This blog post got a LOT of attention on my Facebook Fan page (www.facebook.com/LivingGorgeous) so I wanted to make sure I shared it with you. We can ALL relate to this woman's struggle! Cheers to a Gorgeous 2015 ;-)
She says: “After going Paleo two months ago, I feel great but have found my biggest obstacle is not food but people. The people that roll their eyes, try to argue about why that you're doing is wrong, and the people that try to tempt you with stuff you shouldn't be eating. For example, my MIL of sixteen years gave me a toaster for Christmas…WTH??!! After all this time I can see past her passive aggressive ways but I am sure there are many out there that are fighting this uphill battle of non-supporters. I thought maybe you could give some tips here on FB for overcoming that daily beast of feeling the need to justify their paths to uneducated people that I could share. I know a few people it could help. Thanks!”
E says: The key in all this is just doing what you need to do for YOU. I have had to make many changes to my own diet over the years and I often bring my own food to family gatherings and navigate around other menu items served. It has taken my family years to start to understand my lifestyle, which I totally get because it’s so radically different from the way they eat, so I do what I have to do to make it work for ME
People grill me all the time about my eating habits. I love to use the phrase “I'm doing what works for me.” It immediately disarms people and lowers defenses all around.
Once I learned not to expect anyone to understand my eating choices, it was truly liberating. The responsibility became mine and mine alone, and that made it easier to take ownership of my eating. Fortunately, I am rarely in a place where I can't figure out how to make the situation work for me. Instead of saying “I can't eat that”, I now say “I don't eat that.” This eliminates feeling victimized by my choices and instead creates a sense of empowerment. It’s nobody’s journey but my own.
Another way to think about it is this: true ownership of your eating can be just as much of an internal conversation as an external conversation. How you eat is your business and no one else's. And you can either be outspoken about it or you can spend your energy by intention and just piling your plate with foods that fuel your body-- physically and emotionally.
If you choose to open the dialogue, then you open yourself up to cynicism and judgment. I'm not one to shy away from confrontation, but food fights come with a tremendous amount of baggage and are a loaded gun. I answer questions when prompted, but I love to turn the tables and direct questions at the person asking. Most often people who ask the questions want validation of their own eating habits. Eating Paleo is far more acceptable than it's ever been, but it's still fairly counter culture as a whole. So I really try to intuit what someone is really asking me when they ask about their eating habits. Are they truly interested in Paleo, or are they unwilling to change their eating habits and just want validation of what they're currently doing?
When someone approaches me and says “You eat Paleo? I could never go gluten-free!” I love to always ask "How's that working for you?" I'm a big fan of putting the responsibility of eating back into the hands of the owner. It will save you a great deal of frustration and emotional energy.
People have to come to the concept of change on their own terms. My own family is no different; my parents are willing to incorporate anything Dr. Oz recommends but have no problem questioning my recommendations. My stock answer has become "when you're ready to make some changes, give me a call!" Peace and love, baby!
How do YOU take ownership of your eating choices?