Who controls what you eat?

I have just finished listening to JJ, Mike & Dom on the Edge radio station where they were doing a segment in which JJ had to ring their friend John and tell him that she doesn't eat meat.  John is having a birthday dinner you see.  JJ was completely embarrassed at having to do this, but she did and in the end it turns out some of John's guests have other requirements also, so it was all good in the end.

So here's the question - You're on a food plan of some sort (be it a "diet" or not) and you're really happy with it.  You have to go to a friends/relatives for dinner and really would rather not eat heavy pastas and puddings (if that's what's on offer).  What do you do?  

Do you explain to your friend what you'd like to eat and run the risk of offending them or do you eat it and feel guilty for days.  In either case, there is negative emotion involved, and this isn't healthy for your friendship or your weight loss efforts.  This blog is for those who are kind enough to cook us dinner (hereafter known as host), and also those who for whatever reason need to refuse a certain food choice (hereafter known as guest). We still love you, even if we don't want the food!

Food is commonly used as a way of showing love, care or affection and in many cases it can seem like we're throwing this emotion back in the faces of our friends if we 'reject' their food choice.  To all our friends - we DO still love you and we really appreciate that you would like to invite us for dinner, but please if you love and care for us, don't be offended if we have a particular food preference.  We have a preference for a reason.

To our wonderful friends...it's not about you, we're not rejecting you or the food - we are simply sticking to our goal, that's all and we'd love it if you respected that. And another question, would you prefer us to ask you for a specific dietary requirement, or would you prefer us to leave half our meal on the plate?  If JJ hadn't addressed the issue with her friend John, then this is what was likely to happen and John may have felt that the meal he cooked wasn't very good.

Food on the plate leaves the guest hungry and the host overly apologetic, it's all rather uncomfortable really. Who controls what goes in your belly? OK, this one is for the guest now.  Now, falling off the wagon is something completely different, if you choose to eat burgers and cheesecake at your friends place, that's your choice.  But if you have decided you DO NOT want to eat food like this then you have the control - no one can force feed this down your throat....or can they?

Emotionally your friends can control what you eat if you let their verbal actions, reactions and facial expressions affect you.  But let's just look at this a different way, what if you knew that the dinner was going to give you a sore tummy and ruin the rest of your night?  Which is the greater pain?  Having your friends give you grief or a sore gut?  Do you honestly believe that your friends are so mean that they would still peer pressure you to eat it, after you explain to them that it doesn't make you feel good? And on that note - just TELL your host what's up with your dietary intake and ASK if it's ok to either bring your own food or if they can make something without [insert food here]...

Better still, if you're that guilt stricken, offer to help your host cook dinner to take the burden off.

There is no need to be embarrassed or guilty about asking to not have a particular food, it's when we start demanding an entire menu that we need to pull our head in.  And think about it - you can either a) feel guilty asking...or b) feel guilty eating, or c) feel like a pain in the ass or d) get over yourself - Did you break any moral codes by requesting to not eat something that would not be right for you?  Did you kill someone?  No, so get over the guilt and silliness and start taking control of your body - after all, you only get one. And high five to JJ for addressing this tricky issue with her host.