Providing nourishment was one of the very first ways that our mother’s soothed us as infants, both feeding us and soothing us emotionally by holding us close. When your grandmother or aunt offers you another helping, insists you try the dessert, or even tells you look too thin, it may simply be a desire to express love to and nurture you. This desire can be more intense during the holidays as sentimentality heightens emotions.
When people are pushing food to express their love, a hard rejection can be experienced as personal rejection. You may be able to distract them with loving attention. The most direct response may be to thank them sincerely for the offer or compliment and tell them that you have had enough to eat or that you are avoiding certain foods for health reasons. It can sometimes help to also offer an expression of appreciation to reinforce the positive relationship.