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Is your Family Helping or Hurting Your Eating Habits?

Is your Family Helping or Hurting Your Eating Habits? (And How to Turn Things Around)

This morning as I was blending up a combo of fruits and greens and seeds for my entire family to drink, I thought about how far we’ve come in our healthy eating journey, and how important familial support can be in sticking to new habits.

Years ago, when I got on the green smoothie train, my husband wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole. I tried to coerce him, but the one time he took a sip, he thought it was awful. Over the years though, especially since our daughter was born, he’s slowly been open to trying new things. In fact, you know what he requests nearly every week? Kale chips.

I know.

He influences me, too: If he wants brownies after dinner, I’m probably going to want them too. But if he chooses to eat fruit while we watch TV, it seems to rub off on me.

My point is, the people who you’re around the most can really make or break your diet, and other choices, as well. So if your family members and co-workers (I work from home, and my cats mostly don’t influence my eating habits; canned beef just isn’t my thing) are influencing you in a not-so-positive direction, what can you do?

At Work

I once had a coworker who biked to work every day and did handstand pushups when he needed a break from staring at the computer screen. That’s the kind of coworker you want to be spending more time with. When someone like that goes to lunch with you, they order the salad with the grilled chicken, dressing on the side, or want to go to the ethnic place with the great veggie side dishes.

No, you don’t have to give up your current work friends, but see if you can get into the circle of people who already are living the kind of lifestyle you want to live. If that’s not an option, see if one or two of the people you’re closest with want to work together to change your ways. Maybe instead of going for ice cream sundaes every week, you’ll vow to take a walk, instead.

At Home

Not gonna lie, this one can be trickier. If your spouse is a die-hard meat and potatoes eater or happily lives off of bread and pasta and ice cream no problem, they may not be so happy to make changes of the green variety.

Try talking to them about what you hope to accomplish with your diet–make it about you, not them—and tell them you’d love some input on how you think the house dynamic can shift to make that happen. You can also say you’d love to try some new recipes and, again, get their input, and work some new meals into the weekly rotation.

Sometimes it can be scary for other members of the family if one person is making a lot of changes. Reassure all involved that this doesn’t mean you’ll never go out with the family for fried clams again, and it doesn’t mean you won’t bake your killer chocolate cake for birthdays. It just means that you want to be as healthy as possible for a long, long time, and that means making some changes.

Take it one little step at a time, and ask for support whenever you need it.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.