HANDLING FAMILY AND FRIEND CHALLENGES TO HEALTHY HABITS
Dietitian Jessica Cording offers holiday advice to those trying to follow nutrition and fitness programs in the midst of a season of celebratory and sometimes uncontrolled eating and slackened exercise routines in an article for SHAPE.com, “How to Deal When Friends or Family Don’t Support Your Healthy Habits.”
Expecting a piece in which non-healthy challengers are portrayed as completely bad and healthy eaters as good, it was surprising that Cording did not immediately take sides. She began by suggesting that such situations need closer examination.
She allowed for the possibility that following a too-strict eating plan might be placing some near the edge of an eating disorder. That concerns raised by those around us we see as not fit are valid, and we should loosen up and indulge a bit more when it comes to eating, she indicates. Cording makes points that may not be welcomed but are vital to health, because overly rigid habits can be dangerous.
Cording offers additional guidance for how to deal with awkward social situations. She makes the following suggestions, summarized below, which should be read in entirety in the article to get the full benefit:
Examine stated concerns for hidden worries
Check yourself for over-restrictive or disordered habits
Attempt to explain or remain silent when challenged
Make adjustments as needed with fitness and diet
In a time when national obesity rates are rising, it becomes more difficult to defend healthy habits when more of the population dismisses or excuses-away exercise and diet guidelines
recommended by experts. Those who have been successful in following plans that resulted in significant improvements know that well-meaning chiding by others can derail attempts to persevere.
Although this post comes at a time period after the big holiday crush, this same issues arise throughout the rest of the year. We may see certain relatives only once a year, but interactions with friends about different eating and workout preferences may occur regularly.
January and February are famous for being months in which many focus on health and fitness, and excuses for not indulging at get-togethers may be more readily accepted. But as these months set the tone for the remainder of the year, experiencing success now can help set our resolve to meet goals set down in early January.
Perhaps this advice can make the difference between meeting and giving up on your personal resolutions to adopt healthy habits in 2019.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Note: As a registered and practicing dietitian in my early career, the following strategy helped me save relationships and my diet over the years: making the case NOT about the food but timing or conditions. I exclaimed how wonderful and appealing the offered food appeared and avoided making the issue about ME and my dietary concerns.
Then follow through on your proclamations (don't lie), but with portion sizes and choices that work for you, doing so in a manner that shows you appreciate what's offered and the effort to make it. Indicate that you intend to enjoy and participate in the celebration. Then sample some of what's presented rather than eat full portions. Maybe it will work for you too at some gatherings.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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