This topic is something of an offshoot of my last post about giving up, having a bad attitude and making excuses. It’s a similar idea (making excuses) but this focus is more about supporting yourself, being your own motivation and being more independent.
It would be wonderful if the people in our lives were really supportive and helpful when it came to our losing weight and being more active. This is the kind of thing where they go on a similar diet, or don’t bring the treats into the house and cover for us so you can make it to the gym instead of running the kids to soccer practice. Yeah, it’d be great and while we’re dreaming, how about a new Range Rover?
Most of the people in our lives try to be as supportive as they can, as long as it’s not too much of an inconvenience for them, as in they try not to bring home a lot of junk food and they will run a couple of errands for us if we want to hit the gym, but rules like “Absolutely No Sugar in the House”? That’s not going to happen! It’s not fair to force your lifestyle on everyone else in your home. If they’re all kids, then maybe it’s an option, but it still won’t be popular, and if there are other adults, you don’t have the right to make decisions for them, in my opinion.
Just as it can be a real hassle for them not having pizza as much as they want or not having ice cream in the freezer when they get the urge, it can be a real hassle for you when they bring home the leftover danish or bagels from their meeting or holiday party. It’s also a hassle when the family wants to go out to dinner and everyone votes for the buffet or the pasta place. You’re stuck combing through the menu or the meal choices looking for something on your healthy eating plan and of course, there’s the breadsticks on the table just begging you to have one.
This is where a lot of people just give up and have a breadstick or the pasta or sample some of the potato salad and mac & cheese at the buffet, and of course the frozen yogurt! Then when their weight loss slows, stops or goes backwards, “my family isn’t being supportive!” Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, but it’s not their fault either. Yes, it is much harder when you are constantly faced with temptation, but then we don’t live in a bubble either. There’s temptation every time you stop for coffee at Starbucks, when you stop to get gas in your car, when you go grocery shopping and with the holidays, there’s always temptation in almost every breakroom or receptionist’s counter. It’d be nice to come home and not have to worry about another carbolicious sugar-filled treat staring you in the face, but again, it’s not your reality! You live with a family who likes those things and can eat them; you just have to be an independent adult and make your own decision: I am not going to eat those things right now.
Unless you are strapped to a chair being force-fed donuts and chocolates, you control what you put in your mouth, and if there isn’t a healthy option available where you are at the time, then choose not to eat! I know it sounds weird, but it’s not. You can always get something else later on. In fact, my boss (an attorney) was at a deposition at another office and rather than have everyone leave for lunch, the other office just had lunch brought in. My boss opted not to eat because “they didn’t have anything I wanted,” so he stopped at one of his regular places and brought back a burrito bowl. My boss isn’t on a diet. He is quite active and normally eats pretty healthy. Just because someone puts food in front of you or offers you something doesn’t mean you have to eat it. I know it sounds harsh, but even if you are hungry and there’s nothing healthy or appealing to you readily available, it doesn’t mean you have to ‘eat something!’ One of Dr. Nowzaradan’s patients, James K., was bedridden at about 800 lbs and when Dr. Now scolded him for eating the junk food his girlfriend provided him, James’ answer was “well, I gotta eat something!” Dr. Now’s rather sharp retort was “No! You don’t! You’ve got an extra 600 lbs of food on your body already!”
However supportive or unsupportive your family and friends are, it’s all up to you whether you choose to eat healthy or not, whether you choose to stay motivated or not and whether you take responsibility for your own decisions or not. Blaming your family, friends, coworkers, or whomever for your bad eating choices, your bailing on your workouts and activity or even your poor attitude still doesn’t earn you points. As Dr. Now points out to his patients “when things get hard, you don’t get a pass!”
It’s really hard accepting responsibility for screwing up. It’s much easier being a helpless victim: you don’t have to do anything hard if you don’t want to; it’s always someone else’s fault and someone else’s responsibility. You’re at the mercy of what your family, friends or coworkers choose.
It’s only easier if you don’t want to make progress and you just want an excuse not to be healthier or you want to keep eating junk. Change is hard. Taking responsibility is hard. Being independent is super hard: you have to be ready to work and depend on yourself. That means if your family doesn’t want to eat healthy, you make your own food or go get it yourself. It means rescheduling your workout if something else interferes and then keeping that appointment! It’s not easy telling yourself that you can do hard things. It can really be difficult to know how or even what to do, especially if you’re used to depending on others. The good news is that the more independent you become, the easier it gets. The bad news is there will be screw ups. It’s part of the learning curve but the experience is truly priceless. So is the independence. When you stand on your own feet, you’re the one who gets to decide which way to go.