Stand Up for Your Healthy Lifestyle Choices

June 8, 2016
women discussing food

You’ve decided to cut out junk food or eliminate sugar… you’re heading to the gym after work instead of going out for happy hour… you’re looking great and still getting fitter.

We all want support for our healthy lifestyle changes, especially from loved ones. But sometimes friends and family can challenge our choices. Here’s how to stand your ground!

The Best of Intentions

When you share your weight loss or fitness goals with others, and then back them up with your behavior, it can set off several different reactions that you might not have expected.

Hopefully, you’ll find plenty of care and enthusiasm among your crew, but it’s not uncommon for people to unwittingly stir up doubts about your program or temptation to step off track. And sometimes, some of the nicest folks will be straight up obstacles to your success. You don’t need roadblocks, it’s tough enough staying strong, lean and healthy.

Even with the best of intentions—theirs and yours—you can lose sight of your resolve in the face of curious questions, critical comments, or simple unawareness. No need! Stay strong and stay the course with these responses to common interactions.

  1. They want you to be social. You may know it’s tough for you to skip the beers and onion rings at the bar where your co-workers gather each week. Even if they realize you’re avoiding those kinds of items, they might not know you miss them.

    You don’t have to feel like an outsider, and your friends don’t have to change their standing plans to accommodate you. You just have to change your mind about how often to go out, where, and what you’re there for. Once a month might work for you. And you’re there to have some laughs and catch up, not eat greasy food, right?

    Sharing your aspirations with your social circle can bring you a lot of understanding cheerleaders. For those times when the party is best to go on without you, why not use something awesome as your excuse: you’re sorry, you can’t because you’re going to bench ###lbs. tonight!

  2. They mix up loving you with feeding you. This is classic grandma/auntie stuff: you look too thin, here let me fix you a plate. Or maybe it’s your spouse, getting your favorite candies for your birthday or making you a beautiful romantic dinner filled with the foods you love but have sworn off while you’re in training.

    You don’t have to refuse all affection from your loved ones but you certainly don’t have to accept it in the form of foods you’d rather not eat. You just have to have “the talk” about what you’re working on, why it’s so important to you, and what that means about your eating choices. Let them know you’d like to pick your own special occasions and treats for their gestures of love.

    Research has shown that people embarking on a path to health have more success reaching their goals and changing their patterns if they tell those closest with them their plans, and ask for the specific support they would like from the beginning.

  3. They think they know what’s best for you. When you start a new endeavor, people tend to be interested, especially if you’re serious about your commitment. Nothing wrong with that, until you start running into all the so-called expertise that lurks nearby.

    They’ll wonder if your eating style is bad for your cholesterol or if you get enough protein…. They’ll ask if it’s safe for your back to lift such heavy weights, or tell you how running in races injured their brother… They’ll tell you that you already look fantastic and surely one little piece of deep dish pizza won’t hurt.

    Take it in stride. Reassure them with confidence that you’ve got all the medical and nutritional aspects covered and that you’re taking excellent care of yourself. And don’t allow any “insulted” reactions on their part or yours!

    You’re not too good for their advice, rather, you’ve done your own research on the best approach for your own body.

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