How to Maintain Healthy Eating Habits When Family and Friends Aren’t Helpful

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Once you’ve made a decision to alter your eating habits, to choose healthier alternatives and to avoid most processed or sugary foods, that decision might cause a backlash among your closest family and friends. It’s not unusual to suddenly be on the receiving end of gifts of food, or pressure to eat certain things, from friends, co-workers and even spouses.

Once you’ve begun behaving differently around food, it can set off a chain reaction. Whether they are aware of it or not, others may feel guilty that they aren’t also making dietary and lifestyle changes. That can express itself in a campaign to try to tempt you to eat what you intended not to eat.

If you’re the family cook, the people closest to you may miss some of the dishes you used to prepare. Or they might miss the restaurant meals you used to enjoy together. If the person who you find most challenging doesn’t have a weight issue, they might genuinely not understand why you have to eat the way you do.

In all these cases, it’s up to you to protect your boundaries. Here are a few tips:

Have a heart-to-heart talk with the food saboteurs in your life. Let them know exactly what you need. Do you need them to stop bringing tempting foods into the house or leaving them in plain sight? You need to let them know that.

If you expect that a friend or family member will bring you food you don’t want to eat for a special occasion, you can warn them in advance by saying that you’re eating differently now and you can’t enjoy that particular food anymore. At the same time, you can reassure them that you’re looking forward to their visit.

You’ll have more luck convincing people around you that you’re serious about your new healthy changes if you apply them consistently. If you eat well some days and eat poor quality foods other days, your family and friends won’t know what to expect when they offer you food. It’s up to you to be consistent and hold firm boundaries.

Add exercise into the mix. Many people who exercise regularly report improved ability to deal with food saboteurs because they feel so good about what they are doing for their bodies.

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