The Dreaded Question: Would you like some cake?
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The Dreaded Question: Would you like some cake?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a bit of a love-hate relationship with yummy foods like cake. I love eating cake, but I hate how I feel about myself afterwards when I have been doing so well in my quest to eat healthier foods. The fantastic Neil from Neil Welsh Nutrition has some great tips. Check out his guest post below…

The Dreaded Question: Would you like some cake?

Does this question trigger an internal monologue? “Yes…. but no… but yes (it’s only a piece of cake)… but no (I’m being good)….. but yes (I don’t want to offend)….. but no (I will regret it after wards).” Suddenly you blurt an answer: “Yes, please… but only a small piece.”

Is cake ruining your efforts to lose weight these days? Cake is everywhere, not just kid’s parties but now there’s cake if it’s someone’s birthday in the office, a family celebration, a school cake sale, a weekend outing with the family at a National Trust property or even just good old fashioned procrastobaking at home.

Sometimes it feels like every other day someone is trying to hand me a piece of cake or I find myself standing in front of some kind of gingham alter of delights. It’s even on our TVs these days, thanks a lot Great British Bake Off!

When faced with the question, “would you like some cake?” our brains can go into panic/overdrive… yes, but no, but yes… and then blurts an answer, and odds are that it is often instantly regretted, but it’s too late to take it back then.

If you’re trying to lose weight then cake might be something that you might want to back off on. I don’t believe that we should ever forbid it but even cutting down can be difficult when it is so hard to say “no”. But why is it so hard to decline cake in public? We manage it most of the time when we are on our own. We manage to resist filling our trollies with Battenberg and chocolate fudge cake the rest of the time (mostly!).

No one wants to decline cake stating that they are on a ‘diet’ (I hate that word). It’s hard to publicly state that you’re trying to lose weight. It carries with it a sense that you are confessing that you’re dissatisfied with your body image. You torture yourself with the fact that people will now be judging you as to whether or not you can lose the weight. Will you be seen as weak and a failure if you can’t shift the kgs? What if you fail? You have in the past. Arrrrgh!

Saying “no” can make you feel bad but it can also make those around you feel bad. The result can be that those who do decide to indulge feeling defensive about their own choices and feel animosity towards you. There is nothing wrong with eating cake and any change in lifestyle that is going to work in the long term should not make any food forbidden but if you don’t want to feel like you have to say yes every time there is an unhealthy food choice presented to you, there are options:

Option One:

I’m full. Not always applicable, especially if you’re sitting down to an afternoon cup of tea and get offered a piece of cake, but the simple “I’m full” answer can often get you out of a sticky situation.

Option Two:

I’m gluten free. Going gluten free for a while, albeit tactically, can help explain your lack of desire for cake. The problem comes if next time they lovingly prepare you a Free From option.

Option Three:

Accept a piece of cake and then toss it when no one’s looking. Great for busy celebrations, not so good when grandma finds half an Eccles cake in her plant pot.

Option Four:

Take a small piece and eat half. Often a good technique for getting out of a situation where a cake has been made just for you.

Option five (my personal favourite):

It makes me feel rubbish (and it’s true). It can make you feel great for five minutes, but if we are mindful of how we feel 45 minutes later, the after effects are rarely good. After the spike in blood glucose levels, there’s then a crash which results a flood of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which raise our hearts rate and makes us feel shaky and nauseous.

Whatever option you use, it is important not to over explain, which I think we all have a tendency to do sometimes. This is not an essay question, it just requires a short answer.

People will tend not to make a big deal out of it. Reports have shown that two thirds of Brits are on a diet at one time or another and most people will respect this. More to the point no one really wants to hear the ins and outs of your eating habits and how you don’t fit into your favourite jeans any more. Most people will respect your choice and if they don’t respect your choice, then maybe that says more about them than you.

Training your brain and visualising situations where you might have to think on your feet is one of the greatest tools in your health arsenal. Winning the mental side is the toughest part of the weight loss battle but with strategies in place it can be simple to win the war, one cakey battle at a time.

Neil Welsh helps mums achieve their dream weights by winning the psychological battles. If you don’t have time to do burpees every morning before the kids get up but you do eat food every day then he can help you reach your goals. Check out The Ultimate Guide here…

Neil has also previously written a post about the best diets for busy mums, which you can find here



  • Lianne Harris

    I used to be so bad with sweet food. I can easily demolish packs of biscuits in minutes and the weight stuck since I became a mum. I’ve started the slimming world diet and in two weeks lost 5lbs just by changing my breakfast, lunch and snacks. Rather than biscuits I have a yoghurt, rather than skipping breakfast I have apricot wheats which I pick as I do the boys breakfasts. I still have dinner and can have a dessert when out too without the guilt and still lose weight! (I have most of a whole birthday cake as it sat there and still lost weight…. its a miracle ahaha)
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next year, merry christmas!

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