It is so much easier when you have that extra support. However, not everybody is so fortunate and many of us feel alone in our journey towards renewed health and weight loss. What do you do when you have made the decision to be healthy but you are surrounded by loved ones who are not on board with your new way of life?
The law of diminishing returns really applies here: The more you talk about it, the less effective you will be. After a time they will switch off and not really hear you. Even worse, a nagging approach can even make them do the opposite to what you advocate. You need to think laterally, and act rather than talk.
Lead by example. It is very important to stay strong and maintain your healthy dietary practices. When people around you are eating the foods they like, instead of making any negative comments simply enjoy your own food. I have learned that eating habits are almost like a religion and are very personal. People may get offended if you try to give unwanted advice. When they are ready to make changes they will ask you questions and that is the ideal time to share your viewpoint on the best foods to consume.
You can lead your family to a healthy dinner plate, but you can’t make them eat. The transition to a healthier lifestyle can be met with resistance, especially if your children and husband are used to candy-like fruit snacks, potato chips and fried foods. By taking the transition slowly and using simple substitutions, you can show your family that healthy eating isn’t painful. You might even get them to join in on planning healthful meals.
Get support. Join up with an online Challenge Group group of folks who are all working towards the same goal. When you are feeling your motivation dip, having this source of encouragement can be very effective and help you to stay on track.
Remember that as much as you would like to see your friends and family change some of their eating behaviors, the best thing you can do is be a good example of how a healthful diet can transform a person’s body, improve their energy, and help maintain a positive mood. Stay focused on your health and well-being and keep in mind that the only person you have control over is yourself. Be patient and you may be surprised by how your friends and family become curious about your way of life and in turn take some small steps to join you in your reverence for health.
Your family and friends can do a lot to help you change how you eat, but you need to talk to them about it:
Tell your family and friends why you’re making this change. Give them your reasons, and explain why they are important to you.
Tell them that you would like their help, but that you don’t expect them to change their lives for you. If they’re willing to make some of the same eating changes as you are, then that’s great. But they can support you even without changing how they eat.
Support from your family
Here are some ways that you and your family can team up:
Keep to a regular family meal schedule. Families that regularly eat meals together tend to eat healthier foods and be closer to a healthy weight than those who don’t.
You may be able to talk with your family about making some of the same eating changes you are. This may take compromise on everyone’s part. It may mean eating less of some foods and more of others.
If what you eat is different from what your family eats, ask them to eat a meal from your food plan once a week. If they see that this is as tasty as the food they’re eating, they may choose to eat more of what you’re eating.
Set up “no food zones” in the house. Make one room food-free. You can use this room to do things that you may have done in the kitchen while eating, such as paying bills or helping the kids with homework. Staying out of the kitchen may help you stay with your eating plan.
Put away foods that you don’t want to eat so that they are out of sight. Ask family members not to leave food on the table when they are finished eating.
Set up a kitchen or refrigerator shelf that is just for healthy foods that you want to eat. When you’re hungry, you’ll have several healthy choices.
Discuss your family routines. If you take the kids out for pizza once a week, could you make a healthier pizza at home instead? Or you could go out to eat but order a salad and other healthy foods with the pizza. This way you can fill up on other foods and eat fewer slices of pizza. See if you can find something you can all agree on.
Support from your friends or family
You may find that some friends or family members say or do things that make you feel bad. They seem not to want you to succeed. They may urge you to eat more than you want, make negative comments about your new eating habits, or point out how many times you may have slipped up.
If this happens, it’s important to talk to these people. They may not even be aware that they are doing it or that it bothers you. If you need to, ask them to stop doing this. You also can ask them why they are behaving this way. You might find that they are worried that your change is leaving them out or that you are making them look bad. They may not like the attention your change is getting you.
If this is the case, ask them what you can do to help them. Often, an honest talk is all that is needed.
Here are some ways that your friends or family can help you. Ask them to:
Not say negative things about you or what you eat.
Be positive about your desire to change. Let your family and friends know that you’d like to hear encouraging words from time to time, and that their words and actions mean a lot. Hearing how well you are doing with your new eating habits helps you stay with your plan.
Celebrate with you when you reach your goals. Take a cooking class or go to the movies together. Remind yourself and others that you’re successful.
Help you make healthy food choices. Ask them to encourage you to eat more fruits and vegetables, for example.
Encourage you when you slip away from your eating plan. A reminder of how well you’ve done will help you get back on track.
Respect your new eating habits and not urge you to eat foods that you don’t want to eat.