Day 23: Start Saying No – But Nicely | 30-Day Weight Loss-athon

Welcome to Day 23 of the 30-Day Weight Loss-athon.

All tasks in the 30-Day Weight Loss-athon are adapted from my 52 Weight Loss Missions program.

Read the steps first, then take 10 minutes to think about and complete them. Ready?

What You Need:

  • A deep breath
  • A little bit of courage.

Step 1

Yesterday we accepted that committing to our weight-loss is not only not selfish – it can have all kinds of benefits for our family, friends and workmates.

So now that we accept it’s okay to protect your priorities and say no to certain demands – um, how do we do it?

The first step is to identify the times we habitually say yes when we want to say no – and sabotage our own weight-loss goals.

For instance:

  • We repeatedly agree to work late, instead of going to the gym as we’d planned
  • We go along with someone else’s suggestion to dine at the all-you-can-eat, even-the-salad-is-deep-fried restaurant for dinner, when we’d wanted to go somewhere with healthy options
  • We agree to baby-sit for a friend again, when we were hoping to do our menu planning and shopping for the week.

What are your habitual, weight-loss-sabotaging, can’t-say-no zones?

Step 2

Next, let’s focus on what you can do differently in these situations.

Here are some suggestions.

  • Saying ‘No I can’t’ can sound harsh. Instead, experiment with variations that are easier for you to say, and for the other person to hear. Some examples are:
    • I’m afraid I can’t this time
    • I’ll have to pass, but thank you for thinking of me
    • Sorry – I’m already over-committed
    • I’m not the right person to help with that. My strengths are in …
    • I would prefer…
    • I won’t be able to do that, but I can do this…
  • Role-play your response with a friend to help you build up confidence. This is especially helpful if the conversation will be with your boss or an authority figure.
  • Remind yourself that you’re saying no in order to say yes to your priorities – especially those you identified on Day 1: Find Your Real (Not Pretend) Motivation.

For the situation you identified in Step 1, what will you do differently next time?

This is a hard one for everybody – so take comfort that you’re in good company as you work on changing old behaviors. And be prepared that it may take time to develop your assertiveness muscles.

But today, make a start. Will you?

Check in!

And you’re done!

Be sure to leave your comment below to check in and stay accountable. If you’re reading this by email or in a reader then please click here to leave your comment.

See you tomorrow!

Michele Connolly

Michele Connolly helps people move from procrastination to action. She believes that taking action on your priorities makes you a happier person. Michele is the founder of Get Organized Wizard and creator of tools for business, home, and personal organization. Her programs are used by tens of thousands of people worldwide.

  • “What a compliment to be asked, if I weren’t already so overcommitted I’d love to help. How disappointing!” This is not only brutally honest but it also addresses the conflict one feels on being asked and having to say “no.”

  • Still needs to learn to say no, only with a sweet attitude! Lord help us today and everyday!

  • Saying “NO” has been extremely difficult for me. Being the middle child, I always felt compelled to be the bigger person and agree to everything. Even as an adult, it was always easier to ‘go with the flow’ than setting my own goals. It has been a long road to self discovery and challenging to ‘just say no’ but now I am proud to say I am gaining the tools to stand my ground and I don’t feel guilty as I used it, if it upsets others…let them get over it!
    It is my turn for me.

  • I have to admit sometimes it’s me I have to say “no” to. The “all you can eat” buffet, the “something more fun to do” than exercise. I am getting better everyday. Haven’t really lost much weight yet, but I do see a change in my body. My jeans are fitting better these days.

  • This one is a hard one and I don’t always accomplish this. I have made this a priority for the last year or so. It gets easier as you go. I still say yes on occasions that I don’t want to but my no’s have increased and my stress level has gone down.

  • Well, I lick the beaters, too, but making myself write down EVERYTHING that goes in my mouth has helped put a stop to that 😉 I love to bake so send dessert-type things right out the door to give to others. That satisfies my love of baking and brings smiles to other’s faces. As far as saying NO…I have a hard time saying NO to food that I know was made “just for me” by some well-meaning woman! But, I am getting better at it AND training myself (as a well-meaning woman!) to not feel badly when a guest says NO to what I’ve made “just for them”!

  • I did this on Saturday night…went out with 3 girlfriends, ended up at a restaurant ~ they had full meals and chaya shakes. I said, “no thanks, just a Diet Coke and a bowl of veggie soup for me”. Even turned down a share of the deep-fried nacho appetizer. Stayed under my self-imposed calorie limit, and felt great about it.

  • I have to work on this one. I’m such a social person that I can easily overwhelm myself and then all of a sudden I have no time for me or my family and things start falling apart. Need to work on this one for sure!

  • Maybe I should say no to baking for bake sales. I love to do it, but I also love to lick the beaters 🙂 Does it count to say “no” to the question, “what’s for dessert?” Doesn’t actually work grammatically. I am also a middle child…I wonder if they’ve done any research on THAT one!

  • This is one area of my life I’ve come a long way with in the past year. It doesn’t bother me to set boundries with others any longer. I will be helpful, as long as I can still take care of my own needs reasonably.

  • Another challenge. How to say “no” to my immediate family – that’s where I tend to cave the most. Time to start practicing!

  • Joanna I ditto that! Middle child and all. I do say no but I also say yes for the right reasons. 🙂

  • I don’t have a problem saying no thank you to things which I am not wanting to do or to eat and I find most people respect that. I have also learnt that you need to take care of yourself and your own wellbeing before you are capable of looking after others. Also since changing my exercise time to first thing when I get up instead of in the afternoon when I get home from work is working out much better. When I was doing it in the afternoon I would always find there was something else that would crop up unexpectedly which I would do rather than exercise. There are no distractions or better offers first thing in the morning therefore the exercise gets done without fail.

  • I find that it was harder for me to say no to authority and to sweets. Now I am doing much better with sweets cause all my closest friends know that I have been watching my weight since november, so it’s easier:) I used to make cakes almost every 3 weeks for 3 years for my prayer group when it was their birthday, that I have stopped after Christmas and it’s a lot easier for me. They miss my cakes but they are good:)
    I started today to look for healthy recipes to continue on my weight loss and I will be printing them and stick them in my new recipe book:)

  • I’ve actaully gotten better at getting friends to eat at places where I can find something healthy to eat, and a couple of them, I’ve even gotten to walk to a restaurant for lunch. Sitting here pondering this, I’ve just thought of a way to find another way to get some “me” time in for exercising…just need to buy some new running shoes. 🙂

  • I don’t have a problem saying no to others, just to myself, but I am learning to very quickly. No to the movie, and yes to a walk. No to a high calorie dessert, but yes to healthy low calorie foods that can give me health and energy. By saying yes to something different, it is easy to say no. No to going out to eat, but yes to a workout.

  • I have always had a hard time saying no, to others, and it has made me pay the price, of being super stressed and very over loaded! But I am starting to see the light, and I am learning that sometimes, learning to say no, is the best way to go! I always try to make the person see that, I have the want to, but not the can do! <3 : ).

  • I guess the best “No” to say is to ourselves first when we get tempted at these situations or others when we whisper to ourselves that “It’s ok THIS TIME” time after time! This is what I need!

  • Like everyone else has said saying no is always hard. I am finding it easier now that my kids are older because there are less expectations. And because I do have more free time I don’t feel the need to say no as much.

  • Working on the no – saying! Hardest is going out to eat with hubby and he offers me to share his really great fries “can’t eat them all”! Okay, don’t but I’m NOT with a smile eating them for you. Thank you kindly!

  • I will be more productive at work.. and achieve what I can achieve while I am there.. I say no to myself and my need to overachieve.. tonight is the first night in a long time I have not brought work home and everything is up to date..

  • I’m really glad that we had today’s challenge and yesterday’s. these are both things I desperately need to work on.

  • Well, I really didn’t put saying no to others as being part of weight loss, but I can see how it does a play a part in taking away my time to devote to losing weight. Here is a phrase I can use: “I’d love to, but I’ll have to pass this time”.

  • Being prepared for a response ahead of time is a great idea. Like @Tammy Paul, I need to say “no” to me when I crank out the excuse for not exercising or eating right.

  • I love to be a help to others and I have to start teaching myself now that I can’t be there or do that all the time. I’m going to have to learn to say NO which will not be an easy task.

  • I’m pretty good at the whole ‘just say no’ thing except with my family. Definitely gotta work on that one. Oh, and Diet Pepsi, hard to say no to that.

  • This isn’t as much of an issue for me as it used to be. It definitely gets easier with more practice.

  • I have just asked that when my husband dish up, he dish up a smaller amount on our plates. Never thought to say no before. Thank you…

  • Just want to say that you really tapped into things I never thought of Michelle. Your scenarios ring so true. BALANCE. 🙂

  • I WILL work on it… and when I do get out, stick to light low-fat healthy options!

  • I learned how to say no a few years ago. I don’t always do it, but I know how.

  • I have a friend that would benefit from reading this lol.

  • Going to have to work on this one……:/

  • I may have to say no to this task. Just kidding! I will try! 🙂

  • I will start using your suggestions. Thanks.

  • Will definitely start working on this! 🙂

  • Really need a LOT of practice on this! 😀

  • Practice makes perfect.

  • Working on this one.

  • I did it today. I said no!

  • Hello to everyone: I know saying No is hard to do. But I know you can do it. Scenarios: “Oh my, I just tripled booked myself on the same day and same time. I just couldn’t say no.” No. One it is impossible to be in three places at once. No. Two which one did you accept first – that’s the one you committed to. No. Three, “Call the two other commitments and kindly say you will be unable to attend.” You want to be nice about the oversight. But you must learn to say No whether it’s an engagement; party; unhealthy food; etc. Only commit to the invites that you will attend. Take the time to write on a 3×5 card or post-it note what you would say must you decline the invitation. Good Luck and continue to post to be accountable. I’m proud of all of you for your commitment for a better you.

  • Is dancing around, singing I could close my size 2(yeah NY & Co is vanity sized but I’ll take it) this morning NOT polite? haha guess not, it’s okay I have been making my exercise and food choice a priority and saying No politely has been easy. Geez, I have three kids at home…most people don’t expect me to have free time anyway ;).

  • Being a naturally bossy person saying no isn’t that difficult if it’s something I genuinely don’t want to do. However, if it’s something that interests me, that’s a whole other story! I am getting better at pacing myself but still have a way to go.

  • Have had lots of experience with this one lately…we tend to order out at work a lot (night shift in L&D) and it is usually pizza. Saying no is getting easier as I see the pounds coming off!

  • The past few days have been immensely hard. I wish I could say No more often, especially to myself. I need to journal what all I eat so I can have a better picture of what I am doing, and then I can see where I need to make changes which is a lot I know. 🙁

  • Yes, cake and family meals seem to be my downfall….”May I have a very small portion” or “less of the fried whatever, please”…..oooooh dear, think I’D better get some practice in too 🙂

  • I need this email sent to me every day as a reminder. I will work continuously to not let others dictate my schedule. There is not enough room in my schedule to give in to every one else’s priorities. I am worth it!

  • I can easily say “no” to some, work for example, but it is much more difficult to say to my friends and family.

  • “I won’t be able to do that, but I can do this…” 🙂

  • Definitely something I have to work on!

  • Learning to say No Thanks is A Lot harder than you think.

  • I´m fine with my boundaries! Had some really good opportunities to learn in the past ;).

  • I´m saying no to a friend who loves to share biscuits with me, it´s a bit hard…

  • Guys have anyone tried SurelySlim ( It is made in Canada. They say it is cutting edge technology of three fat burners in one veg capsule?