“You don’t DIET around the holidays!!” I was told that three times this week. My answer is, “I don’t diet ever.”
In the meetings this week, we’re talking about food pushers. Oh man, did this topic hit home for me. First of all, I have to admit… I am a food pusher.
There I said it. I’m a food pusher. I do it in numerous ways. When someone comes to my home, I immediately offer them food or drink. I plan and plan what I’ll serve for a meal. I’ll want them to take a big portion and I’ll really want them to like it. I want them to leave thinking about how everything was good. I bake pecans for holiday gifts. Even that qualifies as food pushing – or maybe food nudging. I’m a lot like my mom in this way. I never want my guests to feel any negative thoughts regarding my offering (pushing?) my food. I push out of a place of love and nurturing and trying to channel my mom.
That’s not always the case, though, is it? People don’t always push food out of a positive place. Sometimes it’s because they’re out of control and don’t want anyone else (not necessarily you) in control with food. Sometimes it’s because they’re threatened by your success. I know people who when they’re dieting – everyone around them better be dieting. But when they don’t feel in control, they’re adding butter to your lettuce.
My friend used to say, “You hold the fork.” I remember taking that quote with me to a holiday party when someone offered me (for the 4th time) some of her pastries. I was about to finally give in, but then I thought of that quote. Physically and mentally we’re in control over what goes in our mouths. What others put on our plate and offer us shouldn’t dictate what we actually eat. We dictate what we eat. We’re in charge.
Come up with a few polite ways of handling some of your food pushers. If someone tells me that I can have just one… my answer is “But I want 10!” When my mom used to tell me she made the stuffed veal breast just for me, I said, “Thank you! You’re always doing that…let’s make YOUR favorite next time.” And if you switch gears to their interests and compliment or just repoint the conversation, you avoided the * push *. “Thanks, sweetie, those pastries are always the best. I’ll definitely be having one later. Are you still thinking about a garden this year? Last year you were the envy of the neighborhood!” I say polite because whether or not the food pushing is coming from a positive or negative place, being in control is a positive feeling and you can share that. Remember, we never know their battles.
My favorite is “C’mon….you deserve it!” Well, I deserve a lot of things – good health, happiness, a massage, a manicure…. But a cookie? We don’t DESERVE cookies. We deserve to make our own choices and if that cookie is one – then have a cookie. So when I hear, “You deserve it!” I simply respond with a smile and a wink, “You can’t afford what I deserve.”
Some people keep their diets and ways of eating privately. So please, this season and always, when you’re doing your annual baking or cooking for others, if they don’t take much or even turn it down, it’s not personal. It may be that your cooking or baking sucks….but more than likely it’s because they worked and practiced very hard to say that very difficult – but very complete sentence – “No, Thank You.” And smile.