"I Can't Believe You Are Eating That"
How To Inoculate Yourself From People Who Are Confused Or Threatened By Your Food Choices
By Joshua Wayne
I wrote an article a few weeks ago called “What You Think of Me Is None of My Business”. You can check it out here:
How To Live Without Apology: What You Think Of Me Is None Of My Business
In that article I discussed the Importance of not apologizing for your choices or somehow minimizing them in the eyes of others. This is an important issue because the single biggest problem in the "weight loss world" is the short term nature of most individual weight loss.
The statistics are overwhelming. People lose weight and then they gain it back. The issue of course is how do you avoid this trap
. How do you become one of those long term success stories where you lose weight and keep it off long term? Maybe you are not at your "goal weight" but you are at a place where you feel very comfortable about your progress
At PEERtrainer, we have a very interesting perspective on this issue. Because we are so deeply connected with so many of you, we have a very good idea of what it takes to become one of the people who "avoids the trap of gaining it back.
Those of you who avoid the trap usually alter their diets in a way that requires some negotiation with the "real world."
Meaning, your levels of plant consumption are higher than the average person out there. You exercise more and maybe a little differently. In general your focus on the quality of your food, movement and thought is simply greater than those around you.
(Unless you are very lucky to be blessed with a totally supportive family, community and work environment!)
We are addressing this issue and focusing on it because for most people
peer pressure is very real, and can be devastating. Yes, many people fall off track after 5 pm and when they are alone with their own thoughts.
But a large percentage of sabotage is not self-inflicted. Avoiding being sabotaged by those around you for many people becomes very important.
Especially when you are starting your journey, and you are unsure about how serious you are about expecting more from yourself. This is a critical juncture!
Anyway, after that last article was published, I got an interesting question shortly after from somebody who is in our Point of No Return Program
that gave me the idea to take it a bit further and add even a bit more ‘edge’ to this conversation and issue.
Here is the question I received:
"My son has been following "Eat to Live" along with us. He told me on the phone today from Florida, that there are some workers that have a tendency to say some pretty cruel things about his choices of foods, while they are chomping on their burger, shake and fries.......he doesn't know what to say to them when they say "I can't believe you are eating that." He is about to lose his cool and say something that will cause MORE bad feelings. I was looking through old blogs, but didn't find the right topic. Would you please email me which blog I could forward to him....I vaguely remember reading something about this."
What a great scenario to break down! It takes the issues I was raising in the first article and offers a “worst-case scenario” – a situation where you could actually be made fun of by others in an outright way. Sort of like 3rd grade playground bully style – only it’s actually adults in this case. Go figure.
Out of curiosity, what would you do in that scenario?
Take a moment and think about it.
You’re in a work scenario with people you interact with everyday. You’re doing something you believe is good for your health and you don’t just get an underhanded, snarky comment – you get outright made fun of and ridiculed.
What would you do?
What would you say to them? Would you be furious and ‘go off’?
Or would you bite your tongue and start a flurry of angry dialogue in your head, sounding off on all the things you wish you were comfortable saying out loud? Would you take it home with you? Would you spend your weekend upset about it?
So let’s start talking about the most useful way to react in such a situation.
In a minute, I’m going to outline a number of specific different, constructive things you can say in response to such immature behavior in others. But that’s really the framing of the house. First I want to talk about the foundation.
What is the foundation?
Really, truly, thoroughly, completely NOT GIVING A DAMN WHAT OTHERS THINK ABOUT YOU! Being comfortable in your own skin. Knowing you are the one who evaluates your worth, not others.
Do you find yourself thinking, “Easier said than done? That sounds great, but it’s so hard!
If so, my answer is So What!
if it’s hard?
What is the alternative? Do you enjoy giving your power away to others? Has what you’ve been doing up until now been working well for you?
It’s critical to understand that the judgments, criticism, and meanness others throw at you HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU! It’s really important to get that.
Others lousy behavior has nothing to do with you. It’s about them. It’s about their own immaturity. It’s about their own dissatisfaction in life. It’s about their own need to feel empowered by making others feel disempowered.
So let go of all the emotions you have attached to their behavior. That’s the hardest piece and also the most crucial. Once you get that, though, you’ve already won because you are free. Nobody else owns your power. It’s yours to keep and enjoy. That in and of itself is a great reason to smile and relax, because now your have options.
So what should you do then when people show you this kind of attitude or outright meanness?
-Just stare at them with a blank look on your face like they’re speaking a foreign language.
-Just stare at them and smile. Or laugh.
-Just stare and look at them psychotically … hopefully you’ll scare them away. (Okay, maybe best to use this as a last resort).
-Agree with them (i.e. “Yeah I’m a really am a sissy for eating this way. It’s true, I can’t deny it. I’m so glad you all know. I finally feel out of the closet. I’m so relieved…thank you!”). When you do this, you make light of it and you have the power.
-Say, “Are you jealous? Want me to cook some for you too?” Again, make light and you have the power.
Conclusion and Next Steps
Here’s one more critical reminder: never say any of the above from a place of anger or defensiveness. If you’re get defensive, you lose
Guaranteed. 100% of the time. It doesn’t matter what you say to them, or how well you ‘zing’ them back; if they get you off balance, you lose emotionally. ANY time you lose your cool, get emotional or get knocked off balance, you lose.
Internalizing what I’m talking about here is an amazing growth step that I sincerely hope everybody makes in their life. It is a such powerful way to let go of so much fear and anxiety in your life.
It doesn’t mean you don’t want to do well and have good relationships. It doesn’t mean you should be a slacker and not care how important people in your life feel about you.
But what it does mean is letting go of the emotional tension you carry inside by worrying about how others will react to your behaviors and life-style choices.
If they can’t deal with it, who cares? Move on.
Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about them.
Some next steps.
1. If you are active on PEERtrainer or a member of our coaching teams, take this opportunity to log in to your account
and make some notes about how you have dealt with this issue in the past. Or make some notes about how you plan to address this issue in the future. We see over and over that when people write down something they plan to do, the odds of that happening successfully SKYROCKET.
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2. If you are just reading these periodic coaching articles and getting benefit out of them that is great. But if you feel as if you could benefit from a little more structure and guidance on a weekly basis, we'd love for you to do the one month trial of our Point Of No Return Program
. As you probably know, the program is built to help people lose weight on a more permanent basis. The program really begins where traditional diets leave off.
3. Ask us more questions. Drop us an email, ask a question on the PEERtrainer Facebook Wall
, or ask a question in one of the coaching teams. The questions you ask us form the basis of everything we write about on the site. So keep them coming!