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Mental Health, | 03.31.22

How to Ask for What You Need and Say NO

When making a big change in life, whether it is healing from an addiction or changing your lifestyle for the better, it’s likely that you will find yourself in situations where it can be difficult to assert your needs. For many, it can be a struggle to set boundaries and say no to things that do not align with their goals and values. Saying yes can seem like the easier choice, as this allows people to avoid discomfort or preserve relationships. The good news is that saying “no” is a skill that can be practiced and strengthened. 

Here are some strategies to help you say no confidently and guilt free…

Be polite, but firm.

A simple “No thank you” can be effective. Say it in a respectful manner with a smile, and move on. Some people may ask follow-up questions out of their own insecurities or curiosity, but some people will accept it without a second thought.

Be honest.

Talk to your family and friends about your food and lifestyle goals and why these changes are so important to you. If they truly care for you, then your goals will mean something to them as well. Give them a chance to love and support you through this journey.

Saying “I don’t” vs. “I can’t”

When someone offers you a cupcake and you say that you “can’t” eat it, it sounds more like a limitation than a choice. This undermines your sense of power, which others get this impression as well. If you say you “don’t” don’t eat sugar it is experienced as empowering and within your control, as it is a choice you made. This shows others your determination and may make them think twice about questioning or pressuring you.

If someone continues to push, make the conversation about them.

People like to talk about themselves. Ask your uncle John about his most recent fishing trip. Let your cousin Sarah brag about her son’s self-evaluated genius level achievements in 2nd grade.  Steer aunt Laurie towards talking about her pet cats, who you know are really more like her children. It makes them feel good, but also takes the spotlight off of you.

When you are saying no to something, you are really saying yes to something else. In this case, you are saying yes to yourself, your goals, and your health. 

Want more support? Sign up for the Breaking Up with Sugar Course! A 6-module online course that will help you break up with Sugar and heal your relationship with food. Also, check out Molly’s youtube channel and subscribe to the Sunday Love Letter to get support, information, and motivation on your journey to create a loving relationship with food.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

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