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how do I refrain from judging?

In the past 4 months I've really changed my health and lifestyle, lost over 20 pounds and completely changed the way I view food. I am no stranger to being unhealthy, I've been overweight all my life, rarely exercised and it was nothing for me to down an entire pint of Ben and Jerrys. But since I've made this change I've really educated myself about health and nutrition and I'm so much more focused on the quality of food rather than the quantity. I'm very health concious now and am always thinking about the nutrition I put into my body. I don't know what triggered the change. I've tried dieting probably 5 times before with less success but this is the first time I feel my mindset has really changed, its not just about dieting and losing weight anymore, it's about feeling good and being healthy.

Which brings me to my problem. I'm having such a hard time seeing those close to me eat the way they do. Maybe its because its the way I used to eat, or I want them to have the same mindset as me, or I want them to be healthy, or most likely all three. I know in my head that in order to live a healthy lifestyle they have to want to make that change for themselves, I can't force it on them. But I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes from rolling or from making a face when my husband orders the "super mega fried platter" when we go out to eat or when he finishes the evening with an ungodly amount of ice cream. Or when my mother and father, who are on continual diets, slather excess butter on their bread or indulge in dessert seconds with an excuse like, "I've been good today" or "I'll be good tomorrow" or "It's my birthday."

I don't want to be a nag to my husband, he's the type that will go the opposite way of where I'm trying to push him. But how do I keep from judging the behaviors I see in other people that I used to have myself? Do I just ignore it, hope to lead by example?

Thanks in advance for your comments.


Mon. Mar 19, 12:23pm

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Yes, I'd say ignore the behaviors of others. You are the only person you can change. If you've only been eating healthy for 4 months, others around you probably believe you will revert to your old behaviors pretty soon. It took my husband a year and a half before he started expressing interest in how I did it. Keep concentrating on maintaining your own new behaviors -- you yourself are not out of the woods yet.

Monday, March 19, 2007, 12:46 PM

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It's hard. My advice is to tread lightly. Remember when you weren't in the know? People would say comments - did you answer the same way? Did you used to say, it's my birthday or I've been good today? Have your family take baby steps or better yet, have them learn by example. When they see you eating well, they'll eventually start to make changes too.

Monday, March 19, 2007, 12:49 PM

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it was hard for me, too, to see others make poor choices regarding their meals. i almost felt like i didn't want to lose weight and eat more healthy for fear of "leaving behind" those who did not change in the ways i did. ultimately, i had to silently disagree and decide what would be a better option FOR ME, IF THE CHOICE WAS MINE TO MAKE. but, when it's not my decision, i have to live and let live. of course, i sometimes offer subtle hints that something is not the best choice, such as "i love fried foods, too! but i get heartburn sometimes so i tried the baked fish and it was delicious! have you tried it?" or something like that.

Monday, March 19, 2007, 1:10 PM

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Let it go. I think I read this in a Carolyn Hax column but she put it best basically saying that you don't want that role in your spouse's life. You're his wife, not his trainer. Don't take on the role of nag.

Monday, March 19, 2007, 1:23 PM

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Thanks for this thread - my BF is the most unhealthy eater, and he doesn't even care about the immediate repercussions (i.e. being in the bathroom all night after a bacon cheeseburger and Oreo milkshake), let alone care that he might have a heart attack in ten years. I can only hope that my example (and his ever tightening pants) will encourage him to eat healthier.


PS Thanks also for the spell checker, PT!

Monday, March 19, 2007, 1:23 PM

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just wanted to post for the benefiit of using the spell checker.

Monday, March 19, 2007, 1:30 PM

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ugh - I know exactly how you feel! Yes, you have to lead by example - - but lead with the realization that those around you may NEVER follow.

Two people in particular - my mother and my sister-in-law - are always "marveling" at how good I look and ask me how I do it. I tell them (watch what I eat, exercise, and log on PT - that's it!) and their faces always seem to fall a little. They seem upset to see that there isn't some trick to it; some little secret that I've happened upon. They get annoyed that you actually have to do some work.

I mentioned something the other day to my mother about a certain muffin being high in fat. She said, "Oh, with Atkins I don't have to worry about fat." And I retorted, perhaps a bit snidely, "Sure - if you follow it!" And then I let it go because it wasn't worth arguing about. Personally, I think Atkins is a stupid diet, but if it works for some people, great. But you can't pick the "don't worry about fat" portion of the diet and skip everything else - and then wonder why you're not losing weight.

Can you tell I'm frustrated, too? But - whatever. I remind myself that I've made my choices for myself and that others are going to make choices for themselves. That's all you can do. : )

Monday, March 19, 2007, 1:48 PM

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Dear OP, you mentioned that "I don't know what triggered the change". I'd suggest that, until you understand what changed your thinking, you are vulnerable to falling into your old habits again, and you really cannot help anyone else.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to do some healthy introspection to determine what was going on when you were suddenly motivated to change your eating habits. What was going on at that time? A new crush? Did you read a book that changed your thinking? A TV show? Four months ago was approximately Nov 19, around Thanksgiving. What was happening then? What changed?

Once you fully understand why you changed, then you might be able to help others in a compassionate way.

Monday, March 19, 2007, 3:23 PM

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I think the judgement is a fear that you may fall into the same behaviour, sort of an exagerated defense mechanism. Judgements like this are often something we are afraid to allow near our lives. If you truly love your husband, and value your marriage, you should never give in to your temptation to roll your eyes at him, ever.

Try this. When an eye rolling situation "rolls" along, close them instead, and say a quick (very, very quick) prayer. Whatever your deity, you can say

"_____________, let me be a good example for him in this meal, and don't let me blow my opportunity by making a mistake myself." and open your eyes and smile wickedly at him, like you have just had an incredibly erotic thought.

and when you are eating your incredibly healthful meal, let him see how much you are enjoying it. Don't fake it for his sake, but if you do enjoy it, why should he not know? In fact, let him see everything you enjoy about your new body and lifestyle. When you want to make something attractive to someone you love, you don't act like it is a hardship, or hateful to you, do you? Of course not. I have come to the point where I rarely even want to eat out anymore, because nothing tastes as good to me as I can make at home now. Place heathful, varied meals before him, and let him worry about everything else. If you fry chicken for his dinner, then pull the skin off first. If I put a good salad on the table, I don't worry about the gunky salad dressings others pour on, I simply enjoy my lemon juice and flaxseed oil, and let everyone see me enjoy it.

All my best,
mariarose



Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 6:39 AM

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OP Here

Thank you all so much for taking the time to answer and putting a lot of thought into your comments. A lot of you had some really great advice that I will try to put into practice.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 6:57 AM

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