Why Saying No May Be The Best Choice
We sometimes think of ‘No’ as a bad thing. A big, fat, red stop sign in the middle of our street. In fact, Intuitive and Normal Eating ideologies teach us that we should stop saying no to ourselves. That we should indulge our wants and desires, because restriction and deprivation are what lead us to binge and overeat and even eat emotionally in the first place. However, has it occurred to you that sometimes saying ‘no’ is exactly what you need to do?
Most of us have a plethora of opportunities to eat coming our way every day. That can easily be a problem because the temptation to say ‘yes’ to everything is overwhelming – after all, who knows when that opportunity is going to come your way again (FOMO)? And food adverts are designed with their “limited time only” offerings and appealing images to make you want it. But by saying ‘yes’, you might be hurting your efforts to master your eating.
So how can you tell where you should say no to eating or no to a food?
- How will eating this food benefit you? There are only so many hours in a day and only so many opportunities to nourish yourself properly without burdening your body. So when you’re looking at an opportunity, you need to decide if this is something that will be worth what you get out of it. To figure that out, ask yourself what this opportunity will do for you. Will it propel you forward or set you back? Does it lift you up or tear you down? Does it fill a current need? Will it enhance your health? Is it something enjoyable and without guilt? All of these factors are important to take under consideration.
- What is the total cost of eating this food? Most of us only think in the moment about a food – and will it taste good. But we also need to consider what it will cost us emotionally in terms of guilt or regret? Physically in terms of energy or lethargy? Weight loss or gain? What will this cost you? Is this a fair return?
- Are there any red flags? For example, are you considering eating something you know doesn’t agree with you? Is this something that’s considered “off plan” for you (whatever that is)?
- How do you feel about it? Is this a food you can eat and feel positive about (without guilt)? Or is the only way you can truly is it is if you promise to try harder or “get back to it” tomorrow?
- Will friends or family suffer if you eat this food? Have you made a public commitment to others to stay away from this food or type of food? Would eating this food be perceived (even by you) as a backslide back into your “addiction”? Will this “one taste” derail you?
- Will this impact YOU in a negative way? If you’re making progress (even slow progress) diverting from your path and plan might not be beneficial for you. Remember, that if your health suffers, so will other areas of you life – and vice versa.
- Have you talked this out with people you trust? It might be a different perspective is all you need to determine when saying ‘no’ might be the better option.
Food and eating opportunities come along all the time. In the long run, knowing when to say ‘no’ will benefit your emotional and physical health more than saying ‘yes’ to everything opportunity ever could. Take a breath and focus on what’s important and don’t let yourself be distracted by the things that aren’t going to get you where you truly want to go.