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Be Assertive, Get Ripped
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Chris Shugart
Editor / V-Diet Author

Join date: Oct 2002
Location:
Posts: 16734

Be Assertive, Get Ripped

Mike has a decision to make. He has three choices. Only one is correct.

The situation: Mike's officemate has walked over to his desk and handed him a piece of birthday cake. It's always someone's birthday in the office. Cake is policy. But Mike is trying to get lean for summer and has tightened his diet.

Choice 1: Mike can get aggressive: "No, you waddling whale, I don't want cake. If I ate cake I might look like you someday. Then I'd have to harpoon myself and donate my carcass to starving Japanese orphans!"

Choice 2: Mike can be passive and eat the cake "out of politeness."

Choice 3: Mike can say, "None for me, but thanks" and smile. When his officemate persists -- and she will -- he can say, "No, thanks" again, smile again, and look her in the eyes. Firm, but polite.

In the spectrum of communication, there are three levels:

1. Aggressive
2. Assertive
3. Passive

Aggressiveness works, but it also makes you a flaming asshole.


Back off with that bagel, fat-pants!

Passiveness is "nicer" but it's also a big fat FAIL.

The correct choice is assertiveness.

Psychologist Terese Katz came up with the idea of applying assertiveness training to dieters. And she's right on the money. This type of behavior training is normally used to help people stop acting like doormats, or stop being assholes. (Sadly, most assholes, being assholes, have no idea that they're assholes. It's part of the whole assholipathy mental disorder.)

One study showed that at least 50% of dieters feel pressured by others to eat. Dr. Suzette Edwards uses the term "assertive dieting." I like that. I've always found that the best solution is to be friendly and excited about what you're doing, not ashamed of it. "No thanks, I'm eating this homemade hummus I brought instead. I've sworn off sweets and flour-containing foods. I'm feeling great and getting leaner. Here, try my hummus..."

See, friendly and fun, yet firm in your refusal. And 9 times out of 10, they'll start asking you about your diet and admire you for your decision. Oddly, this usually comes right after they attempt to wreck your plan. People are weird.

Lesson: Don't be a jerk. But don't be a meek mouse either.

Be proud. Stand firm. Be assertive. -- Chris

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MikeManos
Level

Join date: Feb 2008
Location:
Posts: 127

Hey, how did you find out about that?!

She's been trying to tempt me with flour and refined sugar since October...but I replied, "Thanks, but none for me. Makes me feel weazy and puts me right to sleep."

Then I gave her a few links to some recipes on this site, and she said that she would check them out, try them, and if they come out good she'll bring me some. Let's see how that goes.

Hey, I may be on to something here... =)

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Defiance
Level

Join date: Oct 2009
Location: Norway
Posts: 195

When i first did a ketogenic diet, I used to get that alot! Everyone wanted to feed me cake, potatoes, beer and whatnot. I had no problem saying "no thank you". I knew i couldn't eat it, so after a while i didn't bother thinking about it as an option. The craving, or the desire was not a problem.

What was a problem was when people nagged me to eat. "come on, treat yourself! Just a tiny bit cant hurt!"
It gets all awkward, and i have to explain my diet. Most people even think its a terrible and most likely very dangerous diet...

It may hurt my grandmas feelings if i don't taste one of the 15 cakes she baked that day, but it would hurt me and my self respect more if i did.

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Icarus
Level 5

Join date: Feb 2003
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 536

Being the asshole worked for me once. Everyone got the message that day. I was just fed up with the constant pushing of the Type II diabetes cakes (bagels) for breakfast at work when we had meetings. It really worked cuz I took off the CEOs head in front of everyone. He and I are friends, so he knew I was serious, but everyone else thought I had gone mental. Since then (well, up until we were bought by IBM) we had eggs and bacon available as well.
Being nice/assertive doesn't always work if you are surrounded by (dietary) idiots.

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RTJenforcer
Level

Join date: Mar 2009
Location: Wales
Posts: 835

I think you can only be assertive to a point. I get offered cake and sweets at work, politely say "no thank you", and then get grilled as to why I won't eat my weight in cake and why I don't "Live a little". One guy even said to me "You're going to wake up as an old man and wonder why you never enjoyed yourself", which I found pretty insulting to my way of life. Needless to say this came from a guy who doesn't look like he's going to ever live to be an old man.

I feel like my only choice is to reply that living for me doesn't involve gorging myself into a diabetic coma.

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Con@n
Level 2

Join date: Dec 2008
Location: District of Columbia, USA
Posts: 330

I'm aggressive, than cave once everyone gives up on me. What's that called?

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'nuffsaid
Level 1

Join date: Jul 2006
Location:
Posts: 524

Your post is particularly apt given that mnay people who overeat are actually not very assertive people, or cannot deal with pressure constructively. I am one of these and have been working on dealing with stress in ways other than simply leaping (or stumbling) for comfort food when my feelings are hurt or after I've been in a conflict situation. I have succeeded in this and no longer automatically reach for food if upset/angry etc. Now I'm working on all my other issues related to mood and food!

But the stress management has been a biggie...

Regarding people who press food on one - I once got cornered at a party by this woman forcing a cake on me. I kept saying "no thanks" and retreating but she had me up against a wall with a plate in my face. Then I said the magic words: "I'm diabetic!" and she whizzed off instantly.

"No" she didn't get. "Diabetic" she understood.

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VTBalla34
Level 5

Join date: Mar 2009
Location: District of Columbia, USA
Posts: 7531

I have to wonder about the manner in which a lot of people here carry themselves and manage their interactions with other people if turning down food is a big deal for you...I can think of only a handful of times in my life that I have had to say "no" more than once when someone was trying to get me to do ANYTHING that I didn't want to do, much less eat something I didn't want...

Do you portray yourselves as a weak submissive person in your everyday lives that people can't take your declinations seriously?

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Chris Shugart
Editor / V-Diet Author

Join date: Oct 2002
Location:
Posts: 16734

It can be tough, definitely.

Very well-meaning grandma or aunt makes a whole-grain muffin "just for you!" Yeah, you eat it and smile. Next time, you bring the almond flour muffins. Not the end of the world.

BUT, with co-workers, friends, and every other family member doing the same thing to you, you do have to draw a line somewhere and sack-up sometime.

The "I'm diabetic/allergic" thing may not be the best long-term answer, but it'll end the awkward discussion quickly if that's what you need.



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Karado
Level

Join date: Jul 2012
Location: Illinois, USA
Posts: 1302

Tough? Not for me, maybe because I've practiced enough psychological jiu-jitsu
to bypass well meaning family and friends trying to stuff my face with junk food
for as long as I can remember.
They are being disrespectful however, if they constantly hound you about eating that Pizza
knowing full well already for years about your diet and lifestyle, which in that case
I'll avoid that scenario in that particular area where the 'temptation' is...WHY?

Because we have the freedom to move to another area of house or yard when that vexing spirit of
temptation is near, Personally I'm enough of an "empath" due to age and experience to get the
fuck away from that area because I can sense the coming temptation from a mile away.
In the past I told inappropriate jokes around people, that usually cleared the room and in
turn avoided me just before their gluttonous orgy...;)

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robstein
Level 10

Join date: Feb 2013
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 266

The same thing happens to me, I'm a teacher and almost daily there are bagels, donuts and chocolates in the teachers lounge that someone brings in. When they try to justify their eating with "come on you can have some what's the big deal, you're a fit guy!" is when it gets a little tough to deal with, for some reason people seem to be offended when you don't eat the crap they do. But at the end of the day they're full of garbage and I'm not.

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Chris Shugart
Editor / V-Diet Author

Join date: Oct 2002
Location:
Posts: 16734

Robstein, as an ex-teacher I feel your pain. Walking through the lounge was like running the gauntlet!

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robstein
Level 10

Join date: Feb 2013
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 266

Yes it is! Tuesday there was a chocolate brownie tasting for Fat Tuesday (how very appropriate,) I went in during lunch to use the microwave and faced a barrage of "YOU'RE NOT HAVING ANY BROWNIES?! THERE ARE 5 DIFFERENT KINDS YOU HAVE TO TASTE THEM ALL! I WILL BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN IF YOU DON'T EAT ONE!" Maybe not the last part but the rest is true.

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Smurphy
Level 2

Join date: Feb 2008
Location:
Posts: 34

Chris Shugart wrote:
One study showed that at least 50% of dieters feel pressured by others to eat.


This is so true. Not a day goes by in the office without someone offering me a donut or asks me if I want to go to some fast food joint. Fridays are the worst. My company gives away free beer to say thanks for our work and there's always someone that drops a cold can of Harp or Saporo off on my desk.

Those bastards just want us to grow anchors around our midsections so we don't get up from our desks.


See, friendly and fun, yet firm in your refusal. And 9 times out of 10, they'll start asking you about your diet and admire you for your decision. Oddly, this usually comes right after they attempt to wreck your plan. People are weird.


I've tried this approach many times and they'll move on and try to be "polite" or "friendly" another day by offering me junk food. Alternatively they go on to say that I have crazy eating habits and that dieting in general is stupid, blah blah blah. These are all fat people by the way so I pay them no mind.

I just want to say thanks for all the support that your articles provide. It's nice to see that there are people out there that refuse to stay fat.

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