Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to better yourself by improving your lifestyle changes. Deciding to take those first steps towards a new lifestyle can sometimes be the hardest part. You’ll decide how you want to workout, which diet is best for you, which habits you’re going to change first, what color you want your new sneakers to be, etc. These are all really important- especially the sneakers. 🙂
You start your new routine and everything is going great! Your energy is increasing and you feel more alert day-to-day, movements are becoming easier in the gym, soreness is decreasing, your clothes are getting a little looser, and most importantly YOU. ARE. HAPPY! Everyone else will be too, right?! Not always.
Changing your lifestyle means changing your life. Meal prepping means that you’re going to be eating out less. When you do eat out, making smarter food choices means that you may not be able to frequent your old favorites as often. Did your change include your decision to quit, or decrease your alcohol consumption?
Eating is so much more than just food; it’s a very social habit. How many times have you heard, or said, “Wanna get lunch together?” “Let’s grab a drink after work.” “Who wants to go to brunch on Sunday?” The food is great but it’s the social environment that makes you want to be there. Some of your family and friends will immediately support you 100%. They may even ask you for advice to make their own lifestyle change. However, some of them may interpret your changes as you saying that you don’t want to hang out with them as much, or that your lifestyle change makes you better than them. I’ve heard both of these… more than once.
At the end of the day, we have to remember that everyone is in a different place when it comes to their nutrition and fitness habits. People may not always agree with what you’re doing and that is absolutely okay. You’re doing this for you, right?
Here are a few common, yet sometimes negative, statements we hear from people who don’t fully understand the changes we’ve made along with some responses to help you through the conversation.
• Why are you on a diet? You don’t need to lose any weight. Weight loss and diets/lifestyle changes are commonly linked to each other but they don’t have to be. Someone who is naturally thin may still have poor nutrition habits. This can affect their sleep, performance in a workout, energy, complexion, ability to focus, etc.
You could reply with: “Thank you! I’m changing how I eat because I want to have better energy and feel healthier.”
• You can cheat on your diet this one time to get ____ (pizza, drinks, ice cream, etc) with us! You could but once you say yes, how many more times will you say yes after that? How many “cheats” does it take for a cheat to become a new habit?
You could reply with: “I appreciate you inviting me but I won’t be able to this time. I’m trying really hard to stay on track today (or this week).”
Or “I’d love to join you guys! I’ll eat before I meet you though (or I won’t drink tonight so I can be your designated driver).”
• You’re too healthy to eat this now? This sometimes pops up when people aren’t used to your new habits yet. Maybe you always ate a certain meal when you went to visit your family and friends but now they don’t know how to include you in their meals. Especially if it comes down to strong, social or cultural meals, like Sunday dinners for example.
You could reply with: “It’s not that I’m too healthy to eat that but I am trying to be more aware of what I am eating. This is really important to me and it would be easier with your support.”
Oh you can’t eat this; you’re on a “diet”. If you’re really lucky this sometimes this comes accompanied by air quotes. *Eye roll* 🙂 It’s okay to enjoy a treat every once in a while. Having a little flexibility in your overall nutrition plan will make you happier and make your plan easier to stick to, but just have one or two- not the entire box, tray, cake.
You could reply with: “Changing my lifestyle doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a treat now and then. I’d just prefer to not eat that right now.”
Change is a scary process. The more you communicate with your loved ones the easier it will be for them to support you and understand what you’re doing. Try to remember they may not know how much it took for you to make these changes initially. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes relating to this: “First, they’ll ask you why you’re doing it. Then, they’ll ask you how you did it.”
Be strong, my friends! You’ve got this!
Ready to see how nutrition coaching can take you to the next level? Schedule your free Nutrition Intro here.