Don’t Push It
For years, Salt n’ Peppa have been encouraging us to Push It (p-push it real good). I wholeheartedly agree with this mantra when it comes to many of life’s endeavors, i.e. goal setting, workouts, dreaming big, high heel height, mixing colors and patterns, and the amount of kale you can gag down in your green smoothies. However, when it comes to one topic, I implore that we ignore the sage advice of Salt n’ Peppa, and that topic is: Food Pushing.
Food Pushing is everywhere. How many times a week do you walk into work and there’s muffins, cookies, cake, candy, chips, etc. because your co-worker wanted to get it out of their house? They offer you a nibble and you try to politely decline but you’re goaded, encouraged, cajoled and even guilted into having some. Not to mention that the temptation is there and it’s difficult enough to say no to sugar laden carbohydrates. Or maybe several of them are going out to eat for lunch. You packed your lunch already, but they peer pressure you into ditching your brown bag and joining them, inevitably resulting in a poor decision. You have been pushed!
Another scenario: you’re at dinner and you order salad and your friends push you to have some fries, order dessert, or partake in their inhalation of whatever grease/starch/cheese covered appetizer is on the table. Maybe you have some just so they will shut up about it. You have just been pushed! My poor brother is the ultimate example of being on a constant receiving end of food pushing. He is a body builder and takes his food consumption very seriously with a strict eating plan. While we disagree on some main points (he is a major protein freak and I abstain from animal protein), he does avoid dairy, refined carbohydrates and sugar- the crack of the food world. I don’t think he enjoys a meal in a group ever, because someone is constantly commenting on his food choices and trying to convince him to eat something he doesn’t want to eat.
Besides friends and family twisting your arm to jump off your cliff of healthy eating, grocery stores, gas stations, and even hardware stores use their silent yet effective food pushing tactics. We all know and have succumbed to the candy or soda in the check out aisle. We have just been pushed! Pushed real good!
While I do understand the reasoning behind being a food pusher (who wants to feel like they are the only one “being bad” when it comes to eating), I think we all need to take a step back and push the off button on the food pushing. Instead of feeling guilty because you are going to make an unhealthy choice and you want others to participate in your sugar craving collapse, be comfortable enough in your choice that you are willing to fly solo with it. Being healthy in a world that already sets you up for failure is hard enough. Try to be supportive of those around you who are working to improve that area of their lives. Here are some tips for when you find yourself being badgered by a food pusher:
1.) Create a go to response. Explaining to the food pusher why you are making your choice should hopefully stop them in their tracks. “Hey Sally, I know that 4,000 calories of chili dogs with cheese fries at lunch seem like a great idea now, but I’d rather not have explosive intestinal issues this afternoon while I’m trying to finish my expense report.” Okay, that was a fake response example, although I think it would be hilarious. But really, try something like this: “Those hot dogs and cheese fries look amazing, but I have made it a really important goal to treat myself better by eating healthier, and I really want to follow through. I’ve already lost 5 pounds and feel so much better.” Hopefully they let up when they see that it is a personal goal close to your heart (and butt). I they respond with, “oh just one won’t kill you!” you can say, “I know one won’t kill me, but I will be way more tempted to eat the whole plate if I have a taste.” If they keep pushing, just flip the plate of food over and walk away.
2.) Always be prepared. You need defenses of steel and a big bag of snacks to keep yourself from succumbing to a food pusher. If you are out shopping, make sure you have eaten before hand or have a healthy snack and water stashed in your car or purse so you aren’t tempted to grab a bag of M&M’s at the check out aisle. Make sure you ate a healthy breakfast before work so you aren’t grabbing donuts during a low blood sugar moment when you hit the office. The aforementioned brother ALWAYS has a cooler of food in his car. This advice seems like a no brainer, so just do it already, brainiac. It will literally take you maybe 5 extra minutes of time. I know you can sacrifice 20 scroll through’s on Instagram to throw some walnuts and an apple into a bag.
3.) Try to recruit your closest people to join you on the healthy side. This will help alleviate pushing from co-workers and family members if you have an alliance with each other to make better choices. My co-workers and I have done a sugar detox together that helped immensely with the amount of muffins, cookies, and chocolate that were being brought in. If you slowly change the landscape of your home or workspace, the pushers will know that their guilt tricks won’t work on you and your army of happy salad eaters.
Whether you are a pusher or a push-ee, I hope we can all agree that when it comes to food from now on, we won’t push it. (P-push it real good).