Are your healthy eating efforts being sabotaged?

Are you starting to venture forth into the world again and seeing others, whether it be family and friends or co-workers? Have you noticed these days, though, that if you offer up that you’re trying to eat healthy or make any dietary changes, everyone seems to have an opinion about what you should be eating?

Don’t eat carbs.

Eat plenty of carbs.

Should you be eating that?

Have a piece. You can watch yourself at home.

There are likely hundreds more you have heard over the years. Somehow what people eat or how much they weigh is thought to be in the public domain. Many people seem to think that they are being helpful when they tell you what you can or cannot eat and sometimes it can be the same person who polices you and tells you to stop eating something one day and then on another occasion, says that you should go ahead. It may depend on what they’re eating themselves or if they’re the ones serving that food.

It’s time to stop.

The first step in shutting down any conversations about what you are eating is for you to not comment about your own food – your intentions about what you are going to eat or what you have eaten or anything that you’re supposed to do.

It’s your business.

But there can be different strategies for the various people in your life.

How to stop family from becoming your food police
Family members and close friends may have a vested interest in keeping you healthy and you may want to enlist their support. But that being said, if they become the food police, they can bring out your rebellious side. The last thing you need is for anyone to say, “Do you really need to eat that?” or “Why are you eating that?”. Having heard this, you wouldn’t be alone if your answer to a question like this was a simple “yes” or “because I want to” – even if it was a spontaneous choice and you might say no after thinking about it.

Instead if you really do want their assistance, suggest that if you’re eating something that might not seem to fit into your routine or that you might regret, that they ask you to rate what you’re eating using my 10 rule.

That means taking a bite of whatever it is that might be extra (a larger portion, for example) or a decadent delight. Then think of yourself as a judge in a food contest and rate it on a scale of one to ten as to how good it tastes – not how much you want it – but how delicious it really is. And then only go for it if it rates a ten. Close your eyes when you’re sampling if you need to. Many selections you’re faced with may indeed be luscious looking but the proof is in the taste.

Simply asking if it’s a 10 also likely makes you want to say that yes it is. Again it makes you want to rebel. Instead their asking you what rating you would give it provides you with the choice of whether to eat it or not. It can help you to think about it before going further. Maybe you won’t take that second serving if you’re not really hungry.

Remember you’re the one in charge.

Be choosy
But when it comes to whose support you enlist, it’s key to be very selective. You don’t want everyone to know about your using the 10 rule.

I learned that the hard way. A while back, I had been quoted in a newspaper article about that rule and the same night the article appeared I was at someone’s house for dinner (pre-Covid). When it came time for dessert, I tried to practice my 10 rule and so when the host asked me if I wanted a piece of cake, I volunteered that I was full and that I would love to taste it by having a bite of my husband’s. After having that bite, and not asking for a piece, the host said, “I guess it’s not a 10.” They had seen the article. Needless to say, I was mortified.

Skip the explanations
When you volunteer the information that you’re trying to eat healthy or whatever dietary changes you’re making, you may make others feel bad or guilty if they have decided to enjoy something themselves. No one needs to be reminded about their own food choices and whether they’re nutritious or not. The result can be others trying to get you to eat so that they don’t feel bad.

As well, when you make those announcements on one occasion, when you decide you want to have something more decadent, you’re also inviting that person to ask you about what happened to your previous intentions.

Do you really want to hear, “I thought you were watching yourself.”?

So be very selective if you do invite anyone to participate in your healthy eating journey. If not, it may result in your wishing you had kept your mouth shut in more ways than just one.

 

Tags: ,

Categories: Tips and Tricks

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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