One of the biggest obstacles people face when trying to transition from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one is the social pressure of friends, extended family, co-workers, events and gatherings, and even the people in their own homes. It seems that our choices make them uncomfortable with their own.
Maybe they assume that we are judging them when all we are doing is trying to better ourselves, or that we’re going to try to force change on them as well. Whatever the reason, it can easily be the toughest aspect of change. No one likes being judged or singled out.
I’m Not Worried About You, Why Are You Worried About Me?
When I was in the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle and in turn, lowering my body fat, I had an unbelievable amount of people tell me to “eat more”, “stop getting so skinny”, and that it was “time to stop”. I was floored by how many people felt entitled to vocalize their judgments of me and my choices.
I certainly would never tell someone “eat less”, “stop getting so fat” or that it was “time to lose weight”. I wasn’t on some crash diet, I wasn’t unhealthy, I had muscles and endurance and energy and yes, I chose salad and chicken more than I chose pizza. My choices had nothing to do with anyone around me and everything to do with my own health and my own body.
Certainly no one ever voiced their concerns at my former lifestyle, when I was drinking nothing but diet soda all day long and living on processed foods, 30 pounds overweight. Has our society become so unhealthy and uninformed that HEALTHY is actually met with negativity and suspicion?
I’ve actually been lucky to be surrounded by mostly supportive people, but clients tell me all the time about their ill-received refusals to participate in eating junk food with their peers.
“Oh, one piece won’t hurt you.”
“What, are you on one of those fad diets or something?”
“You’re going to make me look bad.”
“You’re no fun.”
“Have you been brainwashed?”
“What’s wrong with this?”
“You’re not going to eat my cooking??”
I could go on and on. When my husband and I go out to eat, we even get comments from the people who work there about our food choices, like we’re weirdos for wanting to eat something that won’t make us feel like crap.
It’s YOUR Life
Chances are, if you’re in the same shoes and trying to make changes, you’re being met with the same attitude. Whatever the reasons, the negativity is there and it is really difficult to deal with.
For some, especially those who face the negativity in their homes, it can be so overwhelming that it takes them off the path to good health. It’s easy to get sucked in, especially if the former lifestyle is the one where you’re still comfortable.
Just remember…YOU are the only one who has to live in your body, for the rest of your life. You’re the only one who knows exactly why you make the choices that you make. Don’t give their words power.
Remember that they have their own reasons for speaking up that have absolutely nothing to do with YOU and everything to do with their own insecurities, fears, and lack of correct information.
It might be helpful to remind your loved ones that you’re not judging their lifestyle by changing yours, but that you just want to feel better. Remind them that you’re too busy thinking about your own health to worry about theirs.
If you in fact are worried about their health, don’t push your lifestyle on them either…lead by example. If and when they want the help, you will likely be the first person they come to and ask for it.
Most of the people in my life who made the hurtful comments actually thought they were paying me compliments. Chances are, those people in your life have good intentions as well. Keep this in mind, smile and know that you are doing the best that you can for your body and your health.
Make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who have a similar lifestyle to yours, and are supportive of your goals. You don’t have to replace any of your old crowd, but having the positive influence will help to balance out any negativity you may be facing. If you don’t know anyone who is fit, there are tons of online communities for fitness and health, even websites that hook you up with fitness partners.
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