So you’ve set your goals and started your journey – fantastic! Most people are enthusiastic about eating healthily for at least the first few weeks but I find it’s often the people closest to them who actually de-rail the process. Most of the time this is not intentional but it happens nevertheless.
So what do you need to do? The answer – communicate! Let people close to you know what you are trying to achieve and specifically what changes you want to stick to.
With your close friends and family you might want to sit down for a meal with them and let them know in advance that there are important things you want to talk about. Many families do this routinely and perhaps talk about having a “family conference” or in our home a “conflab.” This is a really important conversation so make sure you plan for it. Part of your planning might be composing an e-mail or note to other people you see a bit less often. This will help you get straight what you want to say.
A few years ago I had the great privilege of hearing Alec Grimsley talk about his book “Vital Conversations.” What really struck me was that we prepare for work meetings and presentations spending hours putting together material but often when it comes to really important conversations we just try to “wing it.” Don’t wing it, but also don’t sweat it. Just note down how you feel about your goals and the journey ahead so that you can share from your heart. Make sure you tell people how long you think it will take to meet your goals and what you think your long term healthy eating plan will look like. Some changes may just be for a season but others will need to be more permanent and that’s where you really need people onside.
Think about how others might feel about having healthier food and be prepared to check in with them to see if your assumptions are correct. Remember all the thinking you have done about getting well-informed and be prepared to share what you have learned. Reflect back on previous occasions where you have tried to serve healthier food and note some examples of concerns you have based on the facts of your past experience. You might think that your family will be worried that the family meals will be boring and unsatisfying but perhaps you will find that they are actually proud of you for taking the plunge and looking forward to having a healthier diet themselves. Of course they may actually be dreading it in which case you need to plan to share some the recipes/foods you are thinking of using and ask for their opinions.
“Think about how others might feel about having healthier food.”
It may not be appropriate for some members of the family to eat the same as you. Perhaps you have a child with a medical condition who needs high calorie meals to maintain weight. If you need to manage these sorts of complexities get everyone on board to help you come up with a workable plan and of course work with your Dietitian too. Be clear about how you want them to help you. For example you might want to think about asking them not to offer you seconds or you might ask your spouse or partner not to automatically re-fill your wine glass. The more specific you can be the better.
It may all feel a bit weird and formal but remember you don’t need to give a presentation. Make sure you leave people with the sense that this is not about deprivation but rather being free to make good choices for your health and their health and enjoying making and sticking with those choices.
So that’s it now you are ready to go. If you have not done so already you may want to think about getting support from a Dietitian. Research has shown that if people feel more confident in their ability to cope with a change they will be more likely to stick with it. Working with a Dietitian should help build your confidence as any advice and support can be tailor-made for you. For information about the “Eating Mindset” services please click here.
Whatever you do please enjoy food and enjoy life.