Have you had this happen to you?
You make a plan to be healthier. You know exactly what you need to do.
Eat more veg, get more active, smaller portions of pasta. Done.
Then it comes time for a night out. No problems, you know how to make healthy choices when you're out and about, and you allow some flexibility for some of the fun stuff too.
But then, someone asks you if you want to have cake, or an extra glass of wine, or to share another dish with them.
You know this will derail your plan, and its more than you really need to eat. To be honest, you just plain don't feel like it.
But when you voice that you don't want it...you become the bad guy.
"I can't have it if you don't"
And you sit there thinking, "am I the killjoy?"
Eventually, you feel pressured into eating or drinking this thing that you didn't really want.
Now, this isn't the end of the world, but it can feel really frustrating when we set out a plan for ourselves, set our boundaries, and then step over them. Particularly if we are doing this regularly - how can we make progress?.
At the same time, we feel responsible for other people's enjoyment of the time we spend together, so how do we win?
Here are my top three tips for setting new boundaries around food and sticking to them:
1) Make a clear plan. If this is new to you, make a plan for what you want to eat and what you don't want to eat. Maybe you don't really care about dessert but definitely want that glass (or two!) of wine. Be clear on what you do and don't want, so you aren't humming and haring at the dinner table.
2) Let people know! If you go out for dinner regularly with a girlfriend, and you always end up getting cake (even though you don't want to) let them know you won't be doing that from now on, and perhaps you can even replace it with something else instead, like an after dinner tea. Let them know why you're not going to have the cake, so they understand where this is coming from. Now that you've told other people, you'll be more inclined to stick to your plan because humans like to be consistent, it's in our nature to want to follow through on our word.
3) Don't take on their emotions. I know, I know, this one is really hard! Someone is sitting across the table from you wearing their puppy dog eyes, asking you to have some dessert so they can have some too, and you feel so guilty that you're the one denying them their tasty treat.
But wait, are you?
They could still eat it even if you didn't, right?
It's only that we humans don't like to do things alone, so we like to rope other people in along side us. But that doesn't mean they CAN'T eat it. You're not actually stopping them, you're respecting the boundaries you set for yourself (and maybe having a positive influence on them too! So get rid of that guilt!).
Don't be afraid to stick to your boundaries, whether that's food related or otherwise! If you need help and support as you make healthier changes, we're here for you. Get in contact today!