I think that we all know the drill by now. We seem to be getting along just fine with a group, or an individual, and then they offer you a food that you simply won’t eat and suddenly, you’re “that health freak”. Sometimes it comes when we have gone out to eat with them and they want to load up on alcohol or sugary desserts. Sometimes it’s doughnuts at the office, but when people who want everyone around them to be as unhealthy as they are, they can be prone to target you as a problem. Guess what. I beat them to the punch and announce early on that “yes, I am a health freak”, and I’m proud of it. Over time, as they realize that I religiously stick to my guns with my nutritional habits, they back off. True, I’m not the one that they want to party with but then, that’s okay. I can assure you, they don’t want to party with me either at the bar that I patronize late at night. It’s heavy and I pick it up repeatedly. It makes me a royal badass and I love it. All their habits do is make them soft.
I have been ostracized from family groups, church groups and other small (minded) gatherings because of my healthy nutritional habits. I once worked for a large weight loss company and sadly remember how every week, members would often show up in tears talking about how they had lost a lifetime “friend” over their healthy habits. Trust me, no matter how long you have known these types who do not respect your healthy way of life, you must realize they do not have your best interests in mind and they are probably not your true “friends”.
Don’t Allow It
The fear of being ostracized, or left out, is such a strongly negative emotion for some people that they had rather remain stuck in mediocrity, never growing into their full potential, than risk being the odd man out. The question that I present to you is this. Do you really want to be a member of a group that specializes in mediocrity? If those people don’t want you to realize your maximum potential then they are attempting to control you on a micro-management level. The very fact that you might be successful in your weight management program and health initiative proves that it can be done, so, if it can be done, why aren’t they doing it? Your good habits shed light on the fact that they are just not that commited to their health, so they try to drag you down. Let’s face it. If everyone was morbidly obese and unhealthy then there would be no pressure to be anything else. That’s what they are after, a “dumbing down” of society as a whole where health is concerned. Resist this forced ignorance with all your heart.
While the fear of public speaking is sometimes feared more than death, many psychiatrists believe that this fear is based on the fear of ostracism. (1) This morbid fear of being an outcast can prevent you from seeking out answers to your problems. People fear being criticized so they tend to merely conform to their peers and environment. This causes us to live a life that is below what we have envisioned for ourselves. It causes us to resist change and accept the status quo. The problem is that when it comes to our health, the status quo is a life riddled with illness and disease that may have been prevented with a little backbone to stand up to these people who so desperately want to control us.
Conflict of The Ages
While we all want comfort, there is no comfort to be found when we are sick. We might always consider weight management as being strictly an issue of vanity, but vanity alone will not see you through the hard moments in your program. You must truly desire strength and health to be able to endure when the going gets tough. When your diabetic, alcoholic, obese “friends” try to pull you down into their pit of bad habits, remember what the outcome will be. If you live like them, you will become like them. If you are unhealthy now then remember, the definition of insanity has been considered to be doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you want change, you must change. Doing what appears to be easy does not give you an easy life. It causes you to fall short of your dreams and settle for mediocrity. Why would you allow people who you really don’t want to be like, to dictate the course of your life? Are they living the life of your dreams? If not, then why are you following their lead? I would guess that they are living at a level well below the desires of your heart.
Million Dollar Question
Is the life that you are living going to get you the life that you want? If not, then why are you living it? Analyze your behavior and see where you can make changes that are more in line with your goals. Notice that I said YOUR goals, not someone else’s.
How to Cope
If you find yourself in a restaurant with people who have different ideas about how to have a good time, instead of ordering the biggest, deep-fried entree on the menu, just look for simply prepared meats and vegetables. You can’t always ditch everyone that may have a negative influence on your behavior but you can take control of the situation. If they are ordering heavy appetizers, order simple salads and lean meats. Avoid cream sauces and fried entrees. Opt for broiled lean cuts of meat, chicken and un-breaded seafood. Don’t skimp on your protein. If you can order a larger portion of a good, clean and lean protein, do it. It will fill you up and make avoiding the tortilla chips, tortillas and bread basket all the easier. Many restaurants have fresh fruit on the menu. If you still want something after your main course, order fruit. Avoid alcohol. It will add empty calories and lower your inhibitions, it can easily steer you way off course, allowing you to fall back into old, destructive habits. Drink water or another zero calorie beverage such as unsweetened tea. Never resort to drinking your calories. Liquid calories don’t satisfy and go straight into your bloodstream to cause an imbalance in your blood sugar, which will send you into a vicious cycle of eating more and more before you feel satisfied.
If you find yourself with a group who want to sit endlessly, take the initiative to get up and go for a walk. As the rest of the group sits and goes brain dead in a high blood sugar fog, you can get outside and walk off some calories and refresh your mind and body with the invigorating effect of outside exercise. It will instantly lower stress and help you to refocus on your healthy initiatives.
On the job, always have healthy food with you. A co-worker actually left open bags of specialty pretzels around my computer. They went in the trash. I believe that they cost a lot of money so when she realized that I had trashed them, I was never bothered with that particular problem again. Stay full and energized and the doughnuts and cupcakes won’t be nearly as appealing. Let your lifestyle be known and stick to your guns. When people know that they can’t sway you, they are less likely to try, because they have to admit failure and nobody wants to do that. Accept that people will think you’re a bit crazy but when you look better than them and are not sick, they will rethink that issue.
Avoid the drive-thru. It’s not quicker than cooking at home. Get yourself some gadgets to assist your efforts in the kitchen and learn to use them. I recently bought a great griddle to make a huge batch of protein pancakes in a flash. Invest your money in your health program, not in fast food. When others try to influence you to stop at the drive-thru just keep going. Tell them that in the time that you sit in line, you can cook a healthy meal at home for a fraction of the cost.
When those people who try to ostracize you are planning a night out, begin to make your own plans. When they are planning a night at the buffet or the Tex-Mex restaurant, just start planning what you can eat there, if you want to go. A buffet has limitless healthy options. Skip the tortillas on the fajitas at the Tex-Mex place.
Plan your work and work your plan and be an example to the whole bunch. Before you know it, they will be asking you for pointers.