Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just Say No

One of the things I've had to realize as I learn to manage my food addiction is that some people will not take no for an answer.

Well-meaning, good-intentioned, good-hearted people who think they're being nice and doing you a favor when the reality is, they're doing the opposite.  Of course, they don't realize this and couldn't be expected to know this.

You know what I'm talking about.  The person who wants to buy you lunch to "celebrate" some one thing or another.  The person dropping off candy in your office.

If there is one thing I wish I could shout from the mountaintops to the entire world, it would be this: never offer food to a food addict.  And if you do, when they say "no thanks," walk away.

If somebody were a recovering alcoholic, you wouldn't try and convince them to have "just one" or try a healthy version of alcohol.  Or try and convince them that one visit to the bar won't kill them.

I make it from one day to the next by carefully planning out and bringing with me what I am going to eat. It's what I have to do to get by.  It's one of the only reasons for my success thus far and the only way it will continue.  I need that control to get by.

So about 80% of the people who offer me food take no offense and simply move on when I say "no thanks."  Thank you, 80%.  I love you.

Then there's the 10% that says "are you sure?"  This 10% is semi-persistent, but gives up after the second "no thanks."

And then there are the people I call the "force feeders."  The final 10%.  The force feeders will stop at nothing to get you to eat the food they want to make/buy/bring for you.

Declining doesn't get me anywhere with these people. They never give up. In the end, my answer remains the same, but somebody's feelings are always going to get hurt.

So why am I so inflexible?  Because it works for me.  But food can be an emotional subject with people.  Our society, for hundreds of years, has made food into a gift, a celebration, a reward, a show of respect, a sign of love, etc.  Sometimes, when you turn down food being offered in this spirit, people are genuinely hurt and offended.  And to those people I say: I'm sorry, but I just can't.

To me, food is none of those things and can never be again.  It is just fuel for my life.  That's all. So when I say "no thanks," don't take it personally.

It's just how I roll these days.

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