A food pusher is someone who pressures, i.e. pushes, you to eat something after you’ve already said no. Their reasons could be because they’ve slaved long and hard on a particular dish and want you to enjoy it; or it could be they are under the gun to be the perfect host, whose food is loved by all; maybe it’s a well-meaning relative who wants you to enjoy great-grandma’s famous recipe for pumpkin pie or a co-worker or friend who needs a partner in dietary crime to share a double-fried appetizer plate or molten lava chocolate cake for dessert. Now, even more, with the holiday season approaching, how can you avoid being labeled as a party pooper while staying true to your low carb lifestyle?
While food is a source of connection, tradition and comfort, you can still enjoy meaningful connections with your dining partners while making healthy choices that make you feel good, on your own terms. Here’s how:
- State your reasons: You can emphasize that living a low carb lifestyle makes you feel great, you have more energy and you are loving the variety of food you can choose from while still accomplishing your goals.
- Have a bite: At sit-down meals, there’s no rule against simply not serving yourself a food you want to stay away from. If your host insists, take a small portion, have a tiny taste and leave it at that.
- Fill up before: One of the great things about Atkins is that your low carb lifestyle keeps your blood sugar on an even keel. That means that you aren’t craving sweets or ravenous at meals, especially if you eat a low carb mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack in addition to your other three meals. Even better, studies show cutting back on carbs may actually reduce your cravings for sweet foods, which should make it even easier to say nay to the food pushers in your life.
- Review the menu in advance: If you’re going out to eat, take a peek online at the menu before you go and decide what you plan on ordering. This will strengthen your resolve against any food pushers in your party.
- Be polite and confident when you say “no thank you”: Keep it short and sweet, if you prefer. No need to embark on a lengthy explanation.
- Be proud of your choice: Now more than ever, there is a positive focus on healthier ways to eat, whether you’re low carb, keto, paleo or sensitive to gluten. Most people will agree that an emphasis on whole foods and fresh ingredients is generally a better way to eat, and hopefully they will support you on that.
- Share the low carb love: If you’re asked to bring a dish to a potluck, pick your favorite low carb recipe and offer to share the recipe once your fellow diners are oohing and aahing over how great it tastes. If you’re ordering from a menu, explain why you have chosen to “eat this, not that”, for example, high-fiber veggies dipped in guacamole, which is rich in healthy and satiating fats, is just as delicious and even more filling than the basket of salty chips and salsa.
While having honest conversations with food pushers is not always easy, it is quite possible when you keep the focus positive. Who knows, maybe you can give them all a push toward embracing a low carb lifestyle.