When Loved Ones Become Your Pushers

Many people dread the holiday season because it can be a lonely time if you’re isolated from family and friends, or you are mourning the loss of a loved one, flooded with the memories of better times you no longer have. But for many others who have plenty of people around them, the holiday gatherings still can be a source of stress and anxiety, for reasons you might not expect.


For those of us who have ever been on a diet, attending social events can be a real challenge. Not only are there tempting foods and drinks all around you, something about manners and hospitality seems to make us obliged to consume them. Unless a person is terribly rude, no one will say a thing if you help yourself to a second slice of pumpkin pie. But dare you refuse the first slice, and suddenly its your server’s life mission to make sure you take it!

“What, are you on a diet? You don’t need to lose weight!” 🍰 “One slice won’t kill you!” 🍰 “It’s (insert occasion here), you should enjoy yourself!” 🍰 “You can go back to your diet tomorrow, live a little!” 🍰 “You’ve got to try it, Grandma made it just for you!”

The “everything-in-moderation” camp would advise you to just enjoy the event, not worry about one day, have a bite or a small piece, and of course, don’t beat yourself up over straying from your diet. That works well for some, but for others, they know that one single bite can be the match that starts an inferno.

I work with a number of clients who class themselves as “food junkies.” It may sound tongue in cheek, but a food addiction to sugar, carbs or eating in general is a very real thing. Like addictions to drugs or alcohol, a food junkie:

  • develops a tolerance, needing more and more to satisfy or feel “good”
  • obsessively thinks about food
  • hides and sneaks food to keep others from finding out
  • goes on benders or binges, deliberately or unintentionally
  • seeks out others as a “partner in crime” to indulge together
  • must abstain from trigger foods

In fact, food addicts often go to AA or NA meetings when there isn’t a local OA (Overeaters Anonymous) offered, and simply substitute the word food/carbs/treats for alcohol or narcotics. Same problem, different vice, same solution.

But when cousin Betty shows up to your holiday party and says, “No, thanks.” to the wine because she is an alcoholic, she won’t get the comments the food junkie would for that pumpkin pie offer. People know alcoholism is a real problem that can destroy a person’s life. So can food addiction.

Even if Betty shared that she’s a food addict, she may not be taken seriously. She could be anywhere from skinny to morbidly obese, looking just like you and me. We’ve heard stories and seen the alcoholic or drug addict’s tell-tale escapades, but the food addict fights her demons and suffers in private. It’s a dark secret that consumes her day and night, and would mortify her to have to share it publicly over a slice of pumpkin pie. Perhaps we should just accept that with food offers, no means no.

Our holidays and life events seem to revolve around sweets, and often we give a food gift that we baked or bought, instead of buying something the recipient might not need. Everybody’s got to eat, right? Like a kid with their Halloween candy bag in their room, a food junkie knows that if it’s in her possession, she’s going to eat it until it is gone. Or, like Superman battling kryptonite, she must get it as far away as possible and destroy it.

It may sound like a never-ending losing battle for these addicts, and if you have wrestled before with your own demons, you know how hard it can be. Believe it or not, the urges and cravings CAN be calmed and will lie dormant so that life feels “normal” again, but abstinence programs like I offer are needed. If a food plan includes any sweets at any time, it will never break the cycle. My clients have also reported wide-ranging improvements in other areas of their health, which makes perfect sense based on all that we know about insulin resistance as the root cause of our modern day illnesses.

This is not something that you have to face on your own and you would be surprised at how common a problem this is. I’ve been a food junkie most of my life and it wasn’t until I discovered Meaty Low Carb living that I finally felt back in control without obsessive thoughts about food. What a burden to have lifted off my shoulders!

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I’m Coach Cherie Ó and I work with women over 50, using quick and simple eating, movement and lifestyle changes, designed with menopause in mind, to lose weight and bring out that super-woman inside. You may not be able to leap tall buildings, but you will feel body confident in your super, sexy bad-ass self to take on whatever comes your way, even if its just enjoying life to the fullest in your Second Half. 🧡

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