Does this sound like you: You want to change your diet. You’ve heard that cutting out certain foods is better for you. You feel better, sleep better, think better and even look better when you eat what’s best for you. But it’s sometimes so hard to stick to those changes. Why??
One of the most common reasons for the struggle (and it is real) is that most of the people we eat with don’t share the same desire. If they did, this would be a whole lot easier!
When you are trying to eat a cleaner, healthier diet, choosing a restaurant to go to with friends is often difficult. You may not want to be “branded” as someone hard to please, so you go along with the crowd and inevitably as you accommodate others, your plans for healthy food evaporate. You may even feel it’s an impossible struggle. But I promise you it is not.
The reason I know this so well is because I live this life. I have many friends and family members who eat differently that I do… and there are many who I love and with whom I want to socialize…. So I have developed some strategies that I would like to share with you.
- If you are going to a restaurant that someone else has chosen, check to see if they have a menu online. If they do, you can see what might work for you and that will take some pressure off at the moment.
- If there is not something suitable on the menu, call the restaurant and ask to relay a message to the chef. Explain your restrictions or what you are looking for and see if they can accommodate you. It might surprise you to know that most of the time they will. What a relief not to have to have that conversation with others looking on!
- You can also suggest a different restaurant to your friends. We are often reluctant to make waves about food, especially when we are the ones that eat differently. However, you lose nothing by asking. Your friends may surprise you!
- If you are eating at someone else’s home, offer to bring a dish or two. Most people will appreciate the offer and will feel relieved if they are not sure what to make for you. Make enough for everyone… you may even find a few converts in the room by the end of the meal! ?
- Wherever you are going, it is often best to have snack before you go. A light snack with fiber, fat and protein will take the edge off if you need to wait a while before eating and will also make it possible to eat less if there are fewer options for you. Some good choices are: a yogurt (parfait), (make ahead) chia pudding, or a smoothie.
- Take along a discrete healthy snack in your pocket or bag (if you are carrying one). Some granola, a small bag of trail mix, or a healthy protein bar (buy or make your own like this one is good to have on hand when you are out. I always have something with me just in case I run into problems finding a meal that works for me, and I cannot tell you how many times it has helped me out of a tight spot.
- Most important of all is your mind set. You are doing nothing wrong by taking care of yourself. Every person has the right and the obligation to do what is best for themselves. Although you may get pressure from people that do not understand, you can gently explain to them that when you eat what’s best for you, you feel better. It might be hard at first but it gets easier, I promise.
- Sharing is caring. If your friends show interest, feel free to show those around you what you are eating. Offer them a taste if they want it and be open to answering their questions. The best way to open other peoples’ minds is to be open yourself, while not trying to convince them that your way is best.
- Get support! It’s helpful to have a buddy, a coach or a group that you belong to who are like-minded. It’s one of the benefits of our Nourished Body and Mind community. Having a place to go, whether in person or online, where you can openly discuss what is going on for you is so helpful. Reach out and find the methods that work best for you!
I hope these strategies help you as much as they have helped me. Are there other strategies that you use that work well? I’d love to hear about them, too! We are always learning from and inspiring each other here!