The Art and Power of the Polite Decline


We’ve all experienced THAT ‘look’. You know the one that your mum, your aunty, your grandmother or even your neighbour gives you when you’re offered food and you try to say NO! It’s such a powerful look that makes you feel so guilty that you usually give in and take the Kueh as they watch to make sure you have gobbled up every morsel of it. And it’s even worse in some cultures such as Asian, Southern European, Middle Eastern.

Active8me The art and power of the polite decline say no murukku

You don’t want to disappoint them or appear rude and you definitely don’t want to feel THAT look bear down on you. However, you’ve got fitness and health goals which are important to you and your future. So to help you, today we’ve put together some ideas on how to maintain your will power (and your waistline) with the art of a ‘polite decline’ when you’re offered unwanted foods.

Tip 1 – Be firm but kind when you say NO

The key is to be kind, yet firm in your rejection. Unfortunately, whether you mean it or not, your family or friends may take it as a rejection when you say no to a snack. So the aim is to appease them without them feeling rejected.

Say NO scenario 1

Being offered a plate of  Murukku.

  • You can respond with simple, non-confronting body language – a smile and slight shake of your head; or the phrase
  • “No, I’ll pass this time, thank you so much”
  • When they ask, “Are you sure?” or give you that head tilt, questioning look with the plate pushed towards you – “No thank you. I’m sure I don’t want it”

Active8me Say No

Say NO scenario 2

You think you have dodged the guilt bullet, but then the questioning begins…”why?” Again, approach it firmly and with a smile.

  • “I’m just not up for it today”
  • “I’ve reached my quota for sugary stuff”
  • “No, it’s okay. I’m not hungry”

Say NO scenario 3 

They just don’t seem to want to take ‘no’ for an answer and again give you THAT look, with an authoritative “It’s ok, just one won’t hurt!”

  • “It’s really okay, thank you so much – I would be happy if you took my share for yourself”
  • “Ahhhh, thanks, but I’m working on being healthier and have already reached my limit for treats and you know I wouldn’t be able to stop at just one!”

That last point may even lead to you being able to share your health, fitness, weight loss or body transformation journey and educate others on how you’re trying to be healthy! We promise, the more you practice saying ‘no’, the easier it will get. Not only does it set expectations, but this becomes a new habit and before you know it you won’t bow to the pressure of THAT look. In fact, you’ll be proud of yourself and this will build on itself and help you even more on your fitness and health journey.

Active8me Say No

Tip 2 – Confidence not weakness when it comes time to say NO

Wherever our mums, aunties, grandmothers or any knowing older woman learned THAT look, they also learned to sniff out any sign of weakness. Always smile and be firm when you say NO, as they know it’s easy to persuade someone who isn’t sure of what they want. Your confident response will prove your newfound assertiveness and allow others to respect your decision, your sureness and your ability to say ‘no’ kindly!

It’s not always easy to have the willpower to be healthy all the time, is it? We definitely know that in our own lives. Real life happens and sometimes you just don’t want to say NO. We get it. At Active8me we’re all about eating a balanced, nutritious diet that you can keep up in your everyday life over the long term.  That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. When you want to say no though, we hope these tips help you with the art and power of the polite decline. So you can build great habits that serve you well on your fitness and health journey.

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