerts, Summer Vacations, Sporting events, Tailgates, Labor Day, National Donut Day, Halloween. The list could go on… There are so many “occasions/holidays” to splurge, I don’t think that excuse is relevant.

      • neldabg

        I completely agree. It’s something I’ve been questioning. Anytime anyone asks advice for how to eat during a special occasion, someone, without fail, says, “Just enjoy your time out.” Time out is a regular occurrence, especially for social butterflies. A person can’t just splurge every time. Perhaps a person may choose a holiday or two that they’ll splurge, but portion control and the word “no” are essential in maintaining weight during special events year-round.

  • Jim Moore

    I simply say like “You know, what I’d really like is a diet coke….”

    • Midget01

      Not everyone can say this. It depends on the type of diet you are on. If you are bariatric any form of carbonated pop can tare your stomach apart more ways then one. If you are watching your sodium I would reread all of those carbonated pope cans and you will surprised that you haven’t blown up. People can live with out caffeine and carbonation and not everyone has to do the same thing you do to fit in. People need to learn to be respectful for what makes their friend healthier.

      • Real foodie

        People OUGHT to be respectful… They don’t NEED to be. By that I mean you can’t change them, you can only change yourself. Largely because they have their own issues which may include an inability to think of another way to have friendship (non-food based).
        See my reply to your other post. When they know where you stand they’ll adapt or they’ll be out of your life.
        You don’t need to give an ultimatum- that’s just drama. Make changes and spend less and less time with those who aren’t respecting what you have chosen to do.

        • Target Reached

          I couldn’t have put it better myself

    • Ings

      I am glad you are doing what is right for your health. It takes great courage:) on this note check out the actual health behind “diet sodas”. The sweetners in them actually create metabolic resistance which leads to weight gain and diabetes. I have found the only alternative so far are water and herbal teas (without sugar:P). I make up a batch of herbal tea and keep in my fridge and have it cold:) I wish you every success on your journey:)

  • Me, Myself, and I

    I find “No thank you” works just fine.

  • jmb0608

    Since I am celiac, my best and true response is that I must be gluten free. that eliminates all the goodies, alcohol, etc. and other treats at such gatherings.. usually there are veggie trays, salads that fit the bill for eating and still be sociable at those functions

  • Amy Jo

    I start with “No, thank you.” If they keep pushing, I tell them I’m in training. I found this is a great response. They’re not offended I said no, and it steers the conversation toward the next event I’m training for & away from food.

  • Lin

    I just say “I don’t eat ___________” and comment that they did a great job of decorating the cookie, everything looks and smells delicious, etc. put the pusher in the spotlight and s/he will not feel like I’m shunning their food. That gives me the power and I’m not being a martyr in front of everyone.

  • Stephanie Wood

    Whoever wrote this has never met my grandma.

    • Amber Richardson

      Same with my mother-in-law.

  • Ben

    I have found that the superficial interactions described above are fairly easy to deal with. Something simple always works, e.g., “I’m training for an event,” “I’m trying to get back in shape,” etc. It’s the people who are really close to me that can be the hardest, e.g., my girlfriend, best friend, etc. For those people, it REALLY helped to get them on board with my diet, and it took more than a one-liner. I explained to them the real reason for diet, and that I would really appreciate their help. I explained that it’s hard, but it’s really important to me, and realistically, I won’t succeed without their support. I also have found, generally, that people are much more willing to get over their own shit if they feel like they’re helping someone.

    • Rick

      A lot of times though, with the people I encounter, it isn’t about your well being. They are usually jealous or self conscious trying to derail you anyone any chance they get.

  • AK

    Adding to this, if you’re truly dedicated on losing weight, you shouldn’t have any problems turning down bad food. But just the fact that you’re reading this article most likely means you have little to no motivation.

    • Real foodie

      No, it means you aren’t rude so you want a good response to people who do mean well. I have a stepmother who is so happy I come to visit from out of town that she celebrates it the only way she understands…sugar. She comes at me with ice cream- no thanks. Then some kind of candy- no thanks, don’t have a sweet tooth anymore. Then some kind of Twinkie type thing- no thanks, I don’t like those. I rave over any healthy thing she makes. Cooking is her thing and she’s used to getting attention for the unhealthy stuff, so I can be nice and turn it around at the same time. I used to eat the stuff she gave me because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, then I realized I don’t want to waste calories on food I don’t even like. Now I am not tempted because I don’t have the sugar craving. Perfect.

  • darren


  • Midget01

    I am a bariatric person and a lot of people have liked to take me out in the past and they really try to make me feel bad about turning down their offer and if I won’t eat then they don’t want to pay for my meal; like they don’t get their money’s worth with me. It is very sad that they can’t enjoy my friendship without having a feast to thank me for being there. It’s like they get drunk on food. They let food be the focus instead of the relationship. I just feel that is sad. It doesn’t take much to cheat on my menu. But I am the one who pays the price and I get angry at my friends for thinking they need to force me to eat something that will make me sick at my stomach. It’s as though they don’t trust me when I say thank you but I can’t eat that anymore. I have heard a lot of people say just one bite won’t kill you. Well it just might if they think about it because their forcing me to do what makes them feel good does destroy our friendship and I am struggling to keep that in tact. I had bariatric surgery not to lose weight but because I had developed 13 different illnesses and I love not having to remain on meds for all of those things anymore. Yes I have lost some weight and yes I want to keep that weight off but I prefer not being sick anymore and that has become a priority to me. So it is to the point where I stay healthy or keep my unhealthy friends I have already decided who my true friends are now. If they care about my health they won’t let food stand in the way. It is not hospitable to force someone to eat something that will and can make them sick. When the focus is on the relationship instead of the food it is amazing how nice an evening can be. Some times they make me lie and tell them that I have developed an allergy to that; but wouldn’t a true friend want you to be honest with them???

    • Real foodie

      Nobody can make you lie. You are giving them too much power by telling yourself that. If no thanks or I’m full doesn’t work just try, I can’t eat that it makes me feel bad (this is last resort as it is tmi unless they’ve been pushy).
      If that doesn’t work, they are not your friends or need more mental health support than you can provide.
      Either plan non food get togethers with them or just don’t eat out with them. For example, go shopping with them during non meal hours. Say ahead of time you can shop from 9-11 am so the aren’t surprised when you bail right before lunch.
      If eating out is all you’ve ever done with them, you’ll have to find other activities or else they are out of your life- like a recovering alcoholic, you can’t afford a friendship based entirely on a bad habit you’re trying to dump.

    • Val

      Just say “that/those cookies give me bad indigestion/gas) see if they keep pushing!!

  • revsmh

    “No thanks. I’ve had enough/plenty.” OR “I’m full/not hungry.” Usually does the trick for me. While at a family gathering, I’ll leave to go exercise so I can keep myself on track. And MyFitnessPal app has been a Godsend.

  • PJ

    I like “I’m trying 2 do this 4 a better me.”

  • SA

    I say, ‘Sorry, I’m watching my girlish figure.’ As a guy, this works and sometimes gets a laugh

  • Skinny

    I’m surprised this article missed some of the key ways to push back on food pushers, namely saying I don’t like blah. Whenever someone tries to push icecream on me, I say I don’t like it. If their response is “gasp! But why??!!” I tell them I don’t like excessively cold things. If someone says “have a bit, it’s not cold, it’s melted”, I tell them “it doesn’t agree with me” (code for I’m lactose intolerant). Same with baked goods (cookies, muffins, etc). I just say I don’t like sweet things and they’re usually a little horrified but then let it alone and more importantly never give me a hard time again. Seriously, just say you don’t like sweet things. If you’re committed to your diet / being healthy you shouldn’t be eating sugar anyway. It’s addictive as hell and you’ll be back on a sugar wagon in no time. (Luckily for me, I really don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I hate that cloying taste it coats my mouth with.)

    • Real foodie

      I have found this works best also. I can honestly say I don’t like sweets like I used to and turn down a bunch of artificial unnecessary snack items.

  • This advice sucks, there are people who will never stop after such weak answers and who do NOT want to see you succeed. I have dealt with it. The BEST way to treat people who will not respect your wishes is to tell them to “F” off and embarrass them or eliminate them from your life. If someone won’t respect your wishes and your requests you are dealing with the wrong people.

  • shartran

    Easier said than done…just experienced this all last night during dinner! OMG…I just kept saying I’ve had enough – or I’m full…it’s like I had no voice. As soon as one person asked me, someone else tried…

  • lifefeedsonlife

    If you say no consistently enough – folks will leave you alone. After a while, they’ll get it and then after that, they’ll start asking about what makes a difference for you.

  • F

    There’s no actual lines in here hat you can use. Waste of time reading this article.

  • Sue Lasbury

    A few years ago I lost 30 lbs and never felt better. I looked great, buying clothes was a breeze because things actually fit and looked good. My self-esteem was strong and I actually wanted to see people and do things. My lean friends were thrilled for me, however friends who were overweight or obese kept telling me I was too thin, advised me not to lose anymore weight, told me I was way too thin. My weight was actually exactly where it was suppose to be based on the usual charts. I am only 5 ft 2 in and after losing 30 lbs. I weighed 125. Unfortunately, I have gained almost all that weight back, but that is going to change in 2015. I’m determined to get healthy, and lose that weight so I can get back where I was.

    • Rosco Peeps

      I’m right with you Sue. I lost around 30lbs too and have put it all back on. I aim to lose it all again in 2015 and keep it off once and for all!

  • sss

    I say, “No thanks.” If they need a reason why, or give me a hard time, I let them know that I’m not always able to resist, but when I have the willpower, I need to be good (with my diet). That usually makes the conversation lighter and often my friends/family start sharing stories of bad willpower, like eating a bag of oreos at one sitting. That takes the focus off of me.

  • GregoryRuff

    I have read a lot of folks struggling with outside influences during the holidays. Whether that be friends or family or temptations due to circumstances…

    I’m going to pass along some of the best things I’ve read and the best advice I’ve been given… some of these things have really worked for me… when I have the resolve to actually follow them!!!!!

    First, Remember, it isn’t about them. It is about us and our choices.

    We decide what goes in our mouth.
    We decide what makes us emotional.
    We decide what makes us mad.
    We decide what we let depress us.

    We are in control.

    We decide it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says because we are doing to do what is right.

    When successful most it is because I start with a mentality of hope. Then it is harder for someone to break through and sink my battleship.

    Preparation seems to be a key, maybe the key so far in my journey.

    Prepare your mind that some people are going to try and sabotage you, even if it is subconsciously.
    Prepare what food you are going to eat for the day, the week, your life. Make the decision.
    Prepare ahead, start by looking ahead at your day and the week. Then prepare the food you will eat or what you will eat in each situation where you don’t bring food.
    Prepare in your mind what choices you’ll make for all the food you are to eat for each day. Prepare your mind to politely say, “No thank you.”
    Prepare your mind for when that person(s) who talks too much begins to chime in that you are going to let it fly off your shoulder and let them spew, because it really doesn’t matter.

    We are getting healthy and soon we’ll be smaller than they are and they’ll look really small mentally for all their unwanted and unneeded advise that backfires… But again, we shouldn’t get satisfaction out of that. We should be kind even if they are not. It doesn’t help to cause them discomfort anymore than it helps them to tear us down. If your focus is on making them pay, then you are not focusing on your game plan. We need to put all our energy into positively changing who we are and following the game plan for getting healthy.

    I have successfully, often not always, nipped conversations in the bud by just letting people know my story on the oust, rather than let than them define it… If I know someone is a mouth runner or I sense it coming on, I cut in and let them know it is really simple, “I had a procedure called the vertical sleeve, and then I have done everything my doctors have told me to do.” That really seems to work and if it doesn’t, if I say anything else it is that, “I think I’m going to work within the guilders of my doctors. They have steered me and others well for years.”.

    If someone says you’ve lost too much, I say, “According to my doctors I still have some weight to lose, but I’m well on my way.”

    When they say, don’t lose too much, I say, “I have lost more than I dreamed, but I want to lose all I can while the tool is working for me and I am healthy. My doctors have told me we’ll know when I’ve reached the right place for me.” – Or – “My doctors are pleased with my progress and have encouraged me to keep doing what I’m doing and my body will tell us when it is ready to settle in.”

    These are not perfect, but have worked well for me most of the time… What works for you…

  • Pete Amble

    If you’re friends know you are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and still try to derail you then they are not true friends……Get some new ones!

  • Jazz

    Plain old tap or filtered water is a far better option than bottled water…. All those plastic bottles are terrible for the health of our planet. The other tips are good though 🙂

  • rajushank84

    If a friend has spent a lot of time cooking for me, I take exactly one mouthful or one piece to taste, and following it up with “Its delicious, but I am watching calories right now so don’t mistake me. Thank you, I appreciate it!”.
    On the other hand, if we are at a party/restaurant and someone is trying to compel me to eat/drink, I just tell them I’m watching calories and order something light or water. Sometimes they take that as a cue and go into a long advising spree about fitness, totally unasked. In that case I just stop listening and wait for them to stop talking. if they don’t stop, I try to hint by looking at my watch/cellphone, or in extreme cases start talking to someone else about something else abruptly.

  • it’s not me it’s you

    Turn the conversation away from you and back on the food pusher. Say “oh, YOU should eat it- you look too thin/ it’s your favorite/ you aren’t eating enough/ you’ve barely had any/ sit down and enjoy yourself/ you’ve been working to hard/ are you feeling ok/ blah blah blah….” Whatever gets them taking about themselves instead of me and my diet!

  • Elldee

    A few workers a coworker, who I thought was a good friend, was eating a piece of cake. She offered a bite to me, and I refused. She literally chased me, trying to shove a forkful of cake into my mouth! I could not understand why she would not/could not accept my “no” and why it was so important to her that I taste the cake! After much thought, I believe she was jealous of my resolve to stick to healthy eating, plus the results I was getting by losing weight.

    • TargetReached

      I too had a co-worker who I thought was a good friend. She was eating a box of doughnuts and she kept trying to get me to eat one even though we were both supposed to be on a diet – for health reasons
      I kept saying No thanks – and I stuck to it – (unlike previous times when she had pushed junk food on me despite my protestations/refusal and I had given in for fear of offending her feelings). This time I did not give in and stuck to my guns. When she realised that she was not going to succeed in making me eat the doughnut, she lost her temper and started yelling at me right there in the office in front of the other colleagues.
      It was a real eye opener for me.
      Suffice it to say, that shortly after that incident, I terminated my friendship with this so-called friend and it is one of the best things I have ever done. I have now lost all the weight I needed to lose and I am now at my target weight.

  • @1117stella

    Wow! Receiving that alert on how to handle people that want us to eat was an answer to prayer.
    I forwarded it to all the “offenders””.” Can’t wait to go home. Food and friends sensory overload!
    What a challenge!

  • Bam

    Sooooooo ANNOYING when people do that especially the repeat offenders in the family i.e women of the same age group!!!! Makes me soooo mad!
    I would like to say to them,’thanks but no thanks! I am old enough to feed myself,if i want i’ll take!! I am not one of your kids!’

  • Calvin J. Cheok

    OMG! this is a nightmare coming to christmas esp! especially when it
    comes to parents and family! Soooo difficult. thankfully this year
    there’s more people that aer trying to lose weight as well. PHEW!

  • Midget01

    Val thank you for you phrase. I may use it but in my mind I just think people aught to trust others when they say they can’t eat it and not make such a big to do about food. Yet it just seems so weird how many people use food as a fix for everything. The phrase there is always room for Jello isn’t true either. There are some people who are so sensitive to sugar or aspartame and there are some people dumb enough to think if they made Jello every who is at the party aught to have just a little. I don’t think anyone truly listens or cares about what hurts other people. People who have allergies, diabetes, or a reaction from something truly get it but on the average most people are more into helping people eat no matter whether it is good for them or not. They act like being nice to someone means giving up your right to say no because it might hurt them because they are doing something nice for you. I was warned about this at my support group but I thought my friends would be different and guess what they are not. The first few months they stood back and watched and now they want to know when I will return to normal? I said this has become my new normal. Nothing else has changed so why is food such a big deal. I can go to the show without eating popcorn or out to eat at a restaurant and just be more selective on what I eat. If they don’t have anything I can have; I can order a drink and eat later. While they say that is ok they still want to know when I can be like them and the truth is I don’t need to go back and I am ok with that. I am not even criticizing their eating other than I just don’t eat certain things anymore and it is amazing how that affects them.

  • scott

    I have no idea why it bugged me so much – but the fact that this article said specifically in #3 ‘say you’ll have a BOTTLED water’. Not just a water, was ridiculous to me. And I take it back – I totally know why, and it’s a personal peeve of mine, but it’s also a fact that we live in North America (I assume most on here do), and that means some of the cleanest water in the world. I know Americans are on this random ‘bottled water is popular or healthy’ or whatever the hell that is, but technically speaking I don’t believe there are any cities or towns in all of North America that have water that is under healthy drinking standards. You keep plugging our landfills with useless empty bottles and you won’t need to worry about staying healthy or eating more dinner at the holidays…you’ll be busy trying to find somewhere that hasn’t flooded or turned to drought! ha ha ha. Okay – rant over.
    In other news – Good article! Appreciate it very much, since I am entirely one of those people that rarely are able to stop at just one.

    • Michelle Pick

      I thought the EXACT same thing! With all the research and awareness over the past couple of years, I can’t believe anyone would consume- much less suggest it in a health and fitness article- store bottled water.

      • scott

        Amen sister – glad to know I’m not the only one! Out of curiosity, are you in USA or Canada? And do you find people are addicted to the bottled water in your area, or is that a trend in only certain places.

  • Kats

    I really struggle with FP’s as well. The peer pressure amongst my work peers and family is pretty big to drink casually, i try to rememeber that ultimately, people just want to be around people who are carefree and fun. And sometimes a salad orderer can be a bit of buzz-kill. I am conscious of being this salad orderer 🙂 I find a good strategy is to have a bit of the food/alcohol (tends to keep people happy/at ease) but above that, have a good time! After all, that’s what friends really want from you. They just think that to be happy i need to order the burger and drink the wine – not so. I can have just as good a night on a healthy meal and one or two drinks. Real sabotagers (like your mother in law) i would spend less time with until they’re ready to support you and your goals. But it’s tough, i know. Unless all your peers have the same goals and outlook on health, it’s going to be a battle.

  • kj

    “I’m trying to practice a little willpower.” Or, “No thanks, I’m trying to be a better me.” is horrible and really shouldn’t be said at all because its a value judgement in that if i say no im a better person so in contrast when you say yes it means your a lesser person than me. You might think the value judgement is one sided but it will cut both ways and the other party will feel judged by you when they eat what you think and in defence of that they will call you a b@#ch in their minds. You dont want to hurt anyone.

  • Rockarasta

    This all has to do with how much discipline you have. I stopped eating unhealthy cold turkey. Cheat days are for the weak. Just do it! Change is not hard for everybody.

  • Paula

    “No, thank you. No, thank you. No, thank you,” every time some has a birthday in the office. It’s exhausting, but I honestly am not into cake. I finally have a reason to turn it down, and I’m using it.

  • Dat Le

    I just say no, assertively and persistently. They will stop asking after you say “No” for the 12th time. If you waver and look weak, they will keep attacking. Don’t show weakness.

  • Eva

    After 20 years of not feeling comfortable rejecting something a friend or relative had worked hard making, I was at a gathering and an acquaintance simply said, “Oooh! That looks really good! But not right now, thanks, maybe in a little while, I’ll see.” And changed the subject. It was miraculous! It’s just a bit of an edge in your favor. Sometimes all you need.

    • marini03

      I just read all the comments, and that is probably one of the best ones. Especially if it’s someone who doesn’t have the best memory. lol Or if it’s someone you know hasn’t been paying enough attention, you could always lie and just say you already had some.

  • Rose

    Good suggestions, but I believe the very best come-back lines are the ones that are health-related, i.e., my doctor told me I must watch my sugar intake… diabetes runs in our family. That usually shuts up those pushers.

  • Joe Perrone Jr.

    I would really like to re-blog this on my blog. Would that be okay? You can respond to my email: joetheauthor@joeperronejr.com. The reason I want to re-blog it is because I recently had a stroke, which required a complete change of diet, and I face this situation several times a week. Hope the answer is yes!

  • shrubthewarcriminal

    I hardly think that having a small portion of anything or everything at a PARTY or SOCIAL event is going to destroy your “diet.” To give up some of life’s pleasures for a “diet” is insane. In addition you are living a lie. On the other hand if you truly do not want to eat something, just saying “no thank you” does still work.

    This article creates a problem that really exist only in the minds of the food and lifestyle self righteous.

  • Sarah Baughman

    I think the first three tactics here make sense, but most of the suggested responses in the fourth tactic come across as judging others. Saying “I’m trying practice willpower” directly implies that the other person or other people are not practicing willpower. Ditto with “I’m trying to be a better me.” The only one that seems appropriate is “I might not stop at just one”. That, or adjusted with a compliment, “your pecan rolls are way too good to have just one!” is way less awkward, and way less cheesy.

    If people continue to be pushy, maybe it could be a good time to excuse yourself to get more water or go to the restroom. Of course, you can’t do that every time someone tries to push food on you, but it can be used some of the time.

  • Deb

    Please please please do not encourage people to use bottled water. The bottles contain harmful chemicals and are made using petroleum products. The water is very heavy and is trucked around the world using petroleum products. Bottled water is so bad for the environment that I avoid it at all costs. We should all have reusable bottles on hand at all times. What’s the point in being healthy if we’re killing the earth?

  • Deb

    “My trainer would kill me!”

  • Bianca lynn

    I’m pretty far along in my journey that I am able to say, “Okay I’ll have a bit,” or half of what I used to eat 7 months ago.” And sometimes the answer is simply,” No thanks, I already ate.” I’m currently down 55lbs and have lost 48″ off my body. I try to keep my diet on point for at least 90% of the time. This weekend we have a family Thanksgiving dinner with my husbands extended family and I’m trying to keep my diet on point so that I can indulge a little (note: not overindulge) in what I like to eat on the holidays. One bad meal is not going to make you fat just like one good meal isn’t going to make you skinny.

  • hamiltonfortuna

    I love the change idea. If we can make ask themselve why do they need a drink or a certain food, it shows two things: a. How much of a good convincers we are and we should give ourselves a pat in the back for it, and; b. Our friends and acquiatances should work harder in their personality.

  • Shelly

    I am really feeling for Amber. It is not just mother in laws though. My own mother does this very constant and similar actions to my sister and I. It stems from her own mental health issues, and is very difficult to deal with. She is constantly lying about how she prepares food, and wants me to lie to others about what is in something so that they just eat it unknowingly. I told her recently, that this is not right and that I will tell people what is in things so they can choose whether or not to eat it. I often take food from her and just throw it away. She has called every female in our family “fat”, eventhough she is overweight and does not take care of herself. I do not always have the strength to stand up to her, I try but it does not change her behavior. She continues to be who she is whether we say things to her or not. It has caused issues between my sister and I as well, which saddens me. She is very negative and puts most people in her life down, she does not have any good friends either. She is doing it to herself. I am trying my best to deal with her, but it is ultimately my behavior for me that really counts. Thanks for everyone’s sharing about their similar situations as it is always a nice reminder that I am not the only one struggling with this. I wish you all well!

  • Eliot

    I wouldn’t use the “I’m trying to be a better me” because it implies they are not. It has a tinge of superiority to it. The other suggestions are good, though. For people who just won’t quit, I find the following shuts them up, albeit somewhat uncomfortably (but sometimes, that’s the only way): “Why do you want to sabotage me?”

  • Debby

    What I say is that recently (insert food here) has started making me feel ill. I’ll say it hurts my stomach or gives me a headache or makes me nose stuffy. Then if they keep saying that I should eat it, I’ll turn around and say “you don’t want me to feel sick, do you?”.

  • Anna

    Thank you so much for sharing these helpful scenarios. i absolutely love the one about the 1st one, the “So I started thinking of them like bears”. I will not forget that.

  • Barbie

    I try to say as little as possible and don’t try to explain why I don’t want to eat something. I say that it’s not on my food plan for the day or that I don’t eat at this time of day.

  • Since I have chronic health issues, here is how I handle it. As for alcohol, “I can’t drink booze because the meds I take to control my diabetes affect my liver in such a way that any alcohol consumption puts me at much higher risk for liver disease.” This is actually true. if they insist, I start going into the complex biochemistry, and they usually lose interest and walk away. As for food, i play on their misconceptions about T1 diabetes. “Oh, if I eat that many carbs, I would either fall out right here or go berserk like the Sally Field character in Steel Magnolias.” Never mind that this would not actually happen if I ate one piece of cake. But they don’t question it, and it also forces me to avoid those foods to keep the story going.

  • kathy

    I got so tired of it, I try to use humor and sometimes rudeness, depending on the person. Claiming that the food causes uncontrollable gas is one of my favorites. I also claim to be allergic. Also eat beforehand, so that I’m not fighting both pushing people and hunger.

  • Pink

    My friend was doing this to me.. How she would feel better if ate more than her.. Few days back I realized I had to respond in a way she’ll understand how important this change was to me. I told her openly, according to my BMI I’m obese now. Not overweight. OBESE! The fear in my face brought her back to reality. It was not fun anymore, it was not to a competition or a game. It was like me getting sick, absolutely nothing to do with her and she had to accept that. I felt relieved too now that I said it out aloud, makes it more real to deal with.

  • Beth

    Or, “I’m trying to practice a little willpower.” Or, “No thanks, I’m trying to be a better me.”
    I can see people thinking that these are judgmental states against the person providing the food. If that person is eating the food, you are essentially telling them that someone who eats it isn’t a better version of themselves, or that they don’t have willpower. Is the person saying these things ACTUALLY implying that? No, but that’s how it’s often interpreted (I say this from experience). A better idea is “No thanks, I don’t have room.”

  • Trisha Renee Cyrus Moore-Brown

    Parties are everywhere especially this time of year. I work at a university and it seems we are having holiday parties all the time. Today is no different, someone is leaving and there is a party. Everyone is asked to make something and I’ve been asked to make one of my favorites. What I have done in these type of situations is tell them very bluntly – I can’t have that, it’s not on my program. I say it matter of factly and that usually shuts them down. It could also be my tone of I don’t want to discuss it either.
    I have always had family members who don’t mean any harm but will always offer you some sweet treat and may even say – take some home for your husband or family members. But If I know that is my weakness then I will tell them, no they don’t need it either or I take only one piece for them and make sure I give it to them when I walk through the door. Sweets are my husband’s favorite.

    There will always be pushy people no matter where you go but I think body language and tone can shut people down quickly. I get being polite but sometimes you have to think about you. We all have moments of weakness, I am guilty of that – but when I say no that’s not on my program or I can’t have that – I’m not looking to explain why or what kind of program won’t let me have buffalo chicken wing dip or chocolate cake. I have walked out of a room where there isn’t any food.
    If someone asks me do I want a glass of wine, a beer, soda and I don’t want it – I sometimes say, I just had a huge glass of water before I came and my stomach is so full – maybe later. Sometimes people forget. If I really want to keep them from continuing to ask me, I get a cup of water and just sip on it. When they see I’ve got something, they usually stop asking. Most people just want to make sure everyone is having a great time. So sometimes, you have to be smarter than the average bear!

  • Marvin schild

    Just say you’re not hungry. It really works…

  • Jennifer

    I told my freind that offering food to a fat person is like offering a beer to an alcoholic…. You just dont do it lol

  • peppery422

    Oh, FFS, people – “No.” is a complete sentence. “No, thank you” also works and may be considered more polite.

    • Rick

      A lot of these people don’t accept no unless it’s an all out argument.

      • peppery422

        Whether or not someone “accepts” no as an answer is their problem, not mine (or yours). If someone argues with you about it, then how about “It’s unfortunate that you have so little respect for my autonomy that you can’t accept my decision. I had thought your offer was kind, and I now I believe it was simply manipulative.”

  • SpazMataz

    i feel horrible reading this.
    ive been trying to lose weight, but im living with mom. in fact, ive gained 10 pounds since moving in with her.
    and shes constantly pushing food on me.
    there are constantly potato chips and pop around the house.
    and she badgers me to accept food i dont want. shell even fix my plate for breakfast and supper.
    and if i say no, then comes the guilt trip. you cant win.

    sometimes, she’ll buy me fast food chicken burgers with fries and soda pop.
    when i lived on my own, i had soda pop perhaps once per year, and french fries almost the same. those things were just no-nos. im pressured to eat it all around me.
    and ill feel obligated to eat it, because she spent money on it, and i dont want it to go to waste. but i didnt request it. i didnt phone her begging for fastfood. in fact, i might have even just ate recently.
    its getting to me.
    her choices in food are sometimes really really bad — lots of breads, carbs, pastas. tons of pies baked with lard. i cant change her. shes 70 yrs old.

    then there is my sister who is obese. she is no help. when we go out for a movie, shes the one wholl insist on putting chocolate bars om top of the popcorn, with a large pop, with the butter and salt. i just dont have anyone in my life right now that knows how to eat properly and its having an effect on me.

  • Jimmy NoChit

    . I tell them, ‘I read somewhere that one heart attack is often one too many’.

  • Lynn McC

    Tell them that no means “no” not “ask again.”

  • Chellyb

    I think you should also have a few allies at events where you feel you’ll be offered those foods. They can gently back you up if someone asks more than once.

  • laura

    hi! what I do when none of this works and my family (normally mother in law)keeps buying junkfood or pushing to eat. I tell her I feel really sick (sometimes it’s true) and if I eat somenthing unhealthy it’s going to be worse (and ofcourse never ever she would like that) 😀

  • Ashley Morgan

    I work in an office where I cannot get people to stop pushing food at me!! It’s horrible, they are literally obsessed with food. One girl sits there eating all day long. And I don’t mean an occasional snack here and there..I mean, she goes from breakfast, to candy, to a loud crunchy snack, to lunch, to more candy, then to sunflower seeds. While I’m generally concerned for her, I don’t say anything because it isn’t any of my business.

    However she and another woman are always trying to force me to either share their food, or purchase food when they get take-out. It’s like they read some sort of manual and have a forceful come back for every one of my “no” responses. I learned long ago that simply saying “no thanks” doesn’t work. They hound me for an hour after such a simple answer. If I’m away from my desk, they leave food on the desk and sometimes even stand there staring at me until I eat it! My go-to excuse now is to just push it aside and say I’m really full and will eat it later. If it’s something I would rather not eat, I eventually have to weasel it into the trash can, or into my purse to dispose of later.

    I am perfectly happy either bring my own food, or purchasing my own. What’s more, I absolutely can’t stand having to owe people things, but they get all butt-hurt when I refuse to let them buy food for me. I simply don’t have time and resources to pay them back, and hate feeling guilty all the time. It’s fine for people to be obsessed with their own eating habits, but I have no idea why they try to control mine!

    • Veronica

      This type of attitude sounds really familiar to me, except mine is about people (mostly women) trying to convince me to have children, even though that’s not their choice to make. My theory is simply this: “misery loves company.” I think some people are unhappy with the choices they’ve made for themselves, and instead of trying to address the problem, they try to get other people to make the same choices, so they can then validate their own.

      Nota bene: I am NOT saying that having children “is miserable.” I’m sure that, for people who make the choice knowingly and consciously, having children is a wonderful experience. However, I have observed many people who decided to have children without thinking about it first, then found out they weren’t ready, and they don’t know what to do. These people also seem to be the most desperate to get others to have children too. My instinct is that, instead of addressing their issue and finding a solution for it, they just want to bring more people onto their “what-have-I-done?” boat. I find strong similarities between this behaviour and the behaviour of people trying to push food on others.

      I think that may well be the case with your coworkers, Ashley: they don’t like their own food choices (or other life choices), and instead of addressing that, they try to sabotage your choices (subconscious as that may be).

      You shouldn’t have to feel guilty on a regular basis, and you certainly don’t need to be putting food in your body that you don’t want or need; our bodies are wise: they know what to ask for and when to ask for it. I’d like to recommend the following: next time they come for you, just smile and say “no, thank you; I already have what I need.” When they insist (they will), don’t say anything else, and don’t acknowledge them at all. It will seem rude, but eventually they’ll get the point and leave you alone.

      It may make you uncomfortable in the beginning to do something that seems / feels rude, but if it’s between that and your health and peace of mind, I encourage you to choose your health every time. You deserve a pleasant work environment; feeling guilty and/or harangued all the time is the antithesis of that.