Who hasn’t bonded with girlfriends over mounds of French fries and pints of ice cream? But it’s time to ask yourself if that “bond” (which inevitably leaves you feeling bloated and guilty later) is truly worth it.
Here are three key tips to dealing with friends and food:
Be OK with being different: Women have the tendency to want to please others — it’s in our DNA. We want to be part on the group, the inner-circle. (This is the only explanation as to why I tried the Atkins diet, Cabbage Soup Diet and existed on primarily pretzels and honey mustard at lunch in high school). Our actions reflect the need to be liked, but sadly, being healthy isn’t always popular.
Can you be OK with that? If you want to be healthy and happy you need to turn the focus back on you — not on what everyone else thinks — or what you assume they might be thinking. It’s just too exhausting. Be selfish and make decisions based on what makes you feel good and what will lead you to your goals.
It’s not you, it’s her: You realize that, right? When your best friend is in the mood to chow down on nachos and you opt for a salad, it inadvertently makes her feel bad about herself. Everyone wants a partner-in-crime when they’re “being bad,” whether it’s sharing a large popcorn and Twizzlers at the movies, or splitting a slice of cheesecake for dessert. I get that. Social eating is fun. It is fun to indulge, especially when you’re out of the habit of treating yourself on a weekly — or daily — basis. Just make sure you’re eating that second slice of pizza because you really want it — not because it might make your friend feel more comfortable.
Respond with confidence: As soon as you start making healthier lifestyle choices, your friends will take notice, and they might not like it. Change is hard. Going from the “yes girl” — Chicken wings? Sure! An extra scoop of ice cream, why not?! — to the “no girl” is quite a shift. Your friends may start making you feel bad about your choices, and as we know, it’s not because they wish you any ill will. It’s just…uncomfortable.
My advice is to say as little as possible. If a pal questions your food choice, just respond with a short, “Yeah, it’s what I was in the mood for.” Or, “You know what, I’m really not that hungry right now.” Do not feel the need to explain yourself because it will only make you look unsure about your decision. And you never know, when your friends see that you’re happier and more confident, they just might follow your lead!
Tell me: Do you struggle with peer pressure when it comes to food? Is it difficult to eat healthy among your group of friends?
Ellen Collis is a blogger at Wannabe Health Nut and Health Coach in NYC, who graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free health consultation to discuss how she can assist you with your nutrition and lifestyle goals. She would love nothing more than to help you have more energy, feel fabulous in your own skin and live a healthy life that doesn’t require giving up your favorite foods.