February 2, 2011

Getting the Family on Board

Complaining, gagging, eyes rolling--every time you cook up a new and healthy meal. Sound familiar? This kind of response to our new way of eating is not uncommon. Sometimes the frustration and discouragement that builds from the negative attitudes around us may seem like good reasons to quit. Don't.

There are always excuses for me to give up. Daily it seems there are roadblocks, detours, etc. But I know that a healthy lifestyle is the right thing for me and my family. Ultimately I have to figure out a way around these obstacles. In the past I would quit way too easily, but patience and adaptability have become my friends. There are ways to compromise and slowly (but surely) get your entire family on board with a healthier way of life.

Here are some suggestions:

Don't be unreasonable--Just because the light has come on for you doesn't mean it has for everyone else in your family. They may not be ready to make the change yet. Nagging and scolding someone about their lifestyle and eating habits (ones that until very recently you SHARED) will likely have an adverse affect. Focus on you, not them.

Ask for help-- Have a heart-to-heart with the ones who don't seem to understand what you are doing. Share your goals. Let them know that you are serious and explain how important a strong support system is for your success. Together, make a list of a few specific things that the other person/people can do to help you along your journey. A little communication will go a long way.

Stay Committed--Make sure you are in this 100%. Once others realize that you are serious and fully committed to this (not just another one of your diets) they will be more likely to support you in any way that they can. Your example will also be the best way to encourage others toward a healthier lifestyle. Actions speak louder than words--so make sure you are giving it your all.

Research Substitutes--Look for new and creative ways to cook foods that your family loves! Some easy and hardly noticeable changes to make are:

  • Skim milk instead of 2% or Whole
  • Whole wheat bread instead of white/enriched breads (look at first ingredient)
  • Whole wheat pasta instead of regular
  • Fresh veggies instead of canned
  • Extra lean ground beef instead of higher fat ground beef
  • 2%(or lower) cheeses instead of regular
  • Parkay butter spray instead of regular butter
  • Natural peanut butter instead of regular peanut butter
  • baked proteins instead of fried
  • fruit canned in natural juice instead of heavy syrup

Also try substituting healthier ingredients in the recipes that your family loves. You don't have to go buy a new cookbook. (Although you certainly could!) Just find a couple of ingredients in your prized recipe to sub with a healthier option.

Offer options/variety--Remember that this is not a lifestyle that can be adopted by all, overnight. You may need to accommodate other family members by preparing some of their old-favorites from time to time and (GASP)--refrain from eating them! You can also experiment with making a "base meal" and offering several different sides, sauces, etc. For example: My family likes pasta with chicken and Alfredo sauce. We prepare the chicken and whole wheat pasta separately. For the husband and kids we add a jar of Alfredo sauce. To my pasta and chicken I add some prepared frozen vegetables and a tsp. of pesto. This is hardly any extra prep for me and everyone is happy! Of course the Alfredo sauce is not the healthiest, they are still getting the whole grains and a lean protein.

Make it fun--The way a healthy diet is introduced to your family is up to you. If you come across negatively or unhappy about the foods you are eating, how can you expect everyone else to be on board? Find ways to make this change fun. Put a positive spin on it:

  • Let the whole family participate in making your meals.
  • Look through magazines/online for healthy recipes with your family.
  • Make it look "fancy"--presentation is everything!
  • Offer healthy snacks throughout the day in fun ways--specials containers, in a fun place, etc.
  • Try new things as a family!
  • Make family dinner a fun time--more about the relationships, less about the food

Don't feel sorry for yourself--I think this is the most important thing. A healthy way of eating is not a punishment. Don't allow negative self talk. Don't focus on what you can't have. Don't let others talk you back into unhealthy habits. When you see others eating unhealthy things that you used to enjoy, just take a minute to be thankful that you are changing. You are doing the very best thing for yourself by taking steps toward a healthier you. That is something to celebrate--not pout about.

I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to share ways you have successfully included family and friends in your journey!


Kelly said...

Love it ! Thanks :)

Pretty Pauline said...

Sadly, I needed the last piece of advice the most! What does that say about me?

Dawnya said...

Great post! I have been lucky to have a family that wants to join me on this healthy lifestyle.

chrissybizzle said...

you are amazing! actually! i've been reading your blog for a few months and whenever i need some encouragement i pop on over here and feel like i can do this. bless you! x

Patrick said...

Big key for me is to remember that this is not a lifestyle that can be adopted by all in our house. I love veg, everyone else not so much. No way I can expect them to eat the amount of veg I do and not have a mutiny on my hands. I have taken the time to find out what veg they do like and work that into meals as much as I can. In the end, you can't please all completely, but you can still find ways so that meals are not something to fret.

Tiff said...

I just need to say I love your blog and wished to death we lived in the same city because you can guarantee you would have yourself a new bff. Keep it up girl!

~ Karina B.~ said...

"Don't feel Sorry for Yourself". Guilty! I find myself doing this often. Although not as much as I used to. You're right. Eating healthy is NOT a punishment, but a gift. A gift to my family and my son because I will be here longer to love them and give them kisses. Once again Keelie, you speak the truth. And a few of us need to hear it every now and then. Thanks!

Elizabeth said...

Hello I just wanted to say thank you for all the effort you put into your blog. I really enjoy coming here and staying motivated.

None said...

Hey! My name is Jen and I stumbled onto your blog from some others that I read! Hope you don't mind!! Congrats on your weight loss so far, you look great!! I started a weight lose journey last year doing ww and I successfully lost 48lbs!!

Looking forward to reading more!


None said...

Hey! My name is Jen and I stumbled onto your blog from some others that I read! Hope you don't mind!! Congrats on your weight loss so far, you look great!! I started a weight lose journey last year doing ww and I successfully lost 48lbs!!

Looking forward to reading more!


Heather said...

You are simply amazing! i am sitting here in tears reading your blog, you are an AMAZING person! i am on that "journey" with you.. and am happy my friend sent me the link to YOUR blog! i gain over 100 lbs with each baby, and have had 4 babies.. my youngest is 9 mo. Anyways, i love it, but i just don't want to be negative and focusing ALWAYS on my diet, and what i can't have. I appreciate your words, i appreciate your blog. I am excited to get to read MORE of it! My friend JUST sent it to me tonight... after my zumba class that i teach.. and i was kicking myself at how i cheated this weekend FOR THE FIRST TIME in 5 1/2 weeks and i gained 2 lbs. because, when I CHEAT.. I CHEAT! anyways, i loved reading some of your posts. You look AMAZING! I am SOO SO proud of you! you are AWESOME! thanks for sharing all of this! xoxoxo Love heather