As a woman this is one syndrome I relate to. To me a mother hen syndrome is the constant need to feed food to anyone in sight. Mother hens prepare breakfast and during breakfast think about lunch and then during lunch think about dinner. They not only love to eat but they also love to feed.
There is nothing wrong with mother hens apart from the weight issues they might face OR worse when they force feed a constant dieter like me. When you visit a mother hen, there will be a non stop supply of food and she will force you to eat everything on the plate. Frequent association with mother hen will definitely pronounce doom to your weight loss program.
How to do know if you are a mother hen
1. When you constantly talk about food.
2. You constantly serve your guests with food, forcing them to eat even when they refuse.
3. Thoughts of food takes the center stage.
I once did fall under the mother hen category but I snapped out of it when I figured out that there is more to life than food. Now, I do offer food to my guests but I respect their refusal.
Dealing with a mother hen
There will be a constant reminder of how less you eat and you should leave dieting for at least this one particular party. BUT once back home from Mother hen's house if you feel terribly bloated, want to rush to the loo (to download everything that you ate) then its time to be firm. Mother hens do not take NO easily, they will forcefully keep extra food on your plate and nag you through out the party to eat.
The best way is to stand your grounds and firmly refuse to eat. It will surely break their heart (and probably yours too) to see the food going to the dustbin BUT believe me no one need that much food and once or twice of such crude act will send the signal straight.
Ideally I would like people
1. To respect my decision to eat or not to eat.
2. I am no size zero, neither I am starved nor deprived. I do not need constant advise to eat oil laden food.
3. I fail to see how out side food/oily fried food can be nutritious. If my preferences are home cooked food then it does not mean I am on a strict diet. It just means I have certain food preferences, period.
There will be no dearth of people who will perform the forceful food feeding act. It will be very hard to say NO to them out of love and respect BUT somewhere you will have to draw the line, set your own boundaries and your limits.
At some point of time you will have to say NO and make sure that others respect your NO.