Tips And Advice

Healthy eating saboteurs! How to say no to pushy relatives who try to sabotage your healthy lifestyle

There’s a few in every family; relatives who are healthy eating saboteurs and won’t take no for an answer.

This Christmas, here are a few tips on how to avoid family members who try their best to derail your attempts at making healthy food choices.

Christmas table setting pink hues

How to deal with the things family say to sabotage your healthy eating over Christmas

“It’s Christmas so spoil yourself!”

If you use this reasoning to constantly justify what goes into your mouth this Christmas, you may end up blowing your boundaries and goals away completely.

Of course, it’s Christmas and you should give yourself permission to treat yourself, however when relatives use this line in order to get you to eat unhealthy food, keep in mind you can spiral out of control and go back into unhealthy eating habits.

What’s even worse is that these old habits can potentially continue past Christmas and into the New Year.

Try to deflect with something like “I intend to! Let me work my way around the table first.”

“One bite isn’t going to kill you!”

How many times have you heard this from food saboteurs? Most of us can’t stop at one bite, which is how you may have gotten into your unhealthy habits that you are now working hard to get out of!

This Christmas know your limits and make sure your boundaries stay firm.

If you know that you won’t be able to stop after one bite, don’t put yourself in the position where you will end up feeling guilty for overeating.

If you’re faced with this situation from family use the “Once you pop you can’t stop so thanks but no thank you!” response.

Steph Zena Bec Sally enjoying Healthy Mummy Brownies

“You are going to try this whether you like it or not!”

This is not only annoying but also puts you in a situation that can make you feel pressured and like you have no choice but to eat everything in front of you.

Remember that you are in control of what you eat, and although you may feel pressured into eating unhealthy food, ultimately you are responsible for putting that food into your body.

If it was placed on your plate without your permission or not by your choice, avoid eating it.

If you think the temptation on your plate may be too much, try a variation of: “I wish I could but I can’t/don’t eat that, unfortunately. My loss – it looks delicious!”

Yes it’s a little white lie but you’ve been so good so far, Santa won’t mind!

“You just have to try my dish, I insist!”

Another unwanted layer of pressure from family. This can be a difficult situation to tackle as the person forcing you to eat it has a personal investment in it and your refusal may offend.

You can try telling them you can’t eat an ingredient in the dish or you can try another little white lie of: “Thanks I had some already and it’s so delicious you have got to give me the recipe!”

Again it’s a little white lie however it’s in the best interest of your weight loss journey and healthy lifestyle.

If it is a delicious dish you wish you could eat, try substituting unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones or have a look at The Healthy Mummy’s Christmas food swaps.

Christmas food

“I made you your favourite so EAT UP!”

When faced with this extremely awkward situation, the easier option would be to just eat the whole damn thing.

However, think about the old you who would have made that choice and compare her to the you that you are now sitting at the table.

Which version of yourself are you happier with? Which version makes you feel good, looks good?

Try to actively put yourself first this Christmas and try not to think about other people’s feelings.

If you are worried about spoiling the mood or can’t bear to disappoint the family member who so kindly cooked your favourite dish, try to respond with:

“I’m so touched thank you! You know I’ve been eating it so much lately, let me try some of your other delicious meals because I think I may leave with a new favourite!”

Yes, a little flattery can get you a long way away from the awkwardness of refusing unhealthy food.

If you don’t feel confident enough to say no or using one of the suggested responses above, take preprepared, healthy options under the guise of helping out the host and stick to what you bought.

Give yourself permission to try a couple of unhealthy options but if you feel you may not be able to stop, stick to your food.   

Want some healthy Christmas recipes? You can find an array in our Christmas Entertaining Cookbook.

Christmas and Entertaining cookbook hardcover

The festive season is packed with parties, dinners, and barbecues, and these are great times to enjoy yourself and relax. However, even with the best of intentions, a full calendar of festivities can also result in a little too much indulgence, leaving you feeling bloated, lethargic and generally unhealthy by early January!

We’ve put together this Christmas Entertaining Cookbook with 150 recipes so you can go into the silly season armed with tips and tricks on how to have fun without going overboard.

ruokcounselling
written by:

Shara Smith

Shara is a psychotherapist and a counsellor, who has over 12 years experience in the mental health, life coaching and self-care sector. While she loves her husband and three kids, she also loves watching re-runs of Sex in the City and baking decadent cookies that only she gets to eat.