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Just Say No to Food Pushers (Nicely)

The time between Christmas and New Year’s is always the hardest time to eat healthy. Why is that? Is it because there’s temptation all around? Sometimes, yes. Is it because we have less time to work out and cook healthy meals? For sure. But what’s the No. 1 reason we all seem to struggle this time of year? Guilt.

We feel bad telling our grandmother that we have to forgo her famous mashed potatoes with lots of salt, butter and cream. Or that we can’t eat our aunt’s prized pecan pie. Or we even feel bad for not baking the family’s sugar cookie recipe that we always make. Change is hard, and in a lot of families, people’s feelings get hurt when you don’t act as though you have in the past. It’s a cliché, but in many ways it’s true: Food is love.

So how do you say “no” this time of year without causing a lot of family and friend drama? Follow these tips!

1. Find an ally. Is there a good friend or family member who is supportive of your weight-loss efforts? Ask them to have your back when a food pusher starts getting pushy.

2. Have a plan. Before going to any event, decide what and how much of everything you want — leaving at least a few bites for a mystery food in case something really special that you have a craving for shows up. Then, when you get there, eat according to your plan and enjoy every bite.

3. Don’t linger by the food. Ever notice how food pushers seem to linger by the food? When at a party or gathering, grab your food and go sit down away from the buffet line.

4. Say “No.” Sometimes the truth hurts, but make the food less about the cook and more about you. Soften the blow by telling your loved one how much you appreciate their efforts, but that this year you need their support in a new way — getting healthy. If the person is still relentless, just stick to your guns and say “no!”

Do you have a food pusher in your life? How do you deal?

December 16th, 2010