Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Strategy: Silencing the Food Pusher!

Food pushers.

They're everywhere during the holiday season.

You know them, they're the folks who insist you take far more than you want. Who ladle gigantic portions of everything on your plate and bully and pressure you into taking more and more and more.

They're also easier than you might think to deal with.

Step 1: Make up a reason why you have to serve yourself. Easiest made up reasons? Either you've recently developed some new weird food intolerance or your doctor's recently reviewed your blood work with you and they're pissed and have very specific instructions for what you're allowed and not allowed.

Step 2: Purposely take significantly less food than you actually want, especially the stuff you think you'll enjoy and want the most, and yes, I realize this is going to upset your hosts.

Step 3: When you've finished your purposely small portions make a minor production with your host of how much you liked such and such and would it be alright if you went back for seconds?

At the end of the meal? You're happy because you've controlled your portions. Host's happy 'cause you loved their food enough to have seconds and has long since forgotten you didn't take all that much to begin with.

Done. Food pusher defused.

[And no, that's not an illustration of my mother-in-law. Mine's lovely (though she is most certainly a food pusher).]

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  1. love it! sometimes I'm very thankful for my food intolerances! :D

  2. Anonymous8:24 am

    Nice tips Thanks. Mine… She is quite the opposite meaning =>tyrannical! She Still had "mental representation" of me with my overweight.... I put away 47 pounds in 1997, and since I maintain my weight. BUT she still see me, treats me, judge me as someone "BIG". And yes I put it in “quotes” because concretely I have an BMI of 23.4 ...! BUT even after 13 years of success :o) She still projected an image of me as a "big" person AND unfortunately with the entire stigma that can come with this condition???
    Some time WE [Winner’S][YES every one struggle EVERY day] don’t realize how OUR success threats them….
    Today, I'm not concerned [Hum…less :o)] But it physically remains me How their false perceptions could make US feel ashamed of our success. THANK YOU

  3. Anonymous9:28 am

    Good tips. Our legacy of family lore includes an episode in which my brother sneaked away from the table to avoid dessert and was then chased down by my grandmother with a serving of pie.

  4. Anonymous9:57 am

    When I first met my future MIL, I told her about my food intolerances. Her eyes glazed over. In the last ten years, she has bullied, badgered, harassed and monitored my food intake when we're around her. Even in my own home. Needless to say, she and I don't spend much time together breaking bread (literally). This year, she's too frail to handle making the Christmas dinner at the ripe age of 84. The two daughters-in-law are splitting up the duties and putting the dinner together. I don't even have to ask to know she's upset about this because she's afraid of what vegetables I'm bringing, how little and how I plan to cook them. VEGETABLES!! I smartly let the other daugher-in-law make the turkey, stuffing, gravy and mash potato. If they go wrong somehow, it won't be on me. Hee.

    But, in all seriousness, Anon brings up something very real that we don't talk about. The die cast. Once family and friends see us as big or fat, we remain that way to them forever. And they tend to make a huge deal over our weight, more than we do in fact. It's really stressful. I wish people would just STFU about our weight. If we choose to lose weight and are successful, can't people just relax and start treating us like the other skinnies in the room? Why do we constantly have to have a spotlight flooding us as we move around the buffet table? This makes me think that it's not really all about weight, but our mentality level, too. My mother can't stop talking to me like I'm in my formative years, serving massive amounts of unsolicited advice and comments about my appearance and how to live my life and deal with other people, like the last 40 years never happened.

    It's them, Anon, not us. They're neurosis are projected onto us, and I for one, am sick of it. Just so you all know, I banned my own mother from talking about my weight and using the name Oprah in my presence about 10 yrs ago. It's been near bliss ever since. Now if I could just get my MIL to stop watching me as I eat at every meal, I'd be all set! :-)

    Merry Christmas, everyone.


  5. Anonymous12:23 pm


    Great post! I have also had family who are extremely critical of my weight, despite my maintained healthy size. My strategy on successfully dealing with my weight with family went as follows:

    The so-and-so who feels the need to comment, judge and belittle: "My, it looks like you've lost/gained/stabilized weight. You better watch what you eat! What do you weigh now?"

    Me: "Well, to be honest, I don't live by the scale. If it's that important to you, why don't we find out right now, just for fun? I'll go get the bathroom scale; YOU can get on first, then me."

    Worked like a charm for me; I've had 6 years of bliss since. Yes, it may seem a bit heavy-handed, but it does force people to question why they care so much and highlights their own weight insecurities and biases.

  6. Anonymous12:36 pm

    Anon, I love it. I read a blog post this AM from a friend who also had to deal with a family member who remarked to her after two kids and a childhood of pudge, "You used to be fat!" Lovely, no? How is commenting on someone's weight socially acceptable? How is that not a faux pas or considered uncouth?


  7. Anonymous4:45 pm

    Oh my God,you are satanic!Hahaha,excellent :P

    They really are such an unfair fact of life.

    Like your own demons aren't enough..

  8. One of the best things to do if you're being served by a food pusher is to NOT finish what's on your plate. If you have a heap of meat/potatoes/whatever and are clearly indicating that you aren't eating it, it's very unlikely you'll be served more. Many food pushers - at least of a certain generation - hate food waste, so don't clear your plate!

    Same goes for booze. If you don't want someone filling your glass, don't drink what's been poured already.

  9. Anonymous4:06 pm

    Excellent suggestion, Andrea. And I will employ it despite knowing my in-laws will look around and still say something about why I'm not eating/drinking more.

    BUT - and this is a big but - the advantage is in our court this year because we're supplying half of the meal, and our SIL who has been dealing with them for years before I came along, is supplying the other half. The in-laws won't have a leg to stand on by inferring I don't like their cooking if I don't eat much since It's MY cooking I won't be eating a lot of.

    This could work! :-D Thanks for the idea, Andrea.


  10. My mil doesn't take no for an answer.We live across the street from them. Almost every week she gives us a bag full of cooked food. I have said no thank you, it doesnt work.

    I am 33 years old. She has the figure of a model and never eats after 7pm. But everytime I go there she tries and feeds me. I have asked her many times why she does that. She just gives me a blank look.
    I have no idea what drives her to feed people, even after I have said no 4 times!!!!!! I just have to say yes because she is relentless. I feel like I am going crazy.