The Skinny – Amy Brunell

Say No To Food Pushers (1)A food pusher is one who doesn’t take no for an answer. When you’re eating more, it makes them feel satisfied. It is like getting a deep itch scratched when you accept more food from a food pusher. Food pushers are different from saboteurs although they could be the same person.

Food pushers often have too much food and insist that you should eat more.

Saboteurs use food to trigger you into eating foods that are difficult to resist.

Do you know that some of you reading this are actually food pushers? Do you know that some of you have sabotaged others?

Some of you have sabotaged yourself. You are your own saboteur.

Most of us are in relationship with these people and have developed long standing habits in our relationships that a certain expectation exists in how you are perceived. “Oh Kathy, you want more. You ALWAYS enjoy when I make my ‘thing.’” Or “Oh Bob, I’m sure you have room for a little more ‘thing.’” Probably for quite some time you have aquiesed in pleasing your mother, the neighbor across the street, or the person who bakes and brings it to the office. They have come to know you as the person who takes the leftovers or the person who’ll finish the “thing.”

When you say “No thank you” to a food pusher/saboteur you have to be prepared for kick-back. They are good at their job. They’ve probably spent years refining their techniques. They often don’t even hear the “no thank you” and that response certainly doesn’t fit into their agenda.

What is their agenda? To feel good about themselves.

“You mean my mother is nagging me to eat more to feel good about herself, even though the very next moment she’s complaining about my weight?” Yes.

Most of the time, food pushers/saboteurs aren’t totally aware of their actions. Often when it is pointed out to them and the detriment of the push, they will still execute the push. They are really more comfortable in that “itch scratched” sort of way. Their own messages about being good people, is often wrapped up in the amount of food others eat around them. Sometimes these people actually don’t eat themselves and do not have weight issues.

In the situation, we don’t stop and think, “Do I want this? Am I hungry? Will this be bad for me in the long run?” We just feel obligated to eat.

Saboteurs will make sure that your favorite challenging foods are part of the relationship. These could be your friends who insist on ordering the “thing” at the bar with drinks. It could be your cousin making your “favorite thing” when you come over to dinner. It could be the HR director who always orders “things” for work. You’ve told these people you are trying to eat healthy and they still seem to manage to “forget” that for this meal or situation.

Saboteurs will say things like, “You’ve done so well. You can take a night off.” Or “What’s one meal? You’ll go back on your diet tomorrow.” Or “But I made this special.” Or “Is your plan really working? Have you tried the latest fast or diet instead.”

So the message is “eat now because I want you to make me feel better about my choices. You can suffer about it tomorrow and then go on some extreme recourse to correct your choice now.”

Crazy huh?

But let’s say you are deathly allergic to a certain food. Would you still feel the same if your friends and family knew that it could kill you and offered it to you anyway? Would you suddenly have a sense of self-preservation that would allow you to stay steady with your “no thank you.” Would you feel some sense of obligation to join others in their choices or finish the dish just to make your Uncle feel better?

Let me suggest that you are allergic. Oh sure the eating a wrong choice for you to eat won’t kill you immediately. But it does kill a piece of you each time you eat something you do not want or eat something that truly doesn’t nourish you in either body or soul. The guilt, the shame the “Should haves, would haves, could haves” create an imprinting in your being. They form an imprint in your brain, in your emotional centers, that cause you to question your ability to stand up for who you are and what is positive for you.

And what right does anyone have to put you through that?

Do you put others through that?

Are you the food saboteur? Do you realize that you are constantly scratching your own itch by sabotaging yourself with food?

How do we sabotage ourselves? We expose ourselves to challenging eating situations and think somehow we can “Willpower” ourselves through it and then we blame ourselves when we succumb.

If we are tired or hungry and walk into a difficult situation with food, our ability to use our higher reasoning drops and the primitive mind takes over. It’s very hard to willpower through tired or hungry when the body is simply screaming that it needs something.

Think about yourself feeling full or at least not hungry. You walk into a room with a trigger food. Do you think you might have a better chance in keeping yourself safe with that choice than if you walk into the same situation hungry?

Biology plays a large role in willpower. If you are weakened biologically, then what makes you think you can outsmart your body’s needs?

Some of you keep trigger foods in your environment “just in case.” Just in case what? Some random neighbor will stop by for something to eat? Why does the neighbor need something to eat that you find difficult to manage? Would they also appreciate the offer of something that doesn’t throw them off their health as well? Is your itch itchy? Do you need to scratch? Is it your need or theirs? What need are we satisfying?

Are you as good of a neighbor if you only offer tea or coffee? Have you gone down in your place in the good neighbor annals? Is there some rule book that you are trying to keep up with?

Your ultimate health has to be about analyzing each portion of these messages and simply observing your own or others itches. Are they really about satisfying some deep need that has nothing to do with eating really?

Your ability to say “No” to yourself and others has to be practiced. If I say, “No thank you” while looking directly at someone. Not moving, not waffling, my chances of being heard goes up. If they cannot hear the “no.” I simply stop talking, but I don’t stop my gaze. I simply shake my head and shrug no. They aren’t giving me the thing. They can’t force it upon me and I simply stand my ground.

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