Dr. Vash shares polite ways to decline treats co-workers bring to work and avoid snacking at parties.
I’d like to give you three tips for avoiding tempting foods and let’s look at it in the home, at work, and maybe in social situations where this is usually the problem areas where people have tempting foods.
First off, if you are tempted to buy specific food you have to understand that if you are tempted to buy that food you shouldn’t be around that food.
Now, at home, if you like ice cream when you are watching TV and you know it’s in your freezer, when the Godfather-II or III comes on and you know you are going to go down and get it, don’t buy the ice cream. Don’t have those tempting foods in your house.
I have told my patients and they have concurred with me. “If I don’t have ice cream in the freezer I am not going to go down the 7/11 and get it. If it’s not there I’ll find something else.” Don’t buy the tempting food because if it’s there it’s going to call your name and you are going to listen and it’s eventually going to call you.
In the work situation, try not to have any of the snacks or foods that people bring and say, “And Jenny made this for me. My father gave me this. I want to share this with you.” One of the great lines I have used with my patients is when that is presented to you, you don’t want to offend your friends because they have made these brownies or this cake for you and you certainly don’t want to give them the impression that you are not anxious to help them. I tell them look them in the eye and say, “No, thank you. I had all that I care for,” and then just gently remove yourself from that.
In a social situation where it’s usually difficult because there’s so much food and so much alcohol get a glass of sparkling water or diet Coke, hold it in your hand, hold your purse or put your hand in your pocket. When the au dourves come around your hands are full. There’s no more alcohol because you are drinking on something.
When people sit down and there’s someone not eating food, they don’t like that. It makes a certain amount of psychic tension. When everyone has a plate in front of them everyone’s happy. Doesn’t matter if you are eating it. If you have a plate there and you are eating slowly, everyone will be fine. No one will try to push food upon you.
So avoid a food by not putting in your house. Don’t be around food in a social situation, and have something in your hand and say, ”Oh, I’m working on something. I have had all that I care for, no, thank you,” and when you are in a situation where people want to give food to you just let them know, “I am really comfortable. I have had all that I care for, and no, thank you.”
When people ask me these questions and I tell them not to have these tempting foods, they say, “Well, maybe if I think this is a bad food for me and if I eat this food, I’ll gain weight.” That’s a logical consequence, but what I have found from many of my patients is that that plants a seed that “Oh I can’t have that food. I want that food and I can’t have it. That forbidden food makes me want it even more.”
So if you must have the food, moderation in all things. Have a bite. Have two bites. Understand the very important fact, you are in control of your weight. You are in control of what you put in your mouth. Of all the problems that you have today one of the easiest problems to solve is what you do by your own volition.
If you don’t take it up and put it in your mouth you are controlling how many calories you have. You are in ultimate control of your weight and you are in ultimate control of what you put in your mouth. Elect to put less in to your mouth.
About Dr. Peter Vash, M.D., M.P.H.:
Dr. Vash is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Center for Health Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is a Board Certified Internist specializing in Endocrinology and Metabolism, with an emphasis in obesity and eating disorders.