Thought for the Day--March 18, 2011: Avoiding "Pressure Feeders"


Totally avoiding pressure feeders can be difficult, if not impossible, but you can lessen the damage they can cause to your efforts.

A "pressure feeder," a friend, family member, or co-worker who knows you are trying to make health and dietary changes, insists on sabotaging your efforts by pushing treats and junk food at you. They will insist that you must try what they offer and will try to guilt you into giving in:
"Oh, you're so thin now; surely a little bite won't hurt..."

"I made this just for you..."

"You're much too thin already; you need to fatten up a bit..."
If you don't want to eat the treat, simply politely decline.

All too often, however, pressure feeders will make a big deal of your diet and may even poke fun at your efforts and blow it all out of proportion.

The best tactic: change the subject ("How about those Orioles...?").

If this person insists on hammering on this subject, politely ignore him or her, and turn your attention to another person.

Why do our loved ones try to pressure feed us?

1. Fear
I suspect that observing any kind of change in loved ones is scary. For example, if your best friend, whether thin or fat, is an eating buddy, he or she might be afraid that the friendship might be at risk. Also, a husband or wife might be afraid that the thinner you might leave him or her (not totally unfounded, I might add).
2. Jealousy
Yes, the old green-eyed monster can rear its ugly head.
Confession: I plead guilty to feeling this way, but I don't think I have ever engaged in pressure feeding. If so, I apologize to those I have wronged.
A pressure feeder may be jealous of the new you and is consciously or subconsciously trying to undermine your efforts.

Jealousy is a natural emotion, but what we choose to do with it is what separates the enlightened from the petty. We can take our jealousy and use it to make positive changes; peer pressure can be a powerful motivator. We should always look to those who have succeeded, not undermine them.
3. Ignorance
Often, pressure feeders are naturally thin people who have never, ever counted a calorie or point and truly do not understand how difficult it can be for us to stay on track.

They tend to have a simplistic view of weight issues. ("Don't eat so much, and you'll stay slim.") They have never had a weight problem, so what's wrong with you that you can't control your ginormous appetite?

You may be able to have a heart-to-heart talk with this person and educate him or her on what it's like being you.

Of all the pressure feeders, this kind of feeder is most likely puzzled by the concept of counting points or calories, so there is hope for him or her!
If your pressure feeder friend keeps insisting on sabotaging your efforts, it may be time to reevaluate that friendship and, perhaps, pull away from him or her. This person is not really a friend.

With family members, it's more complicated and trickier. Family is everything and those relationships should not be dismissed lightly.

But you can plan for those family events by saving some points or calories for small samples of the treats offered by pressure feeders and/or arm yourself with pithy and humorous quips.

Just being aware that someone is trying to pressure feed you can help immensely in counteracting the attack.

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