My client Megan had several hard days this past week. She told me that, on three separate occasions, she ended up eating things that she knew she shouldn’t – food she hadn’t planned that made her feel overly full and exceeded her limits for the day. In session, we discussed how all three situations involved her partner saying he was going to order a specific food. She said she didn’t want any, and he ended up getting food for her anyway. Once the tempting food was in front of her, Megan found it too difficult to resist.
I reminded Megan that this would be an incredibly difficult situation for anyone to be in and was not a personal weakness on her part. It’s hard to resist food that you enjoy – even if it’s not on your plan – when it’s staring you directly in the face. While it would be easy to blame her partner for sabotaging her and think, “He just needs to stop ordering food when I tell him I don’t want any,” it’s important to remember that it’s not the food pusher’s job to stop pushing food on you. They’re food pushers; that’s what they do! It is, however, your job to start saying no or to start not eating the food that you said you didn’t want.
Megan thought about this and realized that by always giving in and eating the food that her partner ordered for her, she was teaching him to continue doing it! She was training to him know that if he ordered food, regardless of whether she said she wanted it, she would eat it. Because of this, we knew that the crucial step in changing this would be for Megan to start standing firm and not eating food she said she didn’t want. This will probably mean wasting food, but if it’s in the service of reaching health and happiness goals that are incredibly important to her, it’s worth it.
Megan decided that the next time this happened, she would take the food he ordered for her and put directly in the trash – both to make a point and to decrease the chances she would end up eating it. We don’t know for certain, but it’s likely that after she does this multiple times, he’ll get the message and eventually stop ordering her unwanted food. The good news is that he doesn’t have to stop ordering Megan unplanned food for her to stay on track. She’s not in control over what he orders, but she is in control over what she eats.