When you decide to pursue a new lifestyle, a healthier lifestyle, you may receive some negativity from the people around you. This is fairly common. This post is about living the sweet life despite opposition from those you love.
For example, you may decide that you are ready to lose weight. You’ve tried many diets in the past, but after realizing that they don’t work or only work temporarily, you are finally ready to make a lifestyle change.
You start eating healthier. You start cooking Mediterranean-style healthy dishes and your family groans at the fish and vegetables you make.
Where are the meatballs?
What, no pork chops?
Let’s order a pizza.
I’m not on a diet, why do I have to eat this way?
Another of Mom’s crazy diets, etc.
You’re just trying to feel good, have more energy, and serve a healthy, tasty meal. But everyone is against it. They are thinking about themselves.
It makes it hard to stick with it.
Let’s go a step further. You manage to stay strong and stick with it, and you start to feel great. You lose a little weight. Maybe you decide to join the gym or start a walking club or take a dance class. Suddenly, you are spending more time on yourself. You’re hanging out with other like-minded health-conscious people. And your family and friends get even more upset.
But we always watch Jeopardy after supper.
It’s cold out, why are you going for a walk now?
Let’s go out and get some ice-cream.
We used to go brunch on Saturdays and now you always go to dance class.
Change is difficult for other people to accept. They are used to you being a certain way. They are used to you fulfilling a certain role in their lives. You were the fat friend, or the shopping buddy or the ice-cream pal. Now you always want to take a walk or go to the gym or — got forbid — eat vegetables.
It’s not easy, but try to have compassion for these people. They feel like they are losing you. Secretly they admire you, but they are not strong enough to join you. For most people, change in their own lives is too hard. So when they see change in others, they get defensive.
At first they may tell you that you look great after losing some weight. But start to look too good and they get fearful. And you’ll get thinly veiled compliments like:
Are you feeling OK, you look so thin?
Are you sure you’re all right?
Have you talked to your doctor about all this weight loss?
I read that too much exercise at your age blah blah blah.
Translation: Me Me Me. Don’t forget about me.
You have to stand your ground. If you don’t change your actions, you won’t see any progress in your life. If you continue to go on ice-cream dates, you won’t get any healthier. You certainly won’t lose weight. If you spend your time sitting on a couch watching television, you won’t burn any calories.
Don’t get trapped into other people’s expectations of who you are. Your change makes them uncomfortable. But this is not their life. It’s yours.
This is your journey. And if you choose to pursue a healthier, sweeter lifestyle, it’s really none of their business.
This doesn’t just happen with weight loss, of course. That was just my example. It could be that you want to leave your job, or a relationship, or start a business, or go back to school. Anything that seems new and brave will inevitably be put down. Know that it’s natural, and it’s not just you and the people you love. It happens all the time. It’s human nature to want the comfort of sameness.
Of course, you will find some people around you who cheer on your success. But be ready to be strong because there will always be naysayers who try to spin what you are doing to protect their own comfort levels.
Be fearless. It takes courage and strength to improve your lifestyle. But it’s worth it in the long run. You can live the sweet life despite opposition.