7 Easy Tips to Deal with “Friendly” Food Pushers

Friendly woman holding a pie. 7 Easy Tips to Deal with “Friendly” Food Pushers

Filed Under: Holiday Eating

6 December 2016 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

We all have them in our lives: a friend, an aunt, mother-in-law, colleague, a sister… They mean well, but they like to push us to eat more food.  As mindful eaters, we like to stop eating at a comfortable point but this is hard when food is being pushed on us. Food pushers are especially active over the holidays and at family gatherings – it’s their moment to shine!

They mean well and are most likely showing their love for you through food or want to please you with food.  The scenario:

You are at a party and you have enjoyed your food and Aunty Veronica insists that you eat more cake “because you hardly ate”. You feel bad and you don’t want to offend her, she has gone to so much trouble so you eat more… You leave the party feeling physically bloated and uncomfortable and you feel bad emotionally for not listening to yourself.

Here are 7 easy tips on how to deal with food pushers…

1. Redirect

Compliment Aunty Veronica on how delicious the food is and thank her for all the effort she has gone to in order to prepare this beautiful meal. Ask her if you can take some home or ask her to explain the recipe and by that time hopefully someone else will have caught her attention and you can go in peace.

2. Delay

When your FFP (Friendly Food Pusher) offers you food… delay… tell her you are still savouring the first plate and you will have some more a bit later.

3. Divert

When more food is pushed on you, say “I am going to the bathroom” or “I am going to chat to Aunt Mathilda and will have more when I get back”. Hopefully when you get back she will have forgotten about you.

4. Deflect

Often people encourage others to eat so that they can have an excuse to eat some more themselves, so counter-offer her the food instead! “Perhaps you would like some more?” or “It’s delicious – you go for it!”

5. Change the subject

Say “thanks yes, but I must tell you about…” and start talking about something completely different in great detail, to the point she is so bored that she will leave you for another victim! Or “Did you know that our stomachs are the size of a fist?”

6. Keep it light

“I couldn’t possibly put another crumb in my mouth! It was all utterly delicious but I am starting to feel like an Anaconda.”

7. Simply say NO thank you

No is such a tiny word yet we have such difficulty saying it. The trick is to say “No thank you” in a very kind, polite and firm way.  Repeat if necessary. If you have a hard time saying no, practice before you go.

Food pushers can be very insistent. You may not always get it right. It takes time, practice and patience, but just keep going!

“From our first meeting - two faces on Zoom across the world from each other, there was a sense of familiarity and comfort that was a healing balm for a lifetime of food struggles and dieting. Without realizing how much damage I had done to myself by adhering, for decades, to restrictive food plans and rigid diet programs, Xen had a way of redirecting the harsh and negative self-talk and sending me forth each week with compassion, mindfulness and a new way of seeing myself in the here and now. Gone are the maybe somedays, and if-only, and when-I’m-smaller thinking. Now I am committed to the imperfect and rocky path to listening to my body, accepting my perfect imperfections, and rejecting diet mentality. Those negative voices will revisit me from time to time, I know, but Xen has offered valuable tools for meeting each day as a fresh start - another choice, another chance. Her devotion to this work and her belief in her clients is a remarkable gift; I am so fortunate to have found her. It is never too late to let go of the drama and embrace joy, ease and self-acceptance.”

Karen L, Denver, USA

“I felt hopeless and helpless in my daily struggle with mindless eating for many years. Then I found Xen which is exactly what I needed! My decision to work with her helped me to finally repair my relationship with food. It's changing my life for the better, one day at a time. Now I have control over the food, instead of it having control over me, which is the way it should be. I highly recommend Xen to anyone who has a desire to overcome similar food struggles. Xen, thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Karen J, Colorado, USA

“I reached out to Xenia because 2021 started on a tumultuous note for me. Between deaths, businesses suffering, hospitalizations, and job losses in our personal circle, I felt depleted and found myself being available for everyone but myself. Then I was hit with an unexpected health diagnosis, which was the last straw as it meant giving up “healthy foods” and workouts that I leaned on for my well-being and stability. Despite working in wellness (Yes, coaches and healers are vulnerable too!), I found myself reaching out to desserts for comfort. I like to live a life of permissions (not labels or deprivation leading to bingeing), so I wanted to work with someone who approached healing from a place of mindful compassion. I didn’t want to be my own client. Xenia was great in reminding me to be kind to myself. Working with her, brought me peace and helped shift my mindset. I love how desserts and I look at each other now.”

Sweta Vikram, New York, USA

“Working with Xenia was amazing. She armed me with a bunch of tools to help me through difficult times. Xenia is the kind of person who really cares for helping you in the long run. Her work will forever have an impact in my life.”

Daniela Velásquez, Ottawa, Canada

“Working with Xen was a game changer for me. After working together for a few months my relationship with food radically changed. I no longer felt like a failure. I now have the tools to nourish my body with foods that feel good in my body. I don’t feel guilty about eating cake or chocolate, I also don’t overeat cake and chocolate. I no longer feel the need to exercise to compensate for my eating. I feel much more free around eating and I am more accepting of my body. Xen has a nonjudgmental and compassionate approach to coaching and really supports you in the process.”

Rachel, Dublin, Ireland

“Working with Xen has been very empowering. Her approach is so refreshing from the usual. I have learned that I am in charge and that I get to choose what I put in my body and how to move my body in a way that I like! I get to make my own choices. It’s so liberating. Once you get a taste of freedom with food, there is no turning back to old ways! Thanks Xen for guiding me along the way to freedom.”

Heather B, Cork. Ireland

“This is the answer for those of you that struggle with food and all that surrounds it. Xenia said that I could make peace with food and it seemed at the time like an impossible dream. Turns out it isn’t. I recommend Xen and the mindful eating / intuitive eating approach unreservedly. If you have any questions about my experience, please get in touch. Thank you Xen. My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”

Michelle, Johannesburg, South Africa

“Xenia was a walking, living, breathing example of what can be done. I laughed and cried my way through a short course in this fascinating and invigorating programme with her, and have gained a designer tote full of coping skills that go way beyond containing kilogrammes. I feel infinitely lighter. I am doing this for me and, yes, you can do this for you too! And believe me, I’m cynical!”

Diana, Vancouver, Canada

“I don’t obsess about food like I used to. I am thinking differently about food and feeling so much more relaxed around all types of food. It’s wonderful to have pleasure and satisfaction from eating.”

Sarah, Illinois, USA

“I learned a new way of thinking about food. I have learned that food is not the enemy and that it can actually be enjoyed with no guilt.”

Sandy, London, United Kingdom

Certified by The Life Coach School Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro Professional Member of The Center for Mindful Eating