Learning to Say No to Food

Learning to Say no to Food
©Danielle Maclnnes 2016

Two years ago, if you would have offered me something to eat I would always say yes. If you were picking up the tab I would eat, and eat a lot. If you served me too much food I would eat everything on my plate. No matter how stuffed I got, I would eat until there was no food left on my plate or until I felt like I couldn’t eat anymore.

Growing up, I was trained to finish the food served to me because it was disrespectful to leave anything on my plate especially if the food was given to me as a guest from someone who cooked for me while I was visiting. This habit was ingrained into me as a little girl that after puberty it all caught up to me. It (my weight) became worse as I got my drivers license and began to drive more.

I could not control my weight.

I never knew why. I would work out and felt stuck. I’m telling you that my problem was so bad that I would plan my meals in advance. I didn’t know why I couldn’t shave off the extra weight but at the same time, my reason to wake up in the morning was to have breakfast. I would obsess over what I was going to eat.

My problem was that food was controlling me and I couldn’t say no to food.

I needed to learn how to say no to food. No one has ever taught me how to do this. Like I said earlier, I would always welcome food into my life. It didn’t matter how or when but I never knew I was overeating. My mindset was, “If I don’t eat now, I may never eat again”.

I knew one thing, and that was that I had to do some math. I had to figure out how much I was eating and how much I actually needed to eat. Based off of cereal boxes, I needed, at maximum, 2300 calories of food a day. I knew with that little information I was going to fix my problem.

I downloaded an app that helped me keep track of my calories. I ate normally because I wanted to see what I was doing wrong. I tracked myself for a week and I saw the big number. My daily average calorie intake was over 4000 calories.

That number haunted me. I became disgusted with my eating habits. I know that I didn’t weigh too much but if I continued I knew I was going to keep gaining weight. The biggest I ever weighed was 145lbs.  To be honest, I don’t even think I finished a week of tracking how I regularly ate. I was disturbed so quickly I moved fast to make a change in my eating habits. Food had a hold on me and it was taking over my weight. Food took over my lifestyle. Everything I did throughout the day revolved around how I was going to feed my husband and myself.

I needed to say no to food.

My experiment happened around winter and it was the time of the year where I knew I was going to be offered food everywhere I went. I had to learn to control my meals. I went to serve myself at a party and forgot that I was practicing to control my eating habits. I looked at my plate and told myself that this is the beginning of me not finishing everything on my plate.

I actually forced myself to eat just enough. I threw away the rest.

I was full, and I felt good. I learned that when I take that deep breath while I’m eating my stomach is telling me that I am done. That’s my stomach letting me know that I do not need to eat anymore.

I continued practicing control over my food for a month and felt lighter. I didn’t feel sick and felt like I could more.

Why learning to say no is important

I never thought it would be such a big problem to deny food. I never wanted to be disrespectful to people if they cooked for me. I also felt bad if I threw away food. In my culture, food is a luxury. I mean, I’m not the only person who had a mother who would bring up the children in Africa who were hungry when I complained I had too much food.

This habit was instilled with me and it had to be broken. That goes for everyone. We eat to live, not live to eat.

Practicing to say no to food will not only form a new habit but you’ll see instant results quickly. I lost 10 1bs by watching what I eat. I keep eating until I breathe that heavy breath and then put my food away. I will pack my meal so I can eat it another day or I’ll throw it out.

I don’t feel bad throwing away excess food anymore because I realized I would rather be fit and ready for an emergency than to have extra weight on me and have less of a chance of helping someone when they’re in need.

If food has a hold on you I encourage you to learn to say no. After you count your calories, I would begin cutting down on food by choosing 1 food item that you know you can live without. My biggest thing was chocolate chip cookies and chocolate ice cream. I haven’t said no my cookies but at least, I gave up chocolate ice cream. I would eat that every day and now I’ll have to buy chocolate ice cream at dinner to eat it. To this day, I eat about one cookie a day but I eat them with a meal. They get digested together. I rather eat them with a meal than to eat them solo when I’m starving because I know my body will use those cookies some way and there is less of a chance of my body throwing away the cookie in poop.

My suggestions step by step

  1. Eat normally and count your calories
  2. Do the math, if you’re obviously eating too much get to the goal of eating 2,300 calories a day.
  3. no rush, cut out foods slowly. Eat healthy Monday-Thursday and on the weekend enjoy desserts
  4. Eat less than 2,300 if you want to lose more weight but never go below 1,200.

Keep at it people, I hope this works out for you as much as it has worked out for me. Do not let food be your crutch. Instead of eating go for a run, play a sport or practice your talent. Food has no control over you.


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