Saying No - DOC by basicguides


									Learning to Say No—The Secret to Weight Loss

    From the time you were a child, you might have been a people pleaser. You tried to
ace your schoolwork in order to win your parents’ approval…you practiced soccer for
hours on end to win a vote of support from your coach…or you diligently practiced your
piano chords in order to earn the gratitude of your music teacher. There’s nothing wrong
with aiming to please. It can make you a respected leader, a valued friend, a comforting
mentor. However, it should be recognized that some food addictions begin with an
inability to say “no.”

    It might have begun with a Thanksgiving during your childhood when your mother
asked if you wanted a second helping of mashed potatoes. Or a teacher at your
elementary school might have given you a gold star if you cleaned your plate. You were
probably taught that it is wrong to waste food and that a hearty appetite was a good thing.
The problem is, such cues from your environment might have caused you to learn the
wrong lessons when it came to food consumption.

    In our society, many people have difficulty saying “no.” They want to be part of the
crowd and they don’t want to stand out for non-participation. They will do all they can to
blend in and that leads them to say “yes” more times than they’d like to. In fact, the
epidemic of alcohol and drug abuse may be due in part to the refusal of many people to
say “no.”

   Admitting that you have a problem overcommitting yourself is the first step to
progress. It shows that you have a great deal of insight into your own problems with food
and you want to change your bad habits and replace them with admirable ones. But this
can be difficult, given the fact that so many families have a number of rituals involving
food. Also, unlike cigarettes or marijuana, food is not considered inherently bad—nor
should it be. However, you need to learn how to use food effectively.

     Part of your training begins with learning the power of “no” or “no thank you.” You
need to learn to assert yourself, to recognize that you do not have to go along in order to
get along. You realize that you are doing yourself no favors by accepting extra helpings
of pasta—in fact, you could be doing your body a great deal of harm. The key now is to
do something about it.

    What’s the best way to undergo assertiveness training? One method you can use is
role-playing. Practice saying “no” to extra servings with the help of a friend playing the
role of adversary. In this “pretend” situation, you may feel more comfortable saying
“no.” You will also learn that saying “no” isn’t the end of the world; that you will not
automatically lose friends by taking a “negative” stance.

     Another trick you might use is making sure that you do not slouch while sitting at the
table for your meals. Slouching indicates defeat—a belief that a situation is hopeless.
With your head held high you will gain the confidence you need to say “no”—and to
mean it.
   Yet another effective strategy is to keep a journal recording your thoughts after
you’ve said “no”—either to more food or to a commitment you just can’t handle at this
time. Putting your feelings in writing can be quite cathartic. It can also help you with
problem-solving, enabling you to figure out ways that you can say “no” without hurting
another person’s feelings.

     Something else you will need to learn is that it is not necessary for you to fulfill
another person’s expectations. In other words, whether your Aunt Mary thinks you’re
eating enough really doesn’t matter. If you recognize that you are overweight, Aunt
Mary’s opinion shouldn’t be taken into account. You must do what you think is best in
order to take control of your eating. Assertiveness will not happen immediately. But,
with practice, you can learn to say “no” like a pro. And you—and your waistline—will
be better off as a result of what you’ve learned.

To top