This is a really common question we get asked, and the answer is ‘maybe’.
Let’s start out by saying that if you’re doing any of our Healthy Inspirations eating plans, they are not designed as a ‘diet’. People often associate the word ‘diet’ as being a ‘short term fix’ and we believe in lasting solutions..
Some people also associate the word ‘diet’ with deprivation and hunger. Again, we believe that if you’re on the right eating plan for your body, you should be able to lose weight without hunger, and then maintain your new weight without hunger.
Back to your friends… and perhaps your family. The question of whether you need to tell them that you’re eating differently comes up if you’re going to be eating with them.
There will be friends who will be supportive, and those who will seek to sabotage your eating plan. “You don’t need to lose weight.” “Just one night or one bit won’t hurt.” “I don’t believe in dieting.” “You’re no fun.” “I made this specially for you”. These are lines from saboteurs.
Then there are those who want to get technical and question everything about your eating plan. The expert!
Here’s some common situations:
- They are coming to your place for a meal. This is easy as you’re in control of what you serve to them and yourself. The trick is to keep it simple: protein foods (meat, fish or veg protein) and loads of greens. There’s absolutely no need to say the words “I’m on a diet.” If they bring alcohol and you’re not drinking, just say “Thanks so much but I’m not drinking at the moment, but help yourself.” You may tell them that in advance “I’m not drinking at the moment but feel free to bring a bottle if you want.”
- You’re meeting them at a restaurant for a meal. Again, this should be pretty easy, as long as it’s not a pasta-only or pizza-only restaurant. If you go to an asian restaurant, you don’t have to have any rice. Just have protein and vegetables, with water or green tea. Again, if you can choose what you want from the menu, there’s no need to say “I’m on a special eating plan.”
- You’re going to their place for a meal. Here is where you have to make a decision in advance. Do you tell them in advance? “Just to let you know, I’m following a special eating plan. I don’t want to go into the details but any meat or fish is OK and any greens or salad is OK. I’ll bring my favourite mineral water.” You get the idea. But, you could take the risk, and hope that they serve food from which you’ll be able to make choices to fit your plan. Otherwise, you suffer a night ‘off-plan’ and get back onto plan the next day. The trick is to eat slowly, small serves and avoid second helpings.
- You’re going to a function and have little choice. This can be a good case for not arriving hungry. Have a mid-afternoon protein shake, then be picky.
Whatever your eating situation, a good rule is to “prioritise protein”. Once you’ve had a decent protein serve your body will feel more comfortable and you’ll be more empowered to resist temptations.
As a basic rule… is if you are eating with supportive like-minded people, then there should be no problem telling them that you are on your own eating plan journey.
But if you suspect that they may give you grief, you might navigate around the food options without even raising it. Some people actually feel threatened if you say you’re losing weight.
It’s really helpful to have support and accountability on your personal change journey, but many of your friends, and even family may not be the best supporters. That’s a good reason to use your checkin sessions with your Healthy Inspirations for support. If you know you have a potentially challenging social situation coming up, discuss it with them so you can develop some strategies in advance.
Should you get into a discussion about your eating plan, then remember this thought. When it comes to what foods are best for YOUR BODY, we (at Healthy Inspirations) are not the experts. Your friends are not the experts. In fact, you’re not the expert, especially if your past eating habits have given you a body shape you’d prefer not to have. We believe that the only true expert is YOUR BODY, and its responses to the food plan, which is not dissimilar to an elimination diet, where we gradually and methodically re-introduce foods, and monitor your body’s response (and weight change).
As you know, your Healthy Inspirations Daily Planner helps you pre-plan your meals and your shopping. Then it helps you self-monitor your body’s responses – how you feel – your energy and even your sleep.
If none of the above is helpful, suggest to your friend that you meet them for a long walk in nature. Just take a water bottle, and perhaps a protein bar.
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