Welcome to episode #2 of the Happy Holiday Eating Series!! 

Today we are talking about how to politely decline foods when you want to say “No!” so you can feel free to say yes to what you really want! This one is for all the people pleasers out there as I share the how to say no framework. We are talking about boundaries babe and I have 2 steps on how to say no (nicely of course) and draw boundaries with food this holiday season.

Why?? Because, it is hard to say no to food, especially when it is from people we love. 

say no to food

I am so excited to talk about this topic because boundary setting is crucial to our own success. There are two parts to why I love this discussion of boundaries: 

#1- It is empowering!

When we learn to say yes and no to the foods that best support our body it tremendously contributes to letting go of guilt because we stand confident in our own choices.

#2- What we practice on our plate we learn to exhibit in our life.

Empowered Eating is life-changing. Can I go deep for a second?

In the words of author Geneen Roth:  “The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, and transformation.” 

So often we divert our emotions onto our feelings about food and our body. At face value, it feels easier to “fix” our body than it does to “fix” the hard things. We use food as a coping tool (be it restriction or binging).

So while this is true from a negative angle, I know it also to be true from a positive angle! When we learn empowered eating we are learning empowered living. Truly the empowered eating model can be applied anywhere. It is so cool how this model can be reshaped to fit each area of our life. Food is a doorway to a deep sense of living. This is MY FAVORITE part of my job. This is the part where I have to pinch myself…. When I see my clients go from chaotic, confused eating and insecurity to empowered eating… and then it turns into empowered living. Suddenly their healthy body and mindset are now their platform for their awesome. I love watching it. I lived this and I have to tell you… the work is worth it!

If you are thinking: Jess! I want in on the empowered eating life but don’t know how to get there. I have all these resources for you over at jessbrownrd.com. You can learn more about my empowered eating model in my self-paced e-course Food Foundations or I would love to walk with you as your personal coach. But as for today… below are your two steps to politely decline.

Step #1 A quick lesson on disappointing people.

When we say no to something, there is a chance we will disappoint someone. Food is a love language and so often we express our love, especially during the holidays, in the form of food. Here is the good news, you get to decide who you are going to disappoint. And it gets easier over time.

In one of my all-time favorite books “Present over Perfect” Shanna Niequest says that in order to feel comfortable saying no and disappointing people we need this: “What you need along the way is a sense of God’s deep, unconditional love and a strong sense of your own purpose. Without those 2 you’ll need from people what is only God’s to give, and you’ll give up on your larger purpose in order to fulfill smaller purposes or other people’s purposes.”

How this applies to our plate is that we need a deep sense of our definition of health and our goal in how we want to take care of our body. If you are thinking that sounds great but how do I figure this out? I have an entire module on this in Food Foundations where you take the time to establish your value and redefine health. It is so crucial. Because in any health journey, learning how to say no to food when it doesn’t fit your goal is a link in the chain that you need to be solid.

Step #2— Finding the words to politely decline.

I once heard the quote that “No is a complete sentence.” I like to add thank you to that and think “No thank you” is a complete sentence. In other words, your no’s don’t need an explanation attached and you have the authority to just say no. Now… as I mentioned I am a recovering people pleaser and this sounds really great in theory but it is hard for me! So here are some other ways to lovingly say no thank you:

“I am deeply honored you made this for me. Unfortunately, my current health circumstance requires that I pass this time.”

“Thank you for the thought you put into this! While I would love to, I have health focuses that won’t allow me to eat this at this time.”

“This looks so delicious! While I am unable to partake, I know many others will thoroughly enjoy this!”

Cheers, and happy holiday eating!

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