One of the most difficult components with weight loss is coping with the variety of social pressures that encourage poor eating. At every turn we are faced with having to make decisions around food because it is related to an event involving other people.
Dinner parties, birthday parties, holiday meals, girl's night out, anniversary dinner...and a myriad of other moments where food is an important and central component of the experience.
Most of us don't handle these situations well. We have many justifications for the behavior that we choose. Most of it is ingrained. To refuse to eat, or to refuse food or to make changes to the food is often considered rude and ungrateful. Most of us have been brought up to appreciate and be thankful for the meals and the generosity of the people giving them.
Another justification is that we don't want to make other people uncomfortable. A good example is going out with friends and having a drink....or choosing not to. Often, people are concerned that not drinking with their friends will make their friends uncomfortable and the occasion awkward. So they have a drink, even if they don't really want to, just to make everything easier on everyone else.
We use a lot of mental effort and emotional stress to not rock the boat.
I want you to rock the boat.
I want you to make decisions that are in your best interest.
I want you to take the best care of your body that you can.
Because you only get one. Ever. Just one.
If taking care of it makes someone else uncomfortable, or makes them feel that you are rude, then this is an opportunity for you to lead by example. If you don't want to have a drink when you're out with friends, then don't. Often times simply having a glass of anything is enough for other people to be comfortable and the difference between having the "real" drink or not goes unnoticed.
If you are concerned with appearing rude or ungrateful, simply explain that you are taking care of yourself to the best of your ability. And while you may not be perfect at it all the time, you are giving it your best effort. You never know, they may become interested in doing the same.
So be the crazy lady that tears the bread off of her sandwiches, asks for things on the side or simply orders off the menu entirely and gets exactly what she wants. I've never run into a single waitperson who has ever had a problem with this, or who has even batted an eye. I guarantee you, you are not the first to ask specifically for what you want.
Be the parent that takes their kids for walks and runs. Show your children that exercise is important, whether it's outside in the yard, in the gym, or doing a DVD at home. Lead by example. Make those positive impressions and show them how good health leads to good mood, good sleep, good concentration and a million other benefits.
Choose to take care of your body, every day, to the best of your ability. Exercise. Breathe. Rest.
Make decisions that are in your best interest and lead to your best health. When both your mind and body feel amazing there is nothing in the world like it. This is your chance to enjoy the body you have, and you only get one shot at it. Make it count - and don't worry so much about what other people think. They get to make their own choices for their own body. So lead by example!
Dr. Michelle Torrence, ND, LAc can be reached at Snohomish Naturopathic Clinic