Navigating family dynamics when you’re on a health journey

As I write this, we’re heading into the fall/winter season where many of us are spending lots more time around both immediate and...
By
Allie Potter
January 11, 2023
Navigating family dynamics when you’re on a health journey

As I write this, we’re heading into the fall/winter season where many of us are spending lots more time around both immediate and extended family. (The holidays seem to come one right after the other this time of year, don’t they?!)

And maybe this year, you’ve been working on healthy lifestyle changes - including good nutrition - and you’re worried about what your friends and family will think. And while it’s totally okay if you want to loosen the reigns a bit during some of these celebrations (I will never - and I mean never - miss out on my husband’s grandma’s homemade shortbread), it’s also okay for you to continue to prioritize healthy food choices, if that serves you best - even if no one around you is doing the same.

It’s not easy to get others to go along with - or even support - our new habit changes. But let’s face it: it’s easier to stick to our own healthy lifestyle when those we’re surrounded by are encouraging and understanding. (Or, at the very least, aren’t tearing us down.)

So, what can we do?

First, be honest with yourself (that’s right, time for some inner #reflection). If there’s conflict around food, how much of it are you creating? Sure, you may be right that Aunt Kay would be better off if she ate more vegetables like you do… but our message is lost when we come across as judgmental or self-righteous. Think about how you may present the information you’ve learned and incorporated into your own life in a more helpful, less critical way.

Be persistent - but not pushy. You can’t force someone to change; but you can continue to offer them new opportunities to join you in your healthy habits (try cooking a new dish together, join you on a walk around the neighborhood, have a phone-free game night).

At the end of the day, the best strategy is to focus on what you can control - i.e., your own actions. Yes, it’d be awesome if all your loved ones were on this journey with you. But none of us can make changes in our lives unless we buy in and want it for ourselves. So consider taking the effort you’re using to try and convince others to join you and instead refocus it on YOU and your growth and development. It’ll be awesome. And actions speak louder than words – so seeing you so happy and healthy may eventually convince your friends and family to see what it’s all about! :)

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