4 Ways to Handle Food Pushers

Food: Nutrition

By: // June 3, 2013


You probably know a food pusher—someone who tries to get you to join them for junk food, fast food or desserts. It’s the person who tries to derail you from your healthy eating or the person who pushes you to have seconds or try their dish as a summer cookout. It could be your friend, your sister, your spouse. It could even be YOU. So what do you do about food pushers, those people who seem to sabotage? And what do you do if you can’t get away from that person because it’s YOU?

1. Don’t keep it in the house.

If it’s not in the house, you won’t eat it. While it may sound simple in theory, it’s harder to carry out. Your kids beg you to buy junk food at the store or your husband wants you to keep something sweet in the house. It’s hard not to cave in to the wishes of your family, but if you don’t keep junk food in the house, you will be creating a fail-safe environment that is supportive of your healthy eating goals. One way to really keep this going is to have your once-in-a-while treats outside of your home. You can indulge in cones at the ice cream store or chips at a baseball game, just don’t be pushed into having it at home where those tempting foods (and food pushers!) tempt you daily.

Here’s what some of you had to say …

“My children are my food pushers, they love cookies! They only get them as treats.”

“My husband, who is a chocolate and ice cream junkie, is my food pusher. I tell him not to stock ice cream in the house. If he wants some ice cream, he needs to drive out and get enough for himself and maybe the kids. As for the chocolate, I told him to hide his own stash somewhere he can get to. The exciting news is he has decided to eat healthier and lose weight, so we have neither in the house now. YAY!”

“My husband isn’t very helpful in keeping me on track. In fact he always says he needs to stop eating junk but then digs right in the day after he talks about losing weight.”

“When junk food is in the house, I eat it. If it’s not, then I usually don’t.”

Related: 55 Healthy and Easy Snacks

2. Make it a treat.

If you can’t go that far to keep tempting foods out of the house altogether, limit the amount of indulgence foods you buy and lead by example. Tell your family the sweet treat is just that—a once in a while treat. As a family, maybe you decide what not-so-healthy item you are going to keep in the house, and limit it to that one item for the week. You can eat healthy most of the time, but still be realistic by having a go-to treat you can enjoy without someone pushing you to overindulge and fill up the house with foods you have to avoid.

Here’s what some of you had to say …

“I do the majority of our shopping and only bring healthy foods into our house. My husband is free to eat everything he wants, as long as it’s not in our house when I get home or he eats his junk during the 10 hours of his travel to/from and work day.”

“I ignore food pushers! It’s the only thing that’s worked.”

“Avoid them! If you aren’t with me then you are without me.”

“I just say no (as nice as possible). If they get upset, it’s not my problem.”

3. Swap it out.

Sometimes people are surprised to hear that I too, have a sweet tooth, but I do! I satisfy my sweet tooth with healthier versions of sweet treats. Have solutions for those foods that tempt you. This is especially helpful if you are your own food pusher! Swapping to healthier versions of foods is a great way to think in terms of what you can have, instead of a deprivation mindset of what you cannot have. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Instead of cheesecake, try this!
  • Instead of traditional cupcakes, try this!
  • Trying to think of something healthy to make for July 4th? Try this recipe!
  • If you are craving something salty, try this instead …

Whether you crave sweets or salty snacks, check out more ideas for healthy food swaps on my website or in my cookbook, Choose This!

Here’s what some of you had to say …

“I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to eating. I just take one day at a time and hope that I can talk myself out of making bad food choices.”

“At work they bring junk all the time.”

“Yes me! I am a food pusher, but I try to only be in moderation.”

“I have a few food pushers at work. I tell them I don’t eat any junk food. I take my lunch to work. Sometimes I avoid the break room.”

4. Be a broken record.

Some people, even when you tell them directly that you are trying to eat healthy, just don’t get it the first time you tell them. It’s almost like they don’t hear you, right? Don’t necessarily assume that people want to sabotage you; they may want to make you happy by feeding you something they prepared. Or they may want you to join them in eating something not-so-healthy because it makes them feel better about the choices they are making, because they have company. Don’t try and fix the food pusher, just become a broken record of “No, thank you” or “I am trying to make healthier choices, so I will have to pass.” If that doesn’t work, launch into all the bigger reasons you are trying to eat healthy like: “I want to be around for my family as long as possible.” That usually can wrap up the conversation with a food pusher pretty quickly!

Here’s what some of you had to say …

“People are CONSTANTLY pushing all kinds of foods at me. Burgers, fish, chips, candy, cookies, ugh! But I find the best way to handle it is to learn to word “No.” and repeat it as much as you need to.”

“My husband is a food pusher. I just say ‘No’ and go for a walk.”

“I remind them as tactfully as I can that I am trying to live a healthy lifestyle.”

“I start talking about healthy food, get on a ‘roll’ talking about it, and I lose them. They are the ones who walk away.”

“I get away from them very quickly.”

“Not anymore! I had to lay down the law!”

“Either support me or get away from me, that simple!

“My mother is a food pusher. I love her dearly, but she’s a diet saboteur. Now after I’ve had great results she understands, leaves me alone and even asks me for tips now.”

No matter who is the food pusher in your life—even if it’s YOU—follow these four steps and work for progress over perfection. And remember, the more decisions you make that support your goals and who you want to be, the better you will feel about yourself. And when you feel better about yourself, it becomes easier to make healthy daily decisions for YOU!

READ THIS NEXT: Do You Have Portion Distortion?


Printed from GetHealthyU.com

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