We are all familiar with the scenario where well meaning relatives or friends tempt us to break our diet resolutions and have that one piece of cake, chocolate or pizza.
To achieve weight loss success, we need to change the way we think and behave around food. Weight loss actually begins with the mind or rather your mindset. It is the brain that controls the action of putting the food in your mouth.
You have to take the responsibility for your health and your weight loss. There is no point in blaming others for your lack of success. You need to learn to say ‘No” and to be firm about it. You need to be an assertive eater if you wish to manoeuvre your way around your trigger foods.
Wishful thinking and excuses do not help you lose weight. “I could stick to my diet if my co-workers stopped bringing treats and cakes to the office. “Or”I can exercise only if I find a babysitter.” You need to challenge yourself and come up with solutions. When you learn to be more assertive, it helps you be in control of your life. You learn to speak up for your needs and find ways to get them fulfilled.
Being an assertive eater simply means that you remain firm in your healthy food choices by letting others around you know that you mean what you say – when you say “No.”
Here are 7 tips to be an assertive eater:
1. Be Firm and clear
Your body language, facial expression and tone of voice must be firm and clear. If you look longingly at the cake slice and say “I really shouldn’t be eating it,” then the hostess is going to just feel that you need to be nudged a little and it’s her job to do so.
Don’t say “maybe I’ll have a small bite” or” I’ll have one later.” Your message needs to be clear; it should not leave a doubt. Say “No, Thank you”, calmly and turn away from the food platter to resume your conversation with your colleague. This makes your intent clear.
2. Be Sincere
You need to be careful that saying ‘No’ should not seem insulting to the host. So maintain eye contact with the person offering that food when you decline and smile when you do so. This helps them respect your choice without feeling offended.
3. Be Positive
As a guest or at a party, the hostess may keep offering you food or drinks. Their intention usually is to ensure that you are enjoying yourself. If you look longingly at the buffet table, or look miserable overall that’s not going to help. Take your mind off the food; enjoy the company and the entertainment. Compliment your host on the party and make it clear that you are having a good time.
4. Find Alternatives
If your friends want to meet up, you can suggest a park or a movie, something that doesn’t involve food or one that at least offers you some low calorie options. Bring healthy snack options to a potluck gathering with friends. Ask for a diet soda or chilled mineral water at a party. Look for alternatives that can help you get past potential bad choices.
5. Ordering out Assertively
Being assertive gives you the tenacity to speak up at a restaurant and ask to have the meal cooked to your dietary preferences. Again, remember to be clear and firm with your instructions to the chef on how you want it made or served.
6. Reinforce with Positive Statements
When you get tempted, remind yourself of your goals and reinforce your commitment to your weight loss goal with positive statements. “My body is getting stronger, slimmer and healthier every day.” Or “I love eating healthy food and it helps me reach my ideal weight.”
7. Seek Moral Support
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. But you need to be clear about what you need. Don’t expect others to guess. “Please don’t keep ice cream in the freezer or eat it in front of me.” Or “Please hide your stash of chips/cookies so I don’t get tempted at a weak moment.“
Being assertive is about advocating for yourself and your goals in any situation. Don’t worry about pleasing others or being considered rude. As long as you stay firm and friendly, you’ll succeed in being assertive in circumstances that could otherwise sabotage your weight loss goals.