Food Pushers: Saying No & Setting Healthy Boundaries to Support Your Goals

Learning to say no to Food Pushers.

For the majority of my life, I can honestly say that I was a huge people pleaser. I hated saying “no” to people. I’ve always loved making people happy and would do so even if it meant sacrificing what was appropriate for me at the time. This affected so many aspects of my life but specifically had a huge impact on my health and weight loss journey.

Let me give you an example of how.

Have you ever been out with friends, at a family gathering or any type of gathering with food and drinks and there’s a person who is constantly trying to get you to eat something, have seconds, say ‘Oh one drink isn’t meant to hurt you’ and they won’t stop until you agree? I feel like most people have encountered this at some point in their lives. I call these people “food pushers” and while their intentions are generally good, it can be extremely challenging telling them no. When this happened in the past, after saying no multiple times I would eventually cave in and take whatever they were offering. I would drink or eat foods I didn’t want to eat, just to make someone else seem good. In my mind, to ensure they didn’t feel guilty.

Pretty early on in my journey, I realized that this was a behaviour I needed to correct as it impeded me from reaching my goals. Knowing that we can’t control the actions of others, only ourselves, one way to set yourself up for success when this happens is to set healthy boundaries. We can also communicate them clearly to those around us. For me, this required me to

Explain to people why I didn’t want what they offered.

Most times when I explain it, they are respectful, understand and do not ask again. Sometimes it was more difficult but if you’re consistent with your message it becomes much easier to say no when it’s not in your personal interest. Know that if someone truly loves and cares about you, they will respect your decision and not push your boundaries.

Sometimes saying “No, thank you!” a time or two without further explanation is sufficient but you could expand if needed. This could sound like: “I truly appreciate your offering, but I’m passing” or “No thank you, this doesn’t support what is most appropriate for my body right now.”

Communicating openly and honestly about your boundaries regarding food choices is the most effective method to stop unwanted pressure from people. Remember, it’s OK to say no, without feeling ashamed of making the appropriate decision for you.