I’m stuffed! (And other ways to say “no” to more food in English.)

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David Clode

Food delivery businesses charge between 20–30% of the gross order value for the service they provide. Almost always, they also ask the owner to buy the equipment necessary for accepting orders. These are real figures, quoted by sales teams. The highest quotation was 35%, plus a €400 “listing fee”.

The argument runs that these services provide incremental business to restaurants and, although the fee eats the gross profit on the order, the extra volume allows fixed costs to be compensated — the cost of the kitchen, the staff, rent etc.

However, the reality of the situation is very different. A 2017 Morgan Stanley report stated that 43% of online food orders were replacing restaurant eating, up from 38% in 2016. This is not incremental business, this is cannibalizing existing business.

A restaurant owner quoted in a recent New Yorker article compared these apps to “‘crack cocaine’. An income stream that his business had become dependent upon but that might ultimately be running them into the ground.” Many owners report that at best, their food delivery business is breakeven; at worst, losing money.

Get Prepared

Sad, but true: In some cases, a food pusher may be hoping you will fail at weight loss. There are those who are driven to sabotage someone trying to lose weight. They may be uncomfortable with your weight loss because of their own weight issues, they might dislike eating certain foods alone, or they could be jealous or threatened by attention you may be receiving. They could also lack understanding about nutrition and dieting.

Whatever the cause, it is important that you are assertive, but not aggressive (which will only worsen the situation), when you say no.

Practice being assertive in similar situations or maybe even while looking into the mirror. It may look silly, but if doing so will help you be stronger when the real thing happens, it's worth it.

Prepare yourself to deal with a food pusher by using these tactics:

  • Find ways to spend time together that don't revolve around food.
  • Bring your own healthy snacks to social events.
  • Pair up with like-minded people who also have healthy goals.
  • Don't arrive to a food event hungry.

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A Word From Verywell

Even if you can't find the "right" way to say no, chances are no permanent damage will be done to the relationships in your life when you do, so stick to your guns. It's not worth avoiding a few ruffled feathers to eat something you truly don't want to take into your body. You have the right to make your health top priority. Remember, no one but you is in control of your own behavior.


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