How to Handle Situations When You’re Pressured to Eat When You Want to Avoid Binging or Overeating

When you’re trying to overcoming binge eating or urges to overeat food, there can be situations where you feel pressured to eat something you know you don’t feel comfortable with.

For example, maybe you’ve successfully weaned yourself from nightly binges on tubs of ice cream…and then a friend invites you to go out for a cone with her. You imagine that if you do, you’ll probably start wanting more and more ice cream again…and you worked hard to overcome the urge to eat it all the time.

no copyOr perhaps you’re at a party and someone wants you to have some cocktails, or a rich dessert that you know will have you eating more than you’d like if you do. Saying “no” can seem offensive, or feel awkward.

Here are 12 suggestions for how to handle situations when you’re pressured to eat when you want to avoid binging or overeating:

1. You could say, “I’m allergic to that and you will have to rush me to the hospital if I take one bite”. Not ideal if you’re with family or friends that know you well if this isn’t actually true…but can help in a pinch.

2. Avoid the outing altogether. While it’s not cool to miss out on fun activities due to feeling pressured to eat or drink things you don’t want, if it feels more stressful to go to the event than to pass it up, then turn it down.

3. Just say no. We can’t let our relationship with food rob us of the joy in life. Learning to say ‘no’ and not caving into peer pressure is one of the best ways we can take care of ourselves.

shutterstock_854408804. Suggest alternatives. If your husband wants pizza, but you know that it’s typically a binge food for you…suggest something else delicious and great for both of you. Perhaps a robust salad with nuts, grilled steak, berries and veggies. If it’s convenience you want, you can have an instant meal and both be happy by creating salads with your favorite toppings. Or choose a restaurant where you can each order what you want.

5. Tell it like it is. People do not like it when the people around them are making better choices. It causes them to face their own failure to do so. I even catch myself doing this to my own family or friends who are in the process of trying to lose weight. I want to eat junk, and they’re working on doing good, which makes me feel guilty. We often try to get others to join us in paths of self-destruction. You can be straight with them. Say,”You know what, I have done so great today, and I know that I wont be able to stop after just one bite… I’d rather not even start. It will only be worse because I will beat myself up afterward. But thank you for the offer!”
6. Say “I don’t feel like it today”. Try and explain you’re trying to be healthy, or that you’re experimenting with eating in a new way. Anything.

7. Encourage family and friends to find events that won’t include food. Many social activities revolve around meeting over food. Why not try something new, like meeting for a walk, going shopping, playing frisbee in the park or going to a movie?

8. Tell them you’re leaving room for something later or too full from a previous meal. It can be legitimate and get you out of longer explanations. Say, “No thanks, I’m saving room for (lunch/dinner/dessert)!” or”Ohhh, too bad, I just ate (x) and I’m stuffed, but thank you!”

9. Keep a sense of humor. People might seem pushy, but usually if you keep it light and playful, they’ll back off if they realize you’re not going to budge and you’re happy with what you’re choosing.
10. Ask a close friend to have your back. Peer pressure can be tough, and if you know you’re going to be in a situation where you’re uncomfortable, try confiding in someone close to you that will be there. If you’re honest and explain to them, they can become your ally. They can also decline with you, so you’re not alone, or stand up for you if others push you. When you say no and have backup, it will intimidate the people trying to bully or pressure you.

11. Have just a little. Sometimes it’s actually easier to say, “Ok, sure,” and then take a small bite. It can be less hassle in the long run, as the other person’s attention to the matter will fade as you go on talking. Then you can put the rest in a napkin or leave on your plate to dispose of later.

12. Create a plan. Most of all, having a plan to know how to handle these situations when they pop up will give you leverage. You’ll be prepared instead of caught off guard when someone asks you to taste or drink something you don’t feel comfortable with. Imagine the scene beforehand, plan what you’ll say and how to handle yourself, and you’ll be more likely to breeze through it when the time comes.

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