I had to write this post today because this topic comes up SO often when I work with my cleansers or anyone who is on the healthy eating path and I must say that it frustrates me to no end. My clients and cleansers more often than not, tell me that their families/friends think they are freaks or show “concern” about them because they are not eating meat, giving up gluten or eating more vegetables and healthy food than not.
My clients and a lot of people I know on this path are also afraid of hurting someone’s feelings by not eating the high cholesterol, fat laden, processed food their host made for dinner, or the b-day cupcake at someone’s bday party, or the overly sweet, cardboard cake at their dear sister’s wedding. Sometimes they just eat it so someone else won’t feel bad, while they torture themselves and the result is that they feel bad physically because of the timebomb they just ingested. Or they will take a piece then only to throw it away when someone is not looking. What a waste of food! I also come across people who are afraid to be a “burden” at the dinner table when out with friends because of their special diet or when going to a friends house for dinner. When did eating healthy become “special?” Isn’t eating healthy a way to live longer, have more energy, combat disease and have a happier more vital life? I think it is..and I am living proof, as well as many others that live this way!
Well friends, I have to tell you this! STOP!!!! Yes, STOP!! STOP worrying about what others think about your “diet” or way of eating. STOP worrying about someone else’s feelings, and choking down a piece of cake so you don’t offend someone. STOP going to dinner parties without notifying the host of your healthy eating lifestyle and putting yourself in a positiion where you will lose, when it comes to finding something good to put in your mouth. STOP ordering food at a restaurant you really don’t want because you don’t want to be a “problem” at the dinner table.
Afterall, is this journey about YOU, or THEM??? Isn’t it your choice to be healthy and don’t you want to lead by example? When I go out, I don’t care about what anyone thinks about my way of eating..and I am a PICKY and sometimes High Maintenance eater. But, you know what? It’s the most important thing to me because when I eat healthy I feel good, have more energy, my skin is clear, I don’t get sick and I look younger..just to name a few of the benefits.
SO, I am going to give you some helpful tips on how to overcome these hurdles other than just telling you to STOP! although that would be a really good place to start! Remember that most people will question your way of life because either 1. they are interested in learning more or 2. they are threatened by it. Most of the time it’s #2. And the reason why, is that people are afraid to change. Yes, change is the only thing we can rely on that is constant in this world, yet we, as humans are afraid of it. Especially the change that we have no control over. We like the change that we are responsible for making happen, like reaching goals, finding a new job, making a choice to move to a different city, etc. But when we feel we are out of control, that’s when we hold on tight to the reins and fight against it. But, it will happen and most of the time we have no choice over it. But, you can make a decision to change the way you eat and change the way you think about food and what others think about what you are eating!
Everytime I would go out with friends and not drink alcohol people would question me. And my response was, “it just doesn’t make me feel good.” And that was the truth and no one could argue with that. When I don’t eat cake, it’s the same response. It’s not worth the 5 seconds of creamy goodness on my tongue for the hours of torture I will experience afterward and the food hangover I will have in the morning. People feel threatened when they witness me saying no to these things and it’s because it brings forward parts of themselves that maybe they need to take a deeper look at. Most people don’t want to give up drinking or eating cake, and that’s fine. I am not here to tell them they need to, YET I am also here to tell them they will FEEL BETTER and possibly LIVE LONGER if they do! But really it’s about leading by example, not forcing it down anyone’s throat and I know that most people who witness me take care of myself, get a chance to look within to where they can make some change. And maybe they won’t be ready, but at least I know I have planted a seed…
So, here are a few tips as promised:
- When going to a friends house for dinner, call the host beforehand and explain your situation. Don’t be apologetic, but offer to bring something that will help him/her feed you. Also, maybe the host will be open to making something if you just tell them what you need. You can even offer to go early and help them cook it!
- When going to social events, prepare yourself by eating beforehand if it’s a cocktail party. If you don’t want to drink and are concerned about others making “fun” of you, have a glass of sparkling water in a pretty glass with a squeeze of lime. And don’t LIE about what it is…you don’t have to explain anything to anyone for making healthy choices to help them feel better.
- When eating out at a restaurant, do your research. Find out where you are going and call beforehand to see if they will accomodate you. Most restaurants today will always accomodate people with special diets and allergies, so ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED and do your best to NOT CARE what others think about you ordering special food. I guarantee your dish will taste and look better than all the others!
- Remember, this is about YOUR COMMITTMENT to yourself and no one else. Are you committed to YOU or committed to making a choice based on what someone else will think about you?? Well? If your family tells you that you are a freak, respond with, “Yep, and a healthy freak at that!”
You can be a leader in helping others to make healthier choices just by doing it yourself. Sometimes people can become preachy when they start eating healthy, trust me, I was one of them. But what I have learned is that people are curious about it and they DO want to know more. The soft approach of Leading By Example is what I find works best and that’s what you can do! Remember, stay true to yourself and your path and don’t let what others say or do push you off that track!