Are You Being Health Food Shamed?

healthy lifestyle

You’re hosting guests for the weekend, and you also know they tend to sleep in. Are you still considered a gracious host if you sneak out for your morning exercise class? Will they ridicule you for being “obsessed” with staying in shape and living a healthy lifestyle?

How about this scenario? Invites go out at the office for the birthday party of a colleague. Your face falls when you read the details. You’re forfeiting your workout and you’re going to a restaurant where nothing on the menu fits the way you’ve been eating. OK, you compromise, one missed workout this week is not a big deal. You can shift it to tomorrow and if not, you’ve been doing great staying on track with your healthy lifestyle.

At the party, however, politely passing on the BBQ, beans, and potato salad you know will sabotage the last few weeks of diligently dumping sugar and starch, puts you under attack. “You deserve to live a little,” your co-worker tells you. “You’ll work it off tomorrow,” says the birthday girl.

As if change wasn’t hard enough, temptation is everywhere all the time. And as in-vogue as active wear is, and as abundant as the known health risks are, there are still more people inactive and not engaging in healthy habits regularly than those who do. How do you handle the saboteurs and keep up your healthy lifestyle?

healthy lifestyleMentally prepare. Know resistance is coming. It may be threatening to someone that you’re changing and perhaps leaving her behind. Others may be defensive imagining, however unreasonable, that you’re judging their behavior.

Invite others to join you. Rehearse this if it’s still new to you. Treat your exercise ritual as an appointment. Let your guests (or hosts) know you will be going for a walk (or insert your activity) in the morning. Would anyone else like to join you?

Plan ahead. Food sensitivity is a real “thing” today. If you’re turning down the fresh-baked wheat bread at breakfast, it might mortify the host who remembered you once loved it. Forewarn a host that though she needn’t go to any extra trouble that there are a few things you have to avoid and you’ll bring something with you.

Use humor. There comes that moment at the end of a meal. “Would you be interested in dessert?” Your answer, “Yes, I’m very interested but I’m not going to have any.” Who doesn’t want dessert? You answering first can break the ice and avoid a negative comment.

We’re still in a culture though where if you suddenly start declining a cocktail or saying no to dessert, eyebrows go up. If you hit the gym regularly, you’re a health nut. You’re “so good” or even “no fun.” Ask about the non-gluten label on the menu items and someone may think you’re on a fad diet.

You may have to concede that you’re the salmon swimming upstream for now. If your friends persist, put a smile on your face and tell them to stop health-food shaming you! It is just as destructive and legitimate as fat shaming. Eventually, energy, radiance and a trimmer waist may be contagious for your friends.


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