Published on June 26, 2016
Pusher: “Here, try this.”Addict: “No, thanks.”Pusher: “Are you sure?”Addict: “Yes, thank you.”Pusher: “C’mon, you’re doing great on your diet; you can have one little piece.”Addict: “No, really; I’m sure. Thanks.”
Pusher: “Aren’t you going to have any dessert?”Addict: “No, dinner was enough; I’m full, thanks.”Pusher: “My cheesecake not good enough for you anymore?”Addict: “I know it’s delicious, but no thanks this time.”Pusher: “Well, you’ll have to take some home, OK?”Addict: “No, thanks for the offer, but I’ll pass.”
. . . or, “There’s only one doughnut left. Want it?”. . . or, “You’ve lost enough weight. You need to put on a few pounds.”. . . or, “I only serve this once a year. You can get back on track tomorrow.”
The word Addict in these scenarios might be a bit strong because, of course, not everyone who is trying hard to lose or control weight is a food Addict. However, anyone who doesn’t take No for an answer IS most certainly a Pusher.
In the above two scenarios, the Addict stayed the course and stood his/her ground. However, in my experience with new clients, that is often not the case early on in their weight loss program. Clients tell me how, as they’ve always done, they gave in to the will of the Pusher and were immediately angry at themselves, followed by disappointment, not only in themselves but in the actions of the Pusher. This is why I always ask clients, especially heading into a weekend, if they have any plans that include meals outside their own controlled kitchen environment and, in particular, as guests at someone else’s home. I want to be able to help them to plan in advance, and different situations of course require different planning. Today, I just want to focus on one situation:
The answer is simple: Call that person. If they don’t already know that you’re trying to lose weight or manage your weight loss (and most close friends and family members, the people you see and talk with all the time, do), be candid. Tell them you’re working very hard to make a diet/lifestyle change for your health and happiness, that you don’t want them to go out of their way to cook something entirely different for you but that you just want to plan ahead so you’d like to know what they’re planning to serve. In almost every case the host/hostess will be gracious, will appreciate your making the effort, will be glad you called them, and will want to accommodate you as a guest in their home in any way they can EVEN IF it means (for example):
Additionally, a gracious, supportive host will not mind if (again, for example) you bring:
Some people are hesitant to say No to their host because, as clients have told me, “I didn’t want to hurt their feelings” or “I didn’t want to be the only person not eating that.” Really? Screw that shit! Friends and family should care about you, and they’re certainly expected to support your efforts. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings. Be more concerned with the fact that they are a Pusher, and THEY are the ones doing the hurting.
The very fact that someone (the host, another guest, anyone) cannot or will not take No for an answer two or three times, the fact that they refuse to see (or don’t care) how uncomfortable you are becoming, means that the fourth time requires a very different response such as “What part of NO don’t you understand?” or “Was I not clear enough the first three times?”—and of course best done in private, if possible. But, if not, remember that whoever else might hear you will be the same people who heard you decline politely multiple times yet still be pressured to do something you clearly didn’t want to do. It is not you who should be ashamed or embarrassed; it is the Pusher who will be.
The longer period of time after a person has lost weight and is maintaining a changed lifestyle, or the longer a person has been clean and sober, the stronger they do become, and the easier to decline and/or walk away from a bad situation or temptation. However, as any addict will tell you, they work hard to fight it always. Damn . . . I still get an urge every now and then for a cigarette, and I stopped a two-pack-a-day habit in September, 1980!
If you were hosting a lunch or dinner at your home, and you knew someone in your circles had a certain food allergy, or had to eat gluten free, or was even a newly-recovering alcoholic, wouldn’t you accommodate them? Wouldn’t you perhaps initiate contact to tell the guest with the gluten allergy to feel free to bring their own bread or to ask what gluten-free bread they keep at home so you can buy some and have them go home with the rest? Wouldn’t you make sure that, in addition to the wine you might be serving, that you have on hand one bottle of alcohol-free sparkling cider for the person who can’t drink any alcohol? Wouldn’t you let your other guests know that there’ll be someone present with a bad peanut allergy so any desserts they might be inclined to bring must not at all costs contain any traces of peanuts? I choose to believe that all of us would make these efforts. I know I do.
If you are working hard to lose or maintain your weight loss, always put yourself at the top of the priority list. Never let anyone undermine your goals, and never give up what YOU want to achieve for what someone else wants you to do in the moment.