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Old 11-14-2010, 08:24 PM   #1  
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Default How do I politely say no thanks?

I go to law school. As part of my work study I tutor other students in classes I already took. One of my "students" that I no longer teach is from China. He literally arrived like 3 days before classes started, so his main problem was he was having trouble understanding the professors (they spoke to quickly). After a month or two he felt he could keep up by himself and so I no longer tutor him. He and his wife are very nice. And they've invited me over for diner two times now. The first time I couldn't go...and now I felt I had to say yes to be polite.

The thing is I really don't like to go places and eat food when I don't know how many calories are in it. I know it will be Chinese food-because that's where they are from and what they eat daily. And I know in their culture that they are very generous with guests, etc. So I feel like they're going to cook a lot of food-that I'm sure will be very good-and I'll feel like I have to eat it. How do I politely eat very little? Or say no? I really don't want to derail my diet because I'm trying to be polite...but I know myself, and if they're being super sweet and putting lots of food on my plate I'll feel rude if I don't eat it. Sigh. Any suggestions??
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:32 PM   #2  
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Asians are obsessed with dieting and being skinny. Just say you're on a diet and they should say "oh okay."

If you are super concerned about the calories, eat light for breakfast and lunch and allow yourself 800-1000 calories for dinner.
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:38 PM   #3  
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I have Chinese neighbors who give me food, I just say Thanks, I will eat it later. They seem OK with that.

Last edited by bargoo; 11-14-2010 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:44 PM   #4  
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Just tell them that the food is delicious and ask to take the rest home in a doggy bag or something. Sometimes it seems like the situation is not as tough as we make it out to be, when I started my diet and just had to pull it together at family dinners and say "no", or I offered a healthier alternative. In fact, once I even offered to cook the dinner myself. If you can't avoid the problem, then I agree with krampus, just try to allocate your calories properly, and toss in an extra workout. If you believe in yourself, one sticky day won't slow you down, keep working at it!
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:36 PM   #5  
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I'm sure if you just explained the situation, they'd understand. It's not rude to refuse food you don't want to eat, so long as you do so in a polite way. I think it's ruder to eat the food anyway, because then you just end up resenting what should have been a fun situation with nice people.
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:36 PM   #6  
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I think maybe lowering your calories the rest of the day prior to going over. Sometimes I think when we're dieting and losing weight we get somewhat caught up in it. You shouldn't have to avoid social situations where food is involved to stay on the diet. Just keep the rest of the day in check.. and the next day if the scale goes up a bit (probablly wont due to one meal) do a little bit of extra calorie burning. As long as it doesnt become a regular thing you will be fine. And I bet they wouldnt be offended if you say no to seconds or a heaping dessert.
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Old 11-15-2010, 06:04 AM   #7  
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I lived and worked in China for four years. Culturally, it is VERY hard to say no to food when you are a guest, especially in someone's home.

I would be upfront with your friend before you even go over. Tell him that you are working on losing weight and you really don't eat much. Tell him you are worried that you will offend him and his wife if you don't eat a lot, but you really CAN'T eat that much (use the word can't, not won't).

When you go over, stick to your guns. Maybe even remind them that you are not eating a lot . . . but, to be polite, compliment everything! Tell them how good it is and how much you wish you could eat more, but you can't. Eat very, very slowly, and do NOT clean your plate or they will put more on it. Tell them you could not eat one more bite, you ae so full.

If they offer, take some home, tell them you will eat it all over the next few days, and then chuck it.

Also, it's very polite and respectful to take a small gift when you are visiting a Chinese home. My suggestion would be fruit - clementines or oranges are a good choice - and that becomes your dessert, which would be filling and low-cal. The gift also will lessen the impact of your not eating so much.

Man, I'm jealous! I want homemade Chinese food!

Last edited by JenMusic; 11-15-2010 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:41 PM   #8  
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Well, I tried to limit the food intake but as JenMusic astutely pointed out once your plate is close to empty--not even empty more food appeared on it. I ate way too much. Sigh. Dessert was an apple. Which was good. I have been super good today too. Sooo I think I'm just going to call it a wash and hope it doesn't mess up my week too badly.

Thanks for all of your tips! In the end the communication barrier was too much though (he wasn't really a friend, it was just his way of thanking me for tutoring him). I talked too much and ate too much. Lol.

Ive never had Chinese like that though. It was actually very light-it was just the friend rice that got me.
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