Phew, that was a title. But, I wanted to address a question that came into my blog not long ago. Carynn, a blog reader, reached out and asked for advice to when it comes to friends and family who do not support her healthy lifestyle. She has felt uncomfortable sticking to her goals, specifically when it comes to food and being around others. As someone who enjoys healthy, balanced living and eating, I could completely relate to Carynn’s feelings and have also been in similar situations. It can feel lonely to be singled out when you’re the only one at the center of attention for passing on Aunt Lulu’s green bean casserole. Or the only one pulling on their tennis shoes for a walk around the block while everyone else sleeps in.
Setting goals is great, but you’ll be derailed quickly without a game plan for difficult situations or obstacles. When I first started eating ‘healthy’ food, meaning whole foods or minimally processed, and exercising, I heard every comment in the book from my family member to friends.
“Why do you need to workout, you’re already in shape.”
“It’s X holiday, have some of this dish!”
One thing I want to clarify is that food is not the issue or the enemy. Take a scoop of ice cream, skip a workout, who cares. The point here is you need to do what feels good and right for you – not your mom, friend, coworker, etc.
Here are my tips to navigating an uncomfortable situation:
First, explain that your aim in progressing towards your health is to reach your personal goals and do what is best for you. I have talked about finding your ‘why’ and that is what will drive you and keep you motivated. Your why is the reason you are on a healthy path. Maybe you want to shed weight, reduce your cholesterol, or be able to run around with your kids. Once you find your why, it is easier to deal with people or situations that try to derail you from that goal. (PS – your ‘why’ is usually long term, so make choices that step you in the right direction.)
The other thing I want to share is that it is very likely the person is being unsupportive because they are struggling and look to have your determination. Just like the playground, you may be a target because someone likes who you are, what you are doing or wishes to be in your shoes.
Try and take the opposite approach and talk with them rather than be defensive. The reason I started this blog came from the number of questions I received from everyone about how I manage my healthy lifestyle. I loved sharing my thoughts on fueling my body, eating what felt good for me and my favorite workouts – and now I have this space to share with even more of you!
And, at the end of the day, you are the one creating your life. So, live it as such.
Your turn, share your tips for staying on track.
Xxo – BB