Ah. The food pusher.
A fiesta just wouldn’t be complete without at least one food pusher cornering some poor schmuck and practically forcing them to motorboat the triple chocolate mousse cake Miss Pushy labored over for hours.
Ok, ok I’m being a tad dramatic. However, if you’ve ever been the poor schmuck in that situation, at times it really can feel as though food pushers do everything they can in order to get you to eat. That includes helping you chew up the food while firmly gripping your chin and pumping your jaw up and down.
With that being said, it wasn’t all that long ago when I actually liked having a good old-fashioned food pusher around.
Yeah, kinda weird, right?
Let me explain. I went to many-a-party where I had no intention of holding myself accountable. So if a person urged me to partake in incredible food?! Pfff, yes please!
Talk about the easiest excuse as to why I just had to eat lots of sugar-loaded, calorie packed food. It was all the other person’s fault!
I told myself things like, “I don’t want to make her feel bad,” or “she made my favorite cookies specifically because I was coming.”
Back in my poor dancer days, I remember a handful of times where I thought, “Oh my gawd, I’ve seen this cheese (or some other divine edible) at Whole Foods and it is so flipping expensive! Get it while the gettin’s good. And FREE.”
These days, I am much more aware of my relationship with food. That’s not to say it’s easy taking responsibility for my eating by turning down a food pusher, especially when a) instant gratification is the result of giving in to one, and b) I hate possibly making somebody feel the slightest bit bad or rejected.
Then, when the holidays come around??? Ugh. Those feisty food pushers seem to show their sweet little foodie faces at every holiday get-together from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day; armed with one of their signature dishes I can almost guarantee is not low in fat, in calories, or low ranking on the Tastes-Like-Heavenly-Perfection-O-Meter.
Granted, this time of year is known for gathering with our loved ones, but as you probably know, the holidays can also bring on the stress. And if life feels a tad on the hectic side, it’s been my experience a small bump in the road sometimes feels like a ginormous mountain.
We have more than enough on our plates already, without the challenging task of mindful eating at the numerous holiday open houses, cookie exchanges, and parties we attend throughout the season.
Well, throw in a steady stream of food pushers on top of all those soiree’s and, bim bam boom, we have ourselves that bump in the road, turned the ginormous mountain I mentioned earlier.
Um. Wait a sec. That actually wasn’t my point. :-/
This! This is my point.
Handling food pushers can be a toughie when you’re trying to keep an eye on what you’re eating. The last thing you want to do is hurt any feelings by passing up their award winning pie.
Nevertheless, you’re relatively sure eating one more bite will cause the button on your jeans to pop off, fly across the room, and shoot somebody’s eye out.
Or maybe that kind of pie just so happens to be one of your trigger foods, and you’re worried it might lead to a binge if you end up eating it.
Or, or the pie actually looks, well, deeesgusting and there’s no way that that poop in a pie tin could possibly taste good enough to justify consuming hundreds of extra calories.
So. What do you do?
How to Handle Food Pushers: The Doggy Bag Breakdown
1. Before any pushing gets under way, make it a point to rave about how amazing the food looks.
2. Then announce you are completely stuffed.
Oh and if you’re dealing with quite the persistent pusher, maybe think about adding in something along the lines of being “stuffed to the point of feeling sick” and nip it in the bud right then and there.
Why is this worth mentioning? Food pushers tend to leave you alone once you bring up anything implying tummy troubles such as a case of the trots, hair-singeing gas, the hurl n’ heaves, among several other ailments.
They won’t even pull out their famous line, “C’mon, it’s just one bite…”
I don’t think there’s an adult out there who doesn’t understand what it feels like to have an upset stomach and how, often times, the thought of food makes one’s throat close. That’d be just plain cruel to continue pushing food onto somebody who feels a yak attack a-comin’.
3. Ask if you could possibly take a little doggie bag home with you!
4. And of course it couldn’t hurt to follow that up with another genuine compliment about how delicious Ms. Pushy Poo’s perfect pie must taste.
By sandwiching “the doggie bag ask” with some flattery, there are no hurt feelings or awkward moments. But you know what else? You’re well on your way to enjoying the holiday season without busting any buttons.
Why is the doggie bag method the best?
Alright, so you might be wondering the reason why I believe this particular plan of attack is the most effective way to get food pushers to back down!
Well it just so happens I have a few reasons!
Food pushers mean well
Yeah, I realize those pesky “diet saboteurs” are among us, but I truly believe most food pushers on the loose simply do it because they love the heck out of you.
If you think about it, oodles of people use food to show they care, love, and/or appreciate you.
Emuna Braverman, contributor for aish.com explains it beautifully.
The kitchen is often the warmest place in the home, the gathering spot, the center of family life, and even sometimes of entertaining…It’s the warmth of family and closeness. It’s the warmth of love, with food the vehicle.
It is not food in isolation that is an expression of love…It is food prepared by mothers (and fathers). It is food that is used to create a home, to create connection, to create celebration, to embrace family and friends.
It is one of our most basic ways of giving. When someone is sitting shiva, we bring food. It is to satisfy the mourner’s physical and psychological hunger- to fill their stomachs and their hearts. And it is to satisfy our desire to help, to give, to do something that says ‘I care.’
I feel this point is super important to keep in mind while working your magic on food pushers. Notice throughout this post I bring up a few times how I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. I say this because food pushers who tend to express their love through food may feel rejected as a person if the food they are offering has been rejected.
I know that probably sounds a little silly to some, but when comparing it to a more relatable scenario, it’s like someone rejecting a present you proudly made after putting a lot of time and energy into it.
What I’m getting at is treat food pushers kindly as you give them the brush off. I’m willing to bet it’s a lot more personal to them as it is to you.
Taking leftovers gives you the opportunity to eat what you were too full to enjoy the first time around
Hey just because you’re making an effort to keep your eating in check doesn’t mean you have to completely miss out on outstanding food. Not only that, but there are special dishes where the holidays serve as our only chance out of the entire year to enjoy the pooey out of them.
When you’re done, you’re done
Ok, say you saved your doggie bag goodies till the next day when you had a little extra room in your stomach. You ate, you savored, you conquered.
Do you know why you conquered?
Instead of missing out altogether, you were still able to have it later on without overdoing it. Thus, (hopefully) no feelings of guilt afterwards. Plus, even if you wanted seconds, there isn’t any more of it to tempt you with!
Now if you’ve found yourself in a situation where the doggie bag method doesn’t apply, here are a few other ways to stand your ground without coming off as a big ole meanie.
- How about in a little while? I am filled to the brim right now!
- I’ll come find you when my food has had a chance to settle!
- You know I can’t resist anything you make! I am extremely full though, so please don’t be offended if I only eat a small amount.
- Right now, my stomach can seriously only handle one bite.
- I’ll eat some only if you come with me to cross fit tomorrow. This particular teacher is absolutely brutal.
- I really only have enough room for a few bites, so just a teeny weeny serving for me! I don’t want any to go to waste!
- I love how you always take such good care of me (while hugging them;-). How about I just steal a couple bites of yours?
Do you have a special method or two for turning down the food pushers you come across? Sock ‘em to me in the comments below!
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