Getting yourself to a place where you consistently stick to your healthy lifestyle plan over time can be challenging. It becomes even more challenging when your husband, kids, friends and family aren’t on board with your plan and resist your efforts every step of the way.
There are many reasons this may be happening:
• Witnessing you making healthier choices can be very confronting to people who know they should make a change, but aren’t ready.
• They have observed you going on and off diets for years and they think it’s just one of those phases.
• Unlike you, they haven’t experienced the pain associated with unhealthy eating, meaning they’re not sick, overweight, or food doesn’t affect them the way it does you, so they’re not motivated to change.
• Change involving one of the most intimate relationships we have, the one with food, is threatening to most people, especially if they aren’t the initiator.
• They fear that if you change, your relationship will change and they may lose you. (Very few people, if any, will ever recognize or admit this fear, but it plays out at the subconscious level.)
Here some powerful tips that can help you make the change towards healthy lifestyle even when you have to deal with difficult family or friends.
It’s About You, NOT Them
Make this journey about you and you only. Although you might wish everyone around you would join you in your transformation , the reality that is, it’s not going to happen. You’ve had your aha moment. You’ve decided that you have suffered enough and you’re ready to make significant changes and different choices. But you must never impose your choices on others.
The best way to influence and lead someone in the right direction is to lead by example and embody the lifestyle you want others to lead. By walking your talk, you become a leader. Leaders do not impose their ways on others. They influence. When you make the right choices despite the opposition around you, your self-confidence and your willpower will grow. You will be more confident in achieving your goals. More importantly, the people close to you will realize that you mean business. Over time they will begin to admire your willpower and tenacity and perhaps they will be more open to join you.
Don’t Think That You’re Just Dieting
Diets don’t work, period. Science is right there with me.
If you’ve ever been on a specific diet and are looking for a new regimen to follow, it’s likely that the first one didn’t work, right? I went on a diet for the first time when I was 14, and for many years, I was seesaw dieting. To me, dieting was a temporary process that produced permanent results. I believed that once I lost the weight, I would never gain it back. Weighing nearly 300lbs by the age of 34, I realized that I wrong.
When you say you’re going on a diet , it suggests that it’s something you’re “on” for the moment and will probably be “off” later on. It sends a message to the people close to you that it’s not something permanent, that everything will go back to “normal” at some point. They’re apt to think, if that’s the case, then why go through all the trouble?
Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate Some More
The first thing you should do before staring your journey towards healthy living is finding your why. If you’re not clear as to why you want to do this, then you’re not likely to stick to your new habits . In my case, at first, I wanted to make some lifestyle changes so I can continue to be successful in my career. Over time, I moved from a why that was largely fear-based to a why that was love-based, which is more powerful.
Next, sit down with your spouse or partner and/or kids and share your plan for your health. Share what YOU are going to commit to and how you will need their support. Educate them on what you are doing and why it’s going to help YOU to become healthier.
Talk it over ahead of time. Don’t surprise them with “Things are gonna change around here.” Learn to negotiate with them. Maybe eating out is a problem for you, but the solution isn’t to tell your close ones that restaurants are off limits. You could determine which restaurants offer the best choices for you, or ask if your partner would be willing to share an entrée with you.
Learn to Ask for Support
Asking for your partner’s support isn’t the same thing as asking them to ‘go on a diet’ with you. You want your partner to respect your efforts and to be willing to do what they can to help. Oftentimes, your partner wants to be helpful but just doesn’t know what to do, so be specific.
Planning to go to the gym a few nights a week? Then ask for help with meal preparation or child care. If your partner is still going to keep some goodies in the house, ask if they can stash them away – and not offer you “just a bite.”
Don’t ask your close ones to police you or to berate you if you cheat. For one thing, what you eat is your responsibility, and it’s unfair to place the burden on someone else. And if you do cheat, you’re likely to shift the blame to your partner. It’s a bad dynamic, so do your best to avoid it.
Find Your Tribe
Find your “peeps” — people who are on the same journey and have the same goals as you. Your partner might or might not be part of your tribe.
Being supported by people going through the same transition and facing similar challenges as you is a critical part of long-term success. Being a part of a community or belonging to a group is an innate desire of every human being. In the context of your health and lifestyle choices, you may need to look outside your inner circle.
This is why I created my private online community as a means to provide people like you and me a support structure. You can join right us right here. You can also look for Meet up group or any other Facebook group where people with similar goals and approach are hanging out.
Stephanie Dodier is a Clinical Nutritionist, Author, and Host of The Beyond The Food Show podcast. She has dedicated herself to helping women overcome food cravings, optimize their relationship with food, and achieve their health goals. To learn more about her work and get access to her free resources, visit StephanieDodier.com.