Thursday, October 14, 2010

But I don't wanna eat the cheesecake!

OK, so I have a dilemma.

I have trouble disappointing people. I’m a people pleaser by nature (or is it nurture?). This leads to many problems and issues in my day to day and can sometimes drive my husband absolutely nuts.

But the one issue I’m going to discuss here is how it affects what I eat.

In the civilized world food and drink has taken on a cultural significance above and beyond that of fuel for the body. It is the primary vehicle for family to re-connect after a long day apart. It is the centerpiece of a celebration feast. It is the way we show love and acceptance of one another. It is the grease of the social machine.

Since I have been dieting in earnest this year I have noticed a disturbing trend. Some people get outright offended when you don’t eat the way they think you should eat. They get mad. They huff and puff and get all red in the face and start gossiping about you behind your back. What the heck is that about anyway!

So me being a natural people pleaser I try to compromise. I do the whole “one small piece won’t kill me” thing. But since I wasn’t planning all day to eat that “one small piece” it is killing me, well at least it’s killing my diet. So anyway, I’m going to list top 5 culprits of the guilt machine who are trying to make me feel bad about losing weight and sabotaging my efforts.

5.) Team Workplace- Man the people I work with love to eat. There are weeks I think we spend more time eating than working. Bagels on Friday, French toast on Monday, Pizza and Chinese lunches, pastries and cakes and cookies…I can usually resist them, but I hate being the “difficult” one on the team when the company is buying lunch so I usually just say the pizza is fine and suffer in silence.

4.) My skinny bitch sister – This girl has always eaten whatever she wanted and never been larger than a size 8 in her life. I go to her house to visit and all she has is whole milk and real sugar and frosted sugar cookies. And she’s a picky eater. So forget making anything light or healthy when she comes to visit. She won’t eat vegetables. I tried making smashed cauliflower for her once and she literally gagged. She’s basically a carb junky but it doesn’t affect her body the way it affects mine. I curse her for taking all of the “good genes” from the pool.

3.) My crazy juiced up brother in law – He’s an amateur body builder and in his own way tries to be supportive and encouraging when he sees I’m losing weight. But he eats really weird food like tuna and sweet potatoes for lunch and egg whites and oatmeal for dinner and tries to make me second guess my own eating plan and I just end up getting confused. Plus he and my sister in law like to “cheat” on the weekends and then send all the leftover bad foods home with us so they won’t be in their house during the week. So now the “cheat” foods are in my house staring me down during the week. Thanks guys.

2.) My mom. Lord love her she tries. I know how hard she tries. And I know she doesn’t understand what it is I’m doing here. She knows we’re hard up for cash so she tries to invite us over to eat a lot. The thing is that she cooks with a lot of sauces and starches and fat….you know… like mom. And here’s the big secret- I’m a better cook than she is, and she hates that. So I have to tell her all the time how good everything is and take a second helping and do the whole “I can never get my meatloaf to come out like this…”type of gushing. I use my son as an excuse to leave before desert a lot. Yet she still insists on sending some home with us. Oh and she’s the one person in this world who has no problem telling me how fat and disgusting I am and she can never EVER tell that I’ve lost a few pounds. If I do say I’ve lost a few since I last saw her, she has to say she lost more. You know, the more I think about this, the more I feel like she is in competition with me or something. Yeah, she’s a psycho, but she’s also my mom and I love her just the same.

1.) My mother in law- This lady wins the grand prize. She (like my mom) is a little psycho about things. Minor inconveniences can set her off on a toddler sized temper tantrum. She loves to cook and is completely offended by any suggestion that anything she makes should not be eaten. In fact when she stays with my sister in law and her husband (see number 3) she calls me non-stop to complain about how much she hates him and the disgusting things they eat and how she can stay there because they won’t eat her food, etc. Her entire self-identity is wrapped up in how good of a homemaker she is. She loves to bake and has a severe sweet-tooth. She is constantly trying to push cakes and candy onto my two year old son (another big bone of contention, don't get me started!) and takes rejection of her cheesecake as a personal insult. She has been back in town for exactly 3 days. In that time she has sent over 1 tub of sugar cookies, one package of oatmeal cookies, fried porkchops, mashed potatoes, kielbasa, and pizza.

So how do you do it? How do you say “No thanks, that’s not really on my diet” without sounding like a calorie Nazi? And if someone has gotten offended when you turned down their prized pecan pie, what do you say? I don’t want to be fat just to be nice.

It’s only going to get worse over the next few months so any suggestions are welcome!


  1. I like your last statement: "I don't want to be fat just to be nice." For those that are close enough to you *(and all should be besides #1), you should see if they'd be receptive to supporting you in your goal. Tell them you're really serious this time (in case you've tried to lose weight in the past), that you're doing this for your health & the health of your family. That obesity has surpassed tobacco as the number one cause of death in the US. Tell them that everywhere you turn there are well-intentioned people trying to share love with you through food and that you are so thankful for their expression, but the "love" they're sharing is actually hurting you. Share specific examples (in as nice a way possible) like you did above in how they may be currently hindering your progress & then specific solution examples on how they might modify how they show love & support to you. For example your mother-in-law; instead of what she's currenlty offering, how about fresh produce? And your sister just might have to suck it up as if she's a guest in your house, then she's just going to have to eat what you do or maybe have some frozen meal that suites her taste handy for her visits? Hope this helps....

  2. Ooh, that's tough. The moms are the most... problematic, it seems: they sound like the ones to take it the most personally. :-s

    I'm not really sure what to tell you because my mom's all rah-rah go, you! and with friends/co-workers I just politely say "no thank you" (I'll tell them I already ate if pushed for a reason). :( I just pretty much wanted to say I'm listening (reading). xoxo

  3. Sometimes you have to be mean. I know that may sound bad but seriously if people cannot respect the way you are choosing to live your life and get healthy then you have no reason to be "nice" when they are pressuring you to eat.

    Everyone around me is super supportive but even they try to push food on me occasionally. If they don't take "no thanks" for an answer the first time then I will explain to them why I cannot eat certain foods.

    We are going through a journey that many people cannot understand. It's hard and it's even harder when people push their ideals on you.


  4. I feel for you as it sounds like you are in the midst of a family who have no idea what it means to eat like a healthy person. Whether or not this is so, you need to find some place within you where you can draw the line regardless of what others seem to be saying or thinking.

    Part of this amazing journey to be a healthy weight and have healthy attitudes about food is breaking free of old mindsets and even family BS.

    This can be the hardest thing but we do have to learn who we really are and how we can express this in the midst of other people. It's so much easier to manage situations gracefully when you know who you are and what you want. Being a 'people pleaser' never works long term because there is no way you can please others without hurting someone and worst of all you are the one who gets hurt most often.

    It's not going to kill anyone if you refuse to eat someone's offerings. Nor will it harm them if you change the way your family eats and set down some rules.

    The secret is to believe in yourself. To be 100% sure that you are on the right track for your own health and that of your family. To be convinced that because a thing has been done such and such a way forever does not make it the right way. It's hard making the changes when you expect to be rejected but you have to decide what is more important. Your health or a negative reaction.

    Is the health of your family worth fronting up for. I suspect they will learn to respect you in the long term but can you face the short term pain?

    Some big questions that only you can answer.

    Hope you find your way through because you have the strength to do this.

    Be brave and courageous. Blessings.

  5. I can so relate to you on the skinny bitch sister, team work place, and my mom. I'm right there with you. Only my problem is I don't say sure i'll have a bite because I don't want to be mean - I say sure because i'm a fat ass with no self control. I wish I had an answer for you but I'm sorry I don't know - you can inform me when you figure it out! lol

  6. Get ready...this is easier me to say because we live far away. But believe me, I've done my time with all these people.

    Skinny bitch sister is definitely not healthy. just cause she's skinny doesn't mean she can run a mile, or two. I know people like this, that are literally starving themselves to be able to eat sweets. They look like they have malnutrition. It's not anorexia, but it's definitely something.

    Now, all that aside, you're just going to have to learn to say NO. Let them hate you. Let them give you the worst they've got. You'll be surprised.

    The first time is the hardest.

    If you find yourself saying yes, make sure it's on the way out the door. Then stop by the nearest dumpster and get rid of the poison. Kay?

    I like your starting pics. You're doing great.