When Others Pressure You to Eat

Being on a diet can sometimes make socializing with friends or family a high pressure event. Although friends and family usually mean well, their constant invitations to eat can lead dieters to do things they regret later on. A good way to start dealing with pressure from other people is to remember that there’s nothing wrong with sticking to a healthy weight-loss diet, regardless of the social setting. People on special diets have a right to ask others to respect their wishes.

If pressured to eat, a person can always refuse food tactfully by using statements such as:

  •  “Everything was very delicious, but I just couldn’t eat another bite.”
  •  “I would love to eat more, but I really have to stop now.”
  •  “I want to eat slowly so that I can savor every mouthful.”

The trick in refusing food is to be very clear that the taste and quality of the food are not in question. Turning food down doesn’t have to be interpreted as a personal rejection. The reverse is also true: eating a person’s food isn’t the best way, or even a good way, to communicate affection.

One good way to avoid pressure is to make special dietary needs known to friends, family and other hosts ahead of time. If people are forewarned about an individual’s dietary needs, they’ll be less likely to pressure that person during social occasions.

If you’re trying to lose weight, and have difficulty at social gatherings, or if you feel too shy to communicate your needs, talk to your healthcare provider for advice and specific tips on interacting with people and following a strict weight-loss program.

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