Monday, March 16, 2009

Avoiding Healthy Eating Sabotage

We have all heard of friends and family sabotaging someone's diet when they are trying hard to lose weight, but do any of you feel that your healthy lifestyle is ever unwittingly sabotaged by those around you? It happens to me every once in a while and today was one of those days. Not a big deal, but it got me thinking about why people care at all about what I do or don't eat.

As a stay-at-home mom, I have control over the food I buy and the food I eat. I don't have the issues of lunch out with customers or traveling. I hold my diet to a fairly high standard and although I am not always perfect (and never will be), my bad eating today is nothing like my bad eating was 10 or 15 years ago. So why do I bring all of this up?

Even with the knowledge and self-control I have on a daily basis, I still fall into situations where I actually feel pressure to compromise my eating habits to please others. Kristen's Raw mentions in her book, The Easy Way to Get Started & Succeed at the Raw Food Vegan Diet & Lifestyle, that people feel that their way of life is under scrutiny when you choose to eat a certain way. She says that many people will assume, from your dietary choices, that you think you're somehow superior to them...not just their food choices, but actually them. I think in certain instances, this is definitely true.

When I first told some of my friends that I was going to study holistic nutrition and started changing my diet, they would often ask me if I would eat certain foods or when we were out to dinner if I could find something to eat on the menu. I became a little defensive (okay a lot defensive), somewhat self-conscious and always made a point to eat something everyone would consider normal. This I feel is my problem though, not theirs. If I am convinced that the way I eat is the right way for me, why would I ever compromise?

The same goes for my children's diet - yet another thing that I have control over most of the time. I tend to feel like the mean mom if other kids are getting juice or a soda with their dinner and I insist on water. Believe me my kids don't mind half as much as grandma does. But, it is also grandma who I want to let spoil my kids, it's her job, so I let it go and deal with the sugar buzz later.

My point, stick to your convictions. No need to be rude or condescending regarding what anyone else eats, just do what is right for you. Others are commenting or judging for their own reasons whether they feel inferior, threatened in some way or most likely just don't want to feel judged for making the choices they make. Also understand that anyone who does make a conscious effort to change their eating habits whether it be giving up sugar or alcohol, eating Raw or perhaps avoiding meat is doing it for themselves and probably isn't too concerned about what others are eating.

For me, I need to come up with a positive friendly response when people say things like, 'oh just have a little bit, it won't hurt you'. This is the sort of thing that makes me doubt myself and eat something that I know I really don't want. Maybe it is just as simple as no thank you. No explanation required.

Remember though, if you do cave, like I did today, there is always tomorrow!

- Shannan


Hanlie said...

That is such a minefield! I think you've got the right attitude..., but as you say, we always have room for improvement. One of the big things is not to be preachy to others - it makes it easier for them to accept our strange ideas!

kilax said...

This post really speaks to me. I have been a vegetarian for about 8 years, but get a lot of comments on what I eat and don't eat. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but I am not. I still let it bother me. And like you said, I am doing it FOR ME. I don't care what other people eat. Food has just become SO SOCIAL that other people always want to talk about it. It makes me crazy sometimes. I should work on this as well :)

SUPER DIVA said...

You are so right, I get sick and tired of people watching what I eat and don't eat, especially in a social environment. Even when I decide to eat something bad! As a fitness expert, I would never comment on what others eat unless they ask. I think that people that eat poorly are uptight when they eat around someone that eats healthy. My attitude is "it's my body–leave me be"!

Kristen's Raw said...

One of the things I do when offered something I don't want is to enlist the person's "help." I find that by telling people that it's not on my "current" diet plan (sometimes just the word "current" let's people know you might not do it forever)... anyway... telling them I have a goal I'm really trying to reach (maybe 5lb weight loss) and asking them to help me in supporting my choice to pass on it, can really change their attitude and approach. They feel good for helping me and the focus is on helping me with my goals. People like to help (usually! haha)



Mooreganics said...

I can really relate to this post! Being at the beginning of changing our eating habits tends to make me more sensitive to comments made by others about my "new" food choices for both myself and family. I know in my heart I am on the right path, and am NOT perfect by any standard. What happened to people just embracing us for who we are, strange eating habits or not?

Living A Whole Life said...

I find it funny that we use the word strange in regard to 'healthy' eating. It is strange for so many though.

Glad to see all the conversation this post has spurred both here and personally for Karla and I. We have made a pact to do what we feel is right for us and not worry about what others think. I know you will all do the same.

Thanks for reading as usual!


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