Unfortunately, parents, in-laws, overbearing relatives and even neighbors and friends can present an obstacle for those who are aiming to eat healthfully during the holidays or at social gatherings any time of year. Often people can put pressure on you to eat the dangerous foods they are eating. Be prepared to be firm and say politely, “Thanks anyway, but I am fully committed to remaining on my healthful Nutritarian diet throughout this holiday season.” Food bullies generally have a strong need to control and dominate. If a food bully’s intended target exhibits a “defeated attitude” in response to their pushiness, then the bullying is likely to continue. If you are a people-pleaser, you may be tempted to give-in to food bullies and compromise your own health goals by eating disease-promoting foods. Recognize where you are vulnerable and be prepared with strategies to stand your ground.
- Are you currently engulfed in a sea of pleasing everyone but yourself?
- Are you afraid to “rock the boat” this holiday season and say, “No” to others — to the extent that you don’t take care of yourself?
- Would you like to eat healthier, but are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings by rejecting their food; especially Grandma’s favorite cookies that she made just for you?
- Are you going along with the crowd to blend in at the expense of hurting yourself?
- Are you straddling the fence? Do you want to eat for health, but are afraid of what others might think, so you make compromises?
A people-pleaser is concerned with the expectations of others and trying to fit in, even if it means giving up personal goals to do so. Pleasing everyone is emotional dysfunction, and is usually on the side of looking good, not being good and doing what is right. Trying to please others, especially if what they are promoting is hurtful, is a deadly snare. Gang members can torture and kill people trying to please their peer group.
Don’t meet the expectations and demands of others if they are unrealistic and disease-promoting. Love means having the best effect on others, not acting in a way to be viewed more favorably. The latter is cowardice and not good will for others.
If you are a habitual people-pleaser it will take courage to change the dysfunction. Saying no without feeling guilty can be difficult, but for optimal health, you must change your damaging behaviors. And, it’s not just damaging yourself; you short-changed the influencer. Instead of them influencing you in a bad way, you could influence them in a good way. In the long run, being firm about your conviction and setting an example of the importance of healthful living, is the only way you can eventually have a positive effect on those you care about. Look at the experience as an opportunity to help them. The best part is that you will feel proud of yourself afterwards, no matter how the person responded. You will know you did the right thing.
Standing up for yourself and doing what is right, not necessarily what is popular or what is promoted by your family and friends, will eventually have growing benefits like a tree reaching out its roots further and further each year. Who knows, with a positive attitude and growing good health, you may give the gift of good health to those you care about. And, isn’t that the most important thing?