Dear Food Pushers

Articles

Dear Food Pushers

June 26, 2013

Here’s the reality of the situation: it’s never going to stop. The attacks, I mean.

As soon as you make it known that you want to take better care of your health, people will start sneering. They will plant seeds of doubt in your mind. They will ask you if it’s really worth it, why can’t you live a little, you know one drink won’t hurt.

It is worth it. You are living – more than ever before. And one drink may not hurt, but it can also be a slippery slope (tequila, anyone?).

The irony of what’s happening is beyond baffling. Here you are, finally dedicated to making a healthy, sustainable lifestyle change. You’ve cut out binge drinking, you’ve stopped mindless snacking, you’ve finally conceded to the fact that “curling” your iPhone to your ear ten dozen times a day does not actually qualify as weightlifting. You’ve quit latenight television to get a few extra hours of quality sleep, and you get up hours before work to hit the gym.

You’d think more people would be pumped for your newfound changes.

But instead, you’re met with resistance. And lots of it.

When I first discovered fitness – strength training, prioritizing protein, and all that jazz – I was very much alone. I think it’s especially difficult to be a female in this kind of world and not be judged and alienated. When I began increasing my protein intake at lunch, piling on an extra serving of chicken here, a side of cottage cheese there, my friends at my table would jab at me. I was deemed a weirdo just because I didn’t stand in the panini line everyday and because I asked for second and third helpings of broccoli. The guys in the weight room would stare at me point blank because I was in “their” territory – I mean, shouldn’t I be off in the corner peddling away on the elliptical for an hour?

My family didn’t get it at first, either. I would come home and ask if I could have a leaner cut of meat and I would be questioned. I would be offered dessert and I’d politely decline and I would be accused of being selfish and rude. Just one, they’d say. You can have just one. Or, your mother made this especially for you. Do you really want to hurt her feelings?

[Tweet “Much of the time, people mean well. But other times, they have no idea what they’re doing to you.”]

Food pushers. That’s what they are. Anyone who, intentionally or not, attempts to sabotage your fitness efforts by constantly offering you food and pressuring you into making poor dietary decisions. These may be your coworkers who ask you time and time again if you want a slice of birthday cake, a handful of m&m’s, a bite of pizza – despite being fully aware that you are focused on your diet. Your roommate, your friend, your grandmother. A one-time occurrence is nothing to get worked up over. But these food pushers… damn, are they ever persistent.

And boy, do they ever bring you down.

If there’s anything I could have said back then to get them to realize the magnitude of the grief they imposed onto my life, this would be it….

 

Dear Food Pushers,

 

I know you don’t quite get it, because if you did, I’m positive you would not be doing what you’ve been doing.

Please try to understand. What I’m doing is not easy. Hitting the gym consistently, chugging water, turning down my favorite sweet potato fries – this is all very, very difficult for me to do. But I’m sticking with it because I’m putting my health first and I’d like to be in the best shape of my life. It’s hard enough as it is to make all the sacrifices to live this way.

I am well aware of how delicious the food you are offering me is. You do not need to describe to me in fine detail the texture and moisture of the fudge brownie you have jammed down your throat. I don’t need to hear about how that chicken alfredo is the best pasta you’ve ever had in your life. You don’t need to hold those breadsticks under my nose so that I can smell how scrumptious they are. Really, you don’t. I believe you.

Am I sure that I don’t want that cake? No, I’m not sure. The truth is that I would love a bite or twenty. Because who doesn’t like birthday cake? I do want some, but I also have bigger goals in mind. A little bit of instant gratification is not going to get me where I want to be.

And if I show up to a party and sip on seltzer all night, please leave it alone. You think I’m no fun because I’m not throwing back beers and taking shots like it’s nothing; I think you’re annoying for making it an issue in the first place.

I say nothing while I watch you clog your arteries with that deep-fried crap. Some things that I could say to you include: Do you really want to be eating that? Are you certain you want to stay flabby and blame your genetics for the way you look? That’s funny you’re blaming your weight gain on motherhood because you’ve been grazing on potato chips all day. Maybe you should order the ahi tuna instead of the chicken fried steak for once.

Doesn’t feel so good to read those words now, does it? That’s exactly how I feel when you question my dietary choices. It’s rude, it’s uncalled for, and it’s really none of your concern.

Whatever choices you want to make in your life are yours to make. If you want to stay overweight and never give up your steady diet of soda, beer, and mozzarella sticks, who am I to stick my nose into your business and make you feel like dirt?

You don’t make your health a priority, but it doesn’t mean that I have to do the same.

Maybe you’re insecure about yourself and you’re projecting that onto me. Maybe you’re jealous and the fact that I am making positive changes in my life makes your blood boil.

It doesn’t matter. Cut the crap. Pretty please and thank you.

All the best,

A girl on a mission.  

6 Comments
  1. Lena 6 years ago

    I love it! I feel like printing and posting this letter on my front door! The more dedicated I become, the more haters I accumulate. I feel your pain! Oh well, I’ve heard this is pretty common, so I guess we’ll just have to live with it or give in to their temptations.

  2. Matt 6 years ago

    I’m an admitted fitness addict, and also …. *hangs head in shame* a food pusher.

    I can’t help the foodie side of me, the food pushing is for shared experiences, not birthday cake or m&m’s … everything from “Try these Kale chips’ to “Have a bite of my boca burger’ …
    You can still be a food pusher, just push the good 😉

    But great article! Thanks

  3. El 6 years ago

    This article is a breath of fresh air. And this article speaks to more than just fitness and physical health. There is historical culture amongst much of the older crowd of “food pushers”. Sharing food and insisting on it is a symbol of proper hopsitality for some cultures. You deny the food offered and you insult or worry your host. To some who have lived in hard times, fatty means and lots of carbs are treasured and treated as something to be enjoyed, not avoided. Some purely enjoy the feeling of seeing others eat because eating food and its social is related to happiness and satisfaction. Most holidays all revolve around a sort of food or another. When you isolate yourself from this, you isolate yourself from the crowd. The meaning of saying no to food can be so heavy. Lastly, saying no to food may be a trigger to loved ones of those who have suffered eating disorders. Pushing food on someone places guilt, uncertainty on anyone.

    Thank you so much voicing the feelings of not just those who are trying to be healthy but anyone subjected to food pushing and providing strength and support to those who want to make a difference in their lives. 🙂

  4. Miguel 6 years ago

    Is it fitness based or obsessive vanity? I find that many folks that are borderline “militant” about eating healthier (bragging about their bland, but super healthy meals to the ignorant masses) come from a background of some type of eating disorder, mostly from formerly overweight folks. I’m all for eating healthier and I also don’t enjoy temptation if I’m focusing on a diet at a particular time, but I don’t get all uppity about it either. Maybe its from utter fear of regression to that former (heavier) self, maybe it’s from depriving yourself of tasty food and being angry that others are enjoying some around you, but you’re not the first to rant about this, and in my humble opinion, I think it’s a negative trend. It’s on you if you want to resist or succumb to temption, in all forms, whether it be food or otherwise.

  5. Linda 6 years ago

    Can I print this off and give it to my kids? Because they are my food pushers.” Can we go to McDonald’s? Can we get Pizza tonight? I’m sick of you cooking can we eat out? ” It’s a non-stop tirade of complaints. And now that they can drive, they just go get it and eat it in front of me. Torture! Oh to be 18 and 100lbs while chowing on fast food every day.

  6. Katie 6 years ago

    I Am In the Middle Of Writing A Post About ModerAtion, But this Food Pusher Post Is 110% On Point With How I Feel Girl! It’s ToO Damn Frustrating…PS Sorry For The Typing/Capital LetTers, My Phone Had A Mind Of Its Own

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