Coping with Pressures to Break Your Diet
Don't let other people's agendas affect your resolve
Strategies for resisting the pressure to eat
Coping with other people’s pressure on you to eat can be a challenge. Friends, relatives, and acquaintances may encourage you to eat. Some mean well. Others might not. All of this can make it hard to lose weight. Let’s look at some reasons why people may try to push you to eat:
- They may not know that offering you food is a problem. Some people may not know about your struggle to lose weight. You may need to gently tell them what it’s like. Once they know, they may want to help
- They may feel bad if they eat in front of you. Some people feel it’s wrong to eat when others are not eating. They don’t want to be rude. They offer you food to be polite. Tell them you feel fine not eating, and they should go ahead and eat if they wish
- They may think you’re starving. People who think like this wonder how they would feel in your shoes, and feel bad for you. Many people associate food with love; offering food is their way to show they care. Assure them that you’re fine and tell them they can help by not offering you food
- They want to test your determination. These people may tease you to see how serious you are about your program. This may seem cruel, but it happens. Show them just how serious and determined you are
- They may be jealous of your success. Other people may be jealous of your success. Even thin people may be jealous that you are succeeding at something and proud of your achievements. This is their problem; don't make it yours
- They may not want you to succeed. This is rare, but it can spell trouble. You can spot it in acts of sabotage: the person may get a craving for your favorite food and say things like, “You’ve failed before and you’ll fail again.” Ignore these comments. Confronting a person like this rarely helps; it can make things worse. Again, this is their problem; don't let it bother you. If this person offers you food, refuse in a polite way. In time, this person will get the message and quit trying
When others pressure you to eat, stand up for yourself. Refuse, but don’t react harshly. Be polite even if you think they don’t mean well. Be firm. After a few polite refusals, most people will get the message and quit pestering you.
For instance, if Aunt Irma offers you her homemade fudge, you might say, “Gee, Aunt Irma, I love your fudge, but I'm not very hungry. I would enjoy a cup of tea.” If you are out with friends and they stop to get ice cream with you in the car, say, “I’ll pass, but go ahead! I know how much you love ice cream.”
Some people have trouble asserting themselves. If you’re one of them, try to think ahead of situations where others may pressure you to eat and plan how you’ll respond. Practice it. When the situation arises, you will be prepared to be polite but firm.
Strategies for resisting the pressure to drink
Alcohol, like many other beverages, is a source of extra calories. A regular beer has as many calories as a regular soda. Ounce for ounce, wine and liquor have many more calories.
You may face pressure to drink alcohol. This is like the pressure to eat, but it happens in a different way. The pressure may be indirect. For example, a friend who knows not to give you a soda might still pour you a glass of wine. On the other hand, when you see those around you drinking alcohol, you might feel like drinking, too. This can happen even if no one offers you a drink.
Most of the tactics we gave you for turning down food also work for drinks. If you don’t want to drink, be polite but firm. Plan how you will respond when someone offers you a drink. Remember that people might not be aware they should not encourage you to drink. When they see how firm you are and hear your polite refusals, they will learn in time.
If you choose to drink, log the drink in your food planner and tracker. Wines and spirits don’t have nutrition information on the label. You can usually look up these calories in your food planner and tracker.
Some strategies are specific to the pressure to drink. If you choose not to drink, you can offer to be a designated driver. People will expect you to stay sober; the calories you save can be a bonus!
Another strategy to try and reduce your number of drinks is to have water or diet soda after each alcoholic drink. If you decide not to drink, try to keep water or a diet beverage at hand. This way, you can be less tempted if you get thirsty.