But not to worry! With these empowering strategies, you'll be able to face any tricky situation and overcome negative peer pressure in style.
1. Navigating Social Scenes
Whether at office parties, happy hours or backyard barbecues, we all face social situations where the menu is anyone's guess. Add to this well-meaning meddlers who would have you throw all restraint to the wind, and it can be near impossible to stick to your healthy eating plan!
Overcoming unwanted peer pressure begins with you. Though you may be tempted to feel awkward or even embarrassed, make a conscious choice to care less about what other people think. Practice a friendly but firm "no, thank you" and don't hesitate to rehearse other responses ahead of time, such as:
- Looks great, but no thank you!"
- >"I'm going to pass, but thank you for offering!"
- "Thanks, but I'm going to try something different tonight."
- "You go ahead and enjoy; I've got my eye on something else."
Remember—it isn't rude to say no and you're not obligated to offer explanations or say you're cutting back. If someone presses you, just cheerfully repeat yourself and they'll get the hint! The truth is, most people won't even notice or care if you decline a piece of cake at the office party or grab the healthier options at the church potluck. Just dish up and enjoy yourself!
2. The Snarky Saboteur
So what's the best way to deal with these undermining troublemakers? To begin with, don't discuss your goals with people who aren't likely to be helpful. Doing so may only serve to bring unwanted attention and harassment. If the cat's already out of the bag, though, here are a few tips for dealing with saboteurs:
- Ignore away. Stinkers love to get a rise out of someone—so don't play along! Soon enough they'll realize you're a boring target and move along to greener pastures.
- Be direct. If a friend or co-worker simply won't let up, let them know you're not amused. Often, people think they're being cute or charming and don't realize their jokes aren't appreciated. Give them the chance to shape up.
- Have a laugh. If humor's your thing, have at it. Whether you're quick with a comeback or return the favor of that unwanted donut with a bag of carrots, humor is a great way to deflect and disarm a would-be saboteur.
3. The Doting Dear
If you're lucky, you have at least one or two dears in your life who love nothing more than to spoil you. From Nana's gooey mac and cheese to your dad's world-famous chocolate cream pie, the only thing harder than staying on track is saying no thanks!
When faced with lovingly made treats, refusing may very well result in hurt feelings, and yet you really don't want to offset all your hard work every time you visit. This situation is all about finding a strategy that works for you. First of all, how often do you get the chance to see your loved ones? If reunions are rare, you might consider enjoying those special foods and the effort that went into making them. On the other hand, if family get-togethers are a weekly affair, there's no need to over-indulge when you'd rather not. It really is okay to simply say, "No thanks—maybe next time!"
Second, don't hesitate to take the reins and offer to bring a new favorite (healthy) dish to share. To sweeten the deal, offer to come early so you and your auntie can fix it together—a wonderful opportunity to bond and make some new memories.
Finally, if this is someone in your life who loves you and genuinely wants the best for you, consider opening up about your motivations and goals. Explain why these changes are important to you, even if it means cutting back for awhile. If you suspect they may bristle at the notion of you needing to lose any weight ("You're perfect just the way you are!"), keep it focused on concerns your loved one would share, such as improving your health, regaining your fitness or sleeping better at night. Your doting dear might just become your number one cheerleader!
On a Positive Note
Remember that peer pressure cuts both ways. Though we can't control other people's behavior, we can choose to be a positive role model to those around us. As you chase down your goals and improve your life, your success might just be the inspiration someone else needs to get started on their own wellness journey!