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Practice the Art of Saying “No, Thank You”

As a child you may remember hearing a family member say to you: “Don’t leave the table until you’ve finished your meal,” or “There are children in the world who don’t have enough to eat, and you’re wasting your food.”

As an adult, do you still find it hard to forget these words and say “No?"  Of course you can say “No,” but many people don’t, because they don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings. We often find ourselves in a situation in which we want to please people, but you should not put your health at risk just because you can’t say “No.”  Fortunately there are a few diplomatic tricks you can use, so that your "No, thank you" will not offend anyone.

Tips to follow to make it easier to say “No, thank you”

Before we provide the tips, however, you need to understand the difference between a normal diet and a dysfunctional diet.

  • A normal diet means a regular eating schedule or pattern that consists of probably three daily meals and maybe a couple of snacks in between to satisfy hunger throughout the day. This diet is regulated by your internal signs of hunger, appetite, and satisfaction.
  • A dysfunctional diet, on the other hand, involves an irregular pattern in terms of both eating times and the food consumed. Generally speaking, the person fasts, skips meals, goes from diet to diet, and eats out of greed. In some cases, the person eats less than what the body needs and eating becomes a challenge.

Most people follow a "normal diet" (with occasional lapses during their lives) as they try to achieve the "perfect body." Often it is during the pursuit of weight loss, however, that they eat in excess and lose control of their diet.  A normal diet includes eating to stay healthy, to have energy, to feel pleasure, and on certain occasions, for social reasons and at social events. It’s when you’re eating socially that you need to practice the art of saying “No, thank you!”

•  Be sincere

If you are offered food you wish to avoid, say that you are trying to watch your weight or lose weight, and that you are trying to minimize or avoid that kind of food, or, choose another dish. Add that you don’t want to offend anyone, but that at the moment it’s really important for you to control serving sizes or the amount of calories you eat.

•  You can say “yes” to a little

If you feel that you won’t be able to turn down your mother-in-law’s lemon pie, plan in advance. In other words, eat less during the courses before dessert and make sure you only have a small piece of pie.  By doing this, you and your hostess will both be happy.

•  Use "delay" tactics

If you simply say “later,” you’ll get out of eating too much at that point in time and maybe even avoid it altogether. You can also say something like, “I’m so full at the moment, and I wouldn’t be able to appreciate such a tasty dish. Give me a little while and then I’d love to try it.” Once the party snacks have been put away, or everyone’s moved on to the next course, nobody is likely to remember you turned something down.

•  Take food home

Another strategy for avoiding eating more than you want is to praise the food like crazy and ask if you could possibly take some home.


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