foodpusherYou walk into the annual holiday party with a plan in place. You will stick to the veggie tray, pick one special dessert and have only one drink. You’ll stay away from the food table and enjoy the conversation instead of the sugar. You’ve got this. You aren’t going to fall victim to the holidays again this year.

If only it were that easy. The second you walk in the door Auntie Mae puts her famous pecan pie right under your nose and begs you to have a piece because she made it “just for you.”

You fill your tray up high with veggies. Your brother takes one look before loudly exclaiming “That’s all you’re eating? Are you on a diet or something?” causing everyone to turn and stare at your plate…and in your mind, your weight.

Your friend brings you a shot and a huge plate of cookies and says, “Come on, it’s a holiday! That means cheat day!”

You might think they have the best intentions and just want you to be happy, and in Auntie Mae’s case, you are probably right, but some of them don’t. And that’s OK, it’s only natural and you are probably guilty of it in some way or another yourself. Some people don’t like to see others succeed, because it makes them look at themselves. Perhaps your friend wants a partner in crime so she doesn’t feel so guilty standing next to you with your plate of veggies when hers is piled with fudge.

Don’t give in to the food pushers. Don’t let guilt lead you into making a decision you know you shouldn’t make. Where does it leave you? With more guilt. Politely extricating yourself from situations where food pushers, good intentioned or otherwise, lurk is almost an art, and your strategy may change based on who’s pushin’.

Food Pusher #1 The Well Meaning Older Family Member We aren’t in the great depression anymore where pudge means financial security, but instead of trying to convince them of that, remember that food is love. They are only trying to show you they love you. When offered food from the heart, politely say thank you, comment on how delicious it looks but you are trying to take care of your health these days. That’s all they want. Then show them you love them by asking them to help you with something (whether you actually need it or not.)

Food Pusher #2: The Inconsiderate Commenter These food pushers don’t realize what their comments about your food, weight or general lifestyle are embarrassing or damaging. Usually phrased with a negative connotation, and probably just because it centers around something you are already a little self conscious about, their comments cut deep and may cause you to feel like they are criticizing you. Don’t take it personally and change the subject, ignore or deflect the attention. Or, hey, you know your inner circle better than anyone- maybe they really do mean to hurt your feelings with their comments. In that case, fire one right back at them. All in good fun, right?

Food Pusher #3: The Friendly Saboteur This “frienemey” is the one whose intentions may not be the best. They want you to eat so they feel OK about eating. Or not eating. But rest assured, their hang up is more about them than you. Recognize this, and aim to inspire. Say, “Nah, I’ve been feeling pretty good about my eating the past few days. I don’t want to mess it up just because it’s the holiday.” Yes, it will cause them to second guess their choices, but from there, it’s on them to make the right decision.

Something that always works? You can always lie: say you are sick, allergic, or already had some. Or you can tell the truth: say you are watching you weight, trying to be good, or simply that you would “rather not.”