The other day a client confessed to me that when a friend asked for her advice about healthy eating (knowing she was seeing an R.D. and working on specific goals) she blew her off.
She asked, “Is that bad? It’s just that she’s never been very supportive.” When I asked what she meant she said her friend often criticized the healthy changes she tried to make, tried to talk her out of them, competed with her for results, or tempted her with offers of cookies and candy.
I hear this a lot from my clients. Co-workers, family members, significant others, kids and even close friends can become foes when you’re trying to take a healthier path. In my experience there are a few common reasons:
1) They feel judged by the changes you’re making, even if you’re not actually critiquing or comparing your diet to theirs. Sometimes other people in your life will judge themselves when your changes force them to confront their own habits. Pushing back on the discomfort that stirs up can result in some not so nice reactions, but they may not even realize what they’re doing or why.
2) The changes you’re making impact how you spend time together. We often bond over food, so when you healthy up your diet it might mean changing the way you spend time with people you care about. I once had a client who had a stressful job and to cope she and her co-worker planned daily escapes from the office, which always revolved around food. When she began eating healthier her co-worker felt like the plug had been pulled on their daily “therapy.”
I’m not dismissing unsupportive reactions from people in your life (or full on sabotage) and I know it’s a major obstacle, but I understand why it happens. Has it happened to you? Come back tomorrow and I’ll share some tips for how to deal with it.