â€” By Nutritionista
This is going to be a tough post for me to write because Iâ€™m not entirely sure I have it totally figured out yet. The issue? Having a significant other, close friend, or family member who just doesnâ€™t eat the way you do, doesnâ€™t see the point of it, and isnâ€™t particularly supportive.
Iâ€™ve been extremely lucky to have a family that supports my healthy eating habits 100%. From the time I was a kid, the â€œworstâ€ food my parents ever kept in the house was tortilla chips. They always had sparkling water instead of pop, fruit leather instead of fruit roll-ups, and Shredded Wheat instead of Lucky Charms. Sure, weâ€™ve all gotten wise to healthier habits as we learn more about nutrition (white pasta was a huge staple in my house growing up), but for the most part, my family has always been fairly health-focused. As Iâ€™m sure some of you have seen, my dad is always up to cook new, exciting, delicious (yet still healthy) foods. The rest of us are only too happy to partake.
But I do have a few friends and a boyfriend who just donâ€™t buy what Iâ€™m selling in terms of healthy eating. I have friends who can eat whatever they want and feel fine. They even look great. It becomes hard to stick to my principles when Iâ€™m around them. My boyfriend is gradually getting better, but his idea of healthy food is a McDonaldâ€™s salad (not the worst thing you could eat, but still.). He wonâ€™t try tofu or whole wheat pasta, and heâ€™s fine going several days without getting any veggies besides some lettuce on his sandwich. When Iâ€™m with him, I go out to eat more and eat more of what he eats, which ends up being food I would never normally seek out.
So hereâ€™s what Iâ€™ve come up so far with to deal with people who donâ€™t see food quite like you do:
(Bring Your Own Snacks.) I really canâ€™t stress this enough! I always regret not bringing my own snacks when Iâ€™m heading to my boyfriendâ€™s for the weekend. I end up eating whatever he has around, which is usually Doritos or high fructose-laden granola bars.
- Plan to cook together.
Make it an activity you can do together. If youâ€™re cooking a meal, it usually means youâ€™ll have a little more control over what goes in the pot (or pan, or oven, etc.). Itâ€™s incredibly hard to cook something on your own that approaches the un-health of most fast food or â€œcasualâ€ chain restaurant food. Try deep frying something in your own kitchenâ€¦ itâ€™s not that easy!
- Do your homework.
If you know youâ€™ll be going out to eat, do some research about viable restaurant options and what everyone involved could potentially eat and enjoy. Good picks for both the health-conscious and not-so-health-aware: sushi, Middle Eastern (my boyfriend and I eat Middle Eastern all the timeâ€¦ luckily, we both love Greek salad!), and soup & sandwich places.
- Keep staples everywhere.
Whether itâ€™s your parents whom you visit regularly, a friend whose house crash at often, or a significant other you spend a lot of time with, if theyâ€™re cool with it, you can keep some healthy basics in their kitchens. I keep cereal I like at my boyfriendâ€™s so I know Iâ€™ll at least have a healthy breakfast.
- Donâ€™t ever feel bad for being picky!
You deserve to eat exactly what you want, enjoy, and feel comfortable with. Donâ€™t let anyone make you feel guilty about it. In the same vein, donâ€™t ever make anyone else feel bad for eating the way they do. I know that as a health-conscious person, Iâ€™m often tempted to make comments about what my loved ones are consuming, but I try to keep my mouth shut as much as is humanely possible. Trust me, nagging them wonâ€™t change their behavior one iota.
- Learn how to say no, and mean it.
When someone asks you if you want to share those greasy mozzarella sticks as an appetizer, you have every right to politely decline and MEAN IT. Iâ€™m much too easily persuaded into eating what everyone else is eating, to my own detriment. I end up being unhappy, often paying more than I intended if weâ€™re out to eat, and feeling uncomfortable. It might take some practice to turn people down, but itâ€™s an excellent life skill to have. Iâ€™ll fully disclose that I need to work on this one. This is typicalâ€¦ boyfriend: â€œDo you want ice cream?â€ me: â€œâ€¦No?â€¦â€ boyfriend: â€œWeâ€™re getting ice cream.â€
- Indulge WHEN you choose to and with WHAT you choose to.
As you hopefully know by now, I do indulge (and often!). My indulgences, however, might not look like yours. Or my sisterâ€™s. Or my boyfriendâ€™s. And thatâ€™s okay! I encourage indulgence, but I donâ€™t encourage indulgence due to peer pressure. If youâ€™re going out with friends, it can help to plan your indulgence ahead of time so you donâ€™t go overboard. Inevitably, being around people who are having cocktails or eating dessert will make you want those things, too. If youâ€™ve already planned for it, it can easily fit into a healthy lifestyle.
- Feel good about your choices.
Whatever choice you end up making while hanging out with other kinds of eaters, donâ€™t allow yourself to feel guilty. Like my girl Jillian Michaels says, one piece of cake is not going to break you or make you fat. Even 5 cookies in one sitting wonâ€™t do that if you ultimately live a healthy lifestyle. Punishing yourself by being overly restrictive later on is just going to be a bigger setback in the long run.
Note: I wrote another post awhile back about not gaining love lbs. while in a new relationship, which you can read here.