“Really, you’re only eating that?!”
“Yeah, I’m trying to watch what I eat more carefully.”
“Come on, it’s only once a year. Live a little.”Who are you in this dialogue? The person encouraging the indulgence? Or, the person trying to make a positive change? If your familiar with this kind of dialogue, read on. Tough love below, heavy on the love.“Encouraging others to indulge” People:
OK, maybe you have the best intentions, but, maybe not. I have heard these stories time and again, friends and family that subtly (and not so subtly) try to sabotage someone else’s healthy living efforts. Unless you are worried about extreme behaviors (bulimia, body dysmorphia, obsessive exercise, etc.) the truth is most often uncomfortable. Maybe you are jealous, maybe you like your friend being heavier/less healthy than you, maybe you feel unwanted pressure to be healthy now, too because your friend is changing, maybe you’re struggling and their succeeding and that hurts, maybe your worried that if they are healthier they will leave you. I empathize. It’s very difficult to be stuck/envious/worried. And it’s hard to realize we are being unhelpful. First, the tough stuff, your unhelpful comments don’t make you look good nor do they really serve you well. Any outsider can see the sabotage, however indirect. More importantly, you are hurting your friend/family member and that’s not your intent, right?
Here’s the “love:” if you own your feelings and stop trying to sabotage, there is some great news waiting for you. The friend or family member that seems to be a threat/annoyance could be a resource – a sounding board, a source of strategies that are working or a piece of good news. (It feels good to celebrate our friend’s success.) Own where you are at and what you are feeling. Resist the urge to deal with your own feelings by trying to limit/sabotage your friend/family member. Living healthfully is challenging, consider being an advocate for your loved one and you just might foster a better relationship and healthier lifestyle because of it.
“Trying to make a healthy change” People:
You have the right to change your life in the way you see fit. I see no reason why some one trying to reduce their cholesterol, enjoy their clothing or improve their body’s ability to facilitate their life should apologize about their goals. Sabotaging comments/behavior make a challenging task even harder. Embrace your right to live your life as you see fit. BUT, I do encourage you to initially bring some understanding to push-back from friends and family. Some may truly not realize they are sabotaging. (This takes a lot of “love.”) If you suspect that is the case, have a private conversation. Explain that the discouragement is making it harder and allow them room to change and be supportive. On the other hand, (here comes the “tough” part) you may have to realize that some people will insist on being unhelpful, inappropriate or unaware and that requires you to pull on your inner strength and maybe even distance yourself from them. Don’t let them steal your success or make you feel bad for making improvements. Keep your eye on the prize and find people that do support you. (As an aside: Anyone can ALWAYS tweet, post or email your positive steps to Blakely FIT. Clients and readers do it all the time! We’re always elated to hear good news and moments of success.)
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