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Cake temptationImage courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • You have to try this new dessert I made.
  • Yum, you don’t know what you’re missing out
  • Come on, just have one little
  • You know you want it!
  • Everybody else is having some – are you sure you don’t want any?

Your spouse offers you foods, not on the diet plan. That friendly office coworker shoves a bag of M&Ms at you. You’re at a fabulous party and everyone is trying to get you to indulge in the sushi.

If you’ve ever tried any diet plan or weight loss program, you’ve probably heard phrases like those above from well-meaning friends, family, and acquaintances.

These types of encounters can become even more frequent during the holiday season, on birthdays, and at other social events…basically, whenever and wherever people gather together.

Why Temptation is Such a Problem

Avoiding temptation can be tough. Sometimes, you may not even really want what’s being offered anyway. But as humans, we have a natural urge to fit in, to belong, to be a part of something. For many of us, enjoying a snack or meal in common is the perfect way to do just that.

In fact, food can actually help define our relationships, according to Tara Gidus, RD. Girls’ night out, weekly dinner at mom’s, a Sunday sports afternoon in the man cave – what do all these have in common? According to Gidus, these are examples of “rituals that are associated with foods and drinks and can impact the relationship.”

And then there are your frenemies. Sure, your sometimes-BFF says you’ve “never looked better” but the truth is, friends and enemies alike may not really want you to change.

They may worry about how a substantial loss of weight would affect you in some way. In other cases, your own efforts may make them take an honest look at themselves – and that’s not always easy to do. Your weight loss might cause them to start thinking about their own weight and lifestyle habits.

Temptation is a huge problem for one reason: Even just one bite can be enough to throw you off a successful diet plan, sabotaging your efforts to be thin and healthy.

And here’s another thing – if you want to make this process a success, you must learn how to say no effectively – and be prepared to say it often!

10 Ways to Say “No” Politely

No one wants to get into an argument…especially over food. Here are ten simple phrases that you can use to say no respectfully the next time temptation comes your way. You can easily adjust any of these to fit your unique situation:

  1. I know you mean well, but I have to pass this time.
  2. Thanks for offering, but I’m going to pass on that today.
  3. It looks great, but I’m on a special diet.
  4. I appreciate this, but I just cannot eat it.
  5. Sorry, I just ate and I’m already full.
  6. I’m too full right now, but I’ll take it home. (Then discreetly discard the item when you can.)
  7. I’m on a new diet that’s pretty strict, so I have to say no.
  8. I’d love to, but this just doesn’t agree with me.
  9. I’m on a very strict diet because of my health, so I have to be careful about what I eat.
  10. No, thank you.*

*Sometimes keeping it simple is your best response. John Foreyt, Ph.D. explains in WebMD that offering an “excuse” can actually instigate disagreements.

Tip: Instead of focusing so much on what you are (or aren’t) eating, shift the conversation to another subject. People are much less likely to pay attention to what you’re eating when they’re engaged in a lively conversation.

Want to shift gears fast? Ask the person a question about herself – that’s one of the best ways to get the attention off you quickly.

When You’re the Person You Have to Say No To…

Yes, despite all your well-meaning friends and family (and not-so-well-meaning frenemies), sometimes the person you have to say no to – is yourself.

The first step in effectively saying no to yourself is to be prepared and have a strong understanding of your temptations. Then consider the reasons why you decided to participate in the weight loss process – perhaps to re-establish health and balance in your life, to feel better, to fit into your clothes better…the list could go on and on.

Whatever your reason is, choose that over taste! As we always say, “The feeling of skinny tastes yummy all day long!

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