How to stick with your diet when no one wants you to. The other day I was talking with a friend who works in the fitness industry and we were discussing how awful it is when people (friends) start encouraging you to overeat or drink when you are in social situations. You know, those times when you are on a diet and feeling good about yourself and then your family starts trying to sabotage your efforts. While they might think that they are just being nice and helpful, it’s times like these that can be the hardest to bear. I have a lot of stomach issues due to my thyroid and it never fails that my diet becomes a great big issue that’s thrown into the spotlight. So much so that I’ve come to dread going out for food with friends or family.
Disclaimer. Now, this only applies to those of you who are trying to eat healthier, whether for a specific training program or just because it’s time to get your act together. If you are struggling with any kind of eating disorder or working out too hard and too much then chances are that your friends and family might truly be worried.
HOW TO STICK WITH YOUR DIET WHEN NO ONE WANTS YOU TO
What’s actually happening and why are your friends and family doing this?
They feel bad about themselves. Chances are that this is really about them and not you. Of course, everyone wants to be healthy and fit, but a lot of people just don’t know how to do it. When they see you doing it and succeeding, it’s easier to bring you down instead of building you up. On top of that, they are probably just jealous that you are seeing these improvements in your health and they are not.
They don’t want your dynamic to change. People are generally creatures of habit and if you are always meeting the same friends for a drink or a meal and suddenly you aren’t participating then it changes the group dynamic and that can make a lot of people feel sad. They don’t always understand that change is good and that there are a lot of other fun things you can do together.
They don’t understand the small choices. It’s not an all or nothing proposition and the small choices, like having one less glass of wine or passing up on a not-the-most-fabulous-desert-ever, add up over time. Most people don’t really understand that. They think that in order to get fit & healthy, you have to overhaul your entire life and start training for an event.
What you need to do:
It’s your body, it’s your decision. In the end, you are an adult and no one knows your body better than you do. The best part is that you get to decide what you want to eat and when to eat it. Just like you wouldn’t push alcohol on an alcoholic, why should anyone decide what you should or shouldn’t be eating?
Don’t talk diet over a meal. I learned this the hard way, but the topic of diets can get very heated very fast and especially when people are busy shovelling food into their mouths. Every insecurity, every myth and all egos will be amplified. The best way to deal with this is to shrug and deflect questions or tell people that you’d be happy to talk with them later at a more appropriate time.
Plan ahead. If I know that I have to go to dinner or spend an evening out with friends where there will be food then I always plan ahead and make sure that I’m not super hungry, so I can just munch without overdoing it and if anyone wants to pressure me then I’m not hungry at all. Also, I’ll know ahead of time if something is really worth splurging on. If I can’t live without it then sure I will have a bite, but if it’s only okay then why should I eat it? If possible, I will always tell a friend whom I trust about my dietary needs and they will generally stand by me in case of anything.
Never defend yourself. This is probably the most important tip. You absolutely never, ever have to defend yourself for any reason. It’s your body, it’s your decision and you know what’s best. Everyone is an expert and everyone will know better, but you need to tune that out. They probably won’t listen to you anyway and you’ll just be working yourself up for nothing.
Remember that generally, your friends and family want you to succeed, but they are dealing with all of their emotions and insecurities and they may not be able to even vocalize them properly. Don’t get angry (although annoyed is okay), don’t argue, pre-plan your answers and just focus on yourself.
How do you deal with family who just wants you to eat?
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