Learn how to fight against family members who might be sabotaging your health.
Over the last few weeks I’ve heard complaints from 2 very frustrated clients.
They both address similar issues so I thought I would address them together in this week’s post.
My first client is blessed enough to have her husband prepare her a warm, delicious, home-made dinner every day when she gets home from work. Sounds great, except the meals are usually calorie-laden and often nutrient deficient.
He also likes to occasionally spoil her with her favorite chocolates which throws her will-power out the window.
My second client complained to me about her mother. She keeps the cupboards well stocked with every kind of junk food imaginable to satisfy her own sweet tooth. She sent me a photo of the junk food that her mother stocks in the house on a weekly basis– I could hardly believe my eyes!!! (see the photo below)
Just how do you maintain healthy eating habits when someone else is responsible for the food that comes in the house?
It may seem like a simple solution at the outset- just don’t eat it but the problem is a lot more complex. Here are just 2 parts of the multi-layered issue:
On any given day, most of us would have a hard time resisting our sugary or fatty foods but the problem is even worse when the foods are in our own house. We may not go out and buy them but once they end up in our cupboards, we are powerless to resist. Throw in some emotions and the security and privacy of your own home (where no-one else can see you) and you’ve got the perfect recipe for sabotage.
Family dynamics can wreak havoc on our well intentioned fitness goals. Emotional issues such as guilt, shame, people-pleasing, using food in a variety of ways such as to show love, to stuff feeling, to console or to celebrate all make the issue very complex. Many people choose not to upset the delicate family ‘balance’ instead of confronting the offending family member. Let’s look at these 2 family scenarios
In the first case, my client’s husband would get deeply offended when she ‘offered suggestions’ on healthier ways of preparing foods. He also got offended when she did not eat what was on her plate. To him it meant that she did not appreciate all the time and effort that he put in cooking for her. So to not offend him, she unwillingly ate what he put in front of her.
In the second scenario, my client’s mother would stock the cupboards with all kinds of junk food for herself, not considering the impact the foods would have on her daughter who was morbidly obese. Although her mother says that she is committed to helping her daughter lose weight, there’s bigger issues at play that neither are them are ready to discuss.
Here are a few strategies that you could use if you find yourself in this situation:
1. Accessorize your Meal-This tip is from my client whose husband prepares dinner every night. She says she prepares a fresh bowl of vegetables to add to his meals. Although he is not crazy about the idea, it fills her up on the healthier food so that she does not overeat on the fattier foods that he prepares.
2. Be Impactful- One of my favourite lines is that you’re either affecting people or being infected by them. You can affect him by bringing them into your world gradually. Invite them to exercise with you, go for a walk or even begin to educate them on the benefits of healthier eating or the dangers of unhealthy eating. You can have just as much influence on them as they have on you so don’t be afraid to walk in your own power.
3. Be consistent– people will often follow your example. If they see that you’re sometimes committed and sometimes not then they may take it to mean that you’re not that serious about your health so they won’t take your health that seriously either.
4. Be Bold– Sometimes you just have to say NO! It’s difficult to say no to your family members, especially when they don’t understand why this is so important to you. Be clear about what you will and will not eat.
5. Be Clear– Go one step farther and make a clear and concise list and post it on the fridge of acceptable foods, occasional foods and foods that you will never eat. Once it’s clear then there can be no arguments about what you really meant.
6. Go Deeper– There are often deeper issues and dynamics at play when it comes to confronting a family member. The family member that sabotages you is often acting out of fear or insecurity; they are using food as a weapon to keep or to control you. This however is an issue that requires family counseling. Visit your family doctor for a referral and stay committed to being the best and healthiest you, you can be.
Until Next Week,