Three Ways To Stick With Healthy Eating Even When No One Else Is
Last updated: April 2022
Sigh. It’s hard enough to choose cauliflower over cake even when you’re home alone with your own good intentions. Add in a gaggle of family and friends, especially when those people are ordering the triple cheeseburger with double bacon, cheese, and a jumbo side of onion rings, and it gets even tougher.
Still, you’ve decided that you want to take the best care of yourself possible so you can see your kids graduate, travel with your spouse, and take that basket weaving course you’ve had your eye on. You’re not giving up just because Jane from accounting ordered the fried chicken basket with extra skin and is pressuring you to split a hot fudge sundae with her.
Nope, no siree Bob.
But…you have no idea how you’re going to keep this up. How you’re going to keep making healthy choices when your friends, coworkers, and family choose not to. Here are three ideas guaranteed to help keep you on the path of those good intentions.
Make room for treats
When you feel like you’re passing up every single delicious-looking thing that comes your way, sticking with a healthy eating plan can be really hard. Instead of living in the land of deprivation for months on end, choose a salty or chocolately oasis to look forward to. In my experience, knowing you get a treat once or twice a month (or whatever fits in with your personal health plan) really goes a long way toward keeping you on track, even when those around you are eating not-so-healthy stuff. When they pull out an afternoon cookie the size of their head, remind yourself that on Friday night you get to savor your favorite cheese fries.
You know how parents use m&ms to potty train their little rascals? You can reward yourself for sticking to your plan, too, but with grown-up size rewards. Want a manicure? A weekend away? A new nose hair clipper? You can make it as simple or complex as you like, and the bribe can cost as little or as much as your budget allows (just don’t make it food-related). Set up a place to track your progress on your phone or even on a piece of paper stuck to your fridge. Try rewarding yourself for staying on track somewhere between four and seven days in a row, and don’t give yourself the prize unless you actually follow through. After a while you’ll really look forward to sticking to your plan, because it means more prizes, and who doesn’t love that?
Tweak your attitude just a teensy bit
Falling into the “Man, I wish I could eat that, this stinks” attitude is easy and almost automatic, but don’t let it happen to you. Instead, try changing up your thoughts just a little bit, even if it’s just to remind yourself that you’re choosing to make healthy changes, and the benefits are huge—like living a longer, more vital life. Next time your sister-in-law is wagging a piece of cheesecake in front of you, remind yourself that you’re doing this for you, and no one else.
Ultimately, what you do with your body is your decision. Let that information empower you: You get to make whatever choice you want, no matter what the guy in the next booth over is eating.
Do you chew your food slowly or quickly?
Join the conversation