How To Stick To A Diet (When Your Family & Friends Aren’t Dieting)
Written by: Lauren Villa - Aug. 19, 2019
You’ve made the decision that you are going to start eating healthy. You’re going to turn over a new leaf… and hopefully, start eating more leaves!
If you’ve decided to break the cycle of unhealthy eating, congratulations! Making a change to your eating habits is a HUGE accomplishment. Commitment and mindset are the first, but absolutely the most necessary aspects of sticking to a new diet. And if you’re intimidated about how to feed your family or maintain the same type of social life you did when you weren’t on a diet, this blog is for you.
We’re sharing some approachable and realistic tips and tricks on how to stick to a diet to make it easier to reach your goals.
How To Cook For Your Family Members & Still Stick To Your Diet
How to diet when your family isn’t is never easy. How do you encourage your family to actually eat healthily and enjoy it? Here are a few strategies you can use to simplify the process of making nutrient-dense meals and eliminate unhealthy temptations that could prevent your progress!
Designate one day a week as your shopping day. Plan ahead and carve out time to do the bulk of your shopping that day. Making a plan before you go to the grocery store will save you time and money. Plus, you can plan around upcoming sales and what foods are in season.
Shopping one day of the week will make your life easier. Here are some tips to help streamline your meal prep process:
- Write down recipes you know how to make or find new, simple recipes: If you are new to meal prepping, keep it healthy and simple. Don’t take on too much from the get-go.
- Add your planned meals to a calendar: Make or print a free calendar from the internet. Having a visual of what you plan to eat each day can make a huge difference when you start meal prepping. Write down what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day.
- Create a shopping list: Make a list of the ingredients you need for each meal and healthy items to keep in the house. Bonus points if you can use an ingredient in multiple recipes (i.e. roasted carrots on top of a salad and in a soup)! You can even bring a clean eating grocery list with you to familiarize yourself with healthier foods.
As you know, Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1 in 10 Americans actually eat enough of the good stuff. So, be sure to buy enough healthy vegetables and fruits! You should also include healthy proteins, carbohydrates, nuts, beans, and lentils to keep you stocked up for the week so that when you need a meal or snack, you’ll have something healthy within reach. For more tips and tricks on meal prepping, check out these 12 simple and effective meal prep tips straight from top Nutritionists, Dieticians, and Athletes!
Make meal prep a family event
Pick a different day of the week when you and your family will get together to cook the bulk of the food for the week. You can make the event something that you and your family look forward to by making it totally fun! Put together a fun playlist, and get to mixing and chopping! It might even become a new family tradition, one that supports a healthy relationship with food and social relationships.
If you’re meal prepping solo, make it a self-care event. Put on a podcast so you can feel inspired AND learn new things while you’re making your meals.
Experiment with new recipes
Take a moment to think about how you view healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. If labels like boring, bland, or uninspiring come to mind… then it’s time to get to know these foods. You can make anything taste delicious. Seriously, just look at the ways you can use cauliflower! Cauliflower pizza crust is a real thing and it tastes so good! In today’s world, there are so many blogs and YouTube videos full of inspiring information about healthy cooking.
The other day, I picked up 2 bags of fresh oranges at the farmer’s market because they were in season and super cheap. I got home and realized I had no idea what to do with 50 oranges. So, I searched on YouTube for orange recipes and found one for salad dressing and even a natural cleaner! In short, when a certain vegetable or fruit is in season, it can be fun to use the abundance to find a new dressing, sauce, or main dish that incorporates it.
How To Handle Peer Pressure From Family & Friends At Gatherings
Dieting with family or friends who aren’t dieting can be difficult—especially if your loved ones are not committed to making healthy changes.
Being out can be a huge trigger for anyone who is starting to eat differently. If you’re worried about how you are going to handle your next get together with your girlfriends, here are some strategies to eat healthy when you’re out with family and friends.
Pick the place
How to stick to a diet? Plan ahead and suggest a restaurant to try. Make sure that the menu offers a variety of options that appeal to you and your friends. You can browse through the menu online beforehand so you feel prepared. Or, you can choose to go to a place where eating and drinking aren’t the main attraction. Outings like movies, museums, concerts, beaches, hikes, and parks can all be great places to spend time with friends that are free from the pressure of what you are ordering.
When the waiter comes to your table, step in and order first. Not only will you be more likely to choose something that fits your diet, but psychologically, you may create a positive waterfall effect. That is to say, your friends will be more likely to order something healthy if they hear you ordered a delicious buddha bowl overflowing with greens instead of fries and wings.
You don’t need to qualify your choices
You might feel self-conscious when you start dieting, but why? It seems like if you want to be healthy it’s something to be celebrated, not questioned. If you find your friends aren’t being supportive, then… sorry to say, but that’s their problem. You do not have time to worry about what your friends or family think about your diet plan. And just think, you might inspire them to make a healthier change to their diet down the line.
Break (healthy) bread together
When you enjoy making food and sharing it with others, it can change your life. Not only is it infectious to watch someone move around in a kitchen where they feel a genuine sense of love and fun preparing healthy food, but also, people will want to be around you and partake in the fun!
If you have plans with friends, ditch the restaurant and opt for the comfort of your home. It’s normal to feel self-conscious about inviting people over for dinner. You might not think your cooking is up to par, or you may feel that your home doesn’t have that restaurant-style ambiance. But, take a moment and think about when you last went to a dinner party at a friend’s house. What memories do you carry from the event? Probably the social interactions you had with your friends, not whether the food was “perfect” or if the house looked like it was out of a magazine. You remembered the warm and fuzzy feelings of being surrounded by love, good vibes, and a home-cooked meal.
As humans, we connect over breaking bread. So, try to connect with that on a more regular basis. You can help facilitate a positive experience with food by inviting people over to experience your new-found love for delicious, healthy meals.
Ditch the pressure
Because everyone, and I mean everyone, struggles with eating healthy, you have to remember, you’re human. Therefore, some days you’re going to feel like a superstar on your new diet, and other days you are going to go off track for a friend’s birthday or a holiday get together. Be realistic and above all else, compassionate with yourself.
There are going to be moments when you want to eat one of your favorite comfort foods every now and then. Even people who are the picture-perfect definition of health—like personal trainers, models, and athletes, sometimes fall off the wagon and wonder how to stick to a diet. The measure of success is not about how many times you fall off, but how many times you get back on. As a result, your work is all about changing your relationship with food to make sure that you eat in a way that keeps you feeling healthy and balanced.
Fight off cravings
One thing is for certain, sharing a meal with friends or family on an empty stomach is never, I repeat, never a good idea. We all know that when it comes to food, peer pressure makes everything worse. And it’s a lot harder to say no when your stomach is growling louder than a cornered cat in an ally. So, word to the wise, 30-minutes before you eat, take a fat-burning appetite suppressant, like SkinnyFit Snack Attack. It curbs cravings and revs up your metabolism—so when you do eat something that doesn’t align with your goals, your body will process it quicker.
The Bottom Line
Let’s face it… dieting with a family is one of the most challenging things when it comes to staying on track with a new diet. Getting your friends and family to get on board with your change in lifestyle can be, well, an uphill battle. So much of your life revolves around when, where, and what you eat, that people may push back when you order a salad instead of fries. Why? Who knows—maybe they want you to stay the way you are, or maybe it makes them feel better about eating a burger if you’re eating a burger too.
The point is, you’re turning over a new leaf and saying hello to a healthier, happier you. Yes, there are going to be family dinners, happy hours, family gatherings, holidays, and birthdays overflowing with sugar, fried foods, and tons of eating and drinking. But guess what? Now that you’ve read this article, you have some tools in your back pocket that you can use to navigate temptation and stay on track.