Peer Pressure – A Challenge to Your Healthy Lifestyle

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A surprising challenge for people who are moving toward a healthier lifestyle and changing their eating habits is peer pressure… or the perception of it. We fear drawing attention to our healthy eating habits, especially as many of those around us are still overweight, pigging out, or making choices for themselves that are not good choices.

We don’t want to have to explain ourselves or make anyone feel “bad”, so often we will make choices that we know are inconsistent with our goals. Sometimes it seems like we feel that we have to justify, explain or even apologize for some of these choices we make in the presence of others.

1. “I ate a big breakfast, so I am not really that hungry.”

2. “My stomach is a little upset, so I don’t want to eat anything too rich.”

3. “I am going out for a big dinner, so I want a light lunch.”

4. “I just ate a big helping, and I am stuffed.”

If you find yourself doing this, you may be undermining your confidence in your own decisions without even realizing it. Our health and fitness goals must take priority over the reactions and feelings of others, and this takes practice and perseverance. I deal with this perception of peer pressure every time I am at an event or a get together that involves food, which is usually every time. Sometimes I plan my “cheat day” for these events, so I won’t have to deal with people commenting on how little or how healthy I am eating while everyone else pigs out.

These are the most common comments I get, and it drives me CRAZY.

1. “You won’t even have one little cookie?”

2. “I can’t believe you only ate ½ of your entrée.”

3. ” I knew you were going to order the fruit plate.”

4. “You can’t even have a bite?”

This is much easier said than done, but a friend of mine told me to remember this saying: “What You Think of Me Is None of My Business.” Other people’s hang-ups and judgments about you really have very little to do with you. It’s ALWAYS way more about them than it is about you, especially when it comes to health and fitness, because most people have their own hang ups about their bodies.

Don’t let the fear of peer pressure or hurt feelings drive your decisions. The decision to give in to or resist and impulse usually comes down to a split second. Taking charge in that moment requires perseverance and practice. Make your health and fitness goals a priority by making the right decision in the moment. Remember: what others think about you is none of your business, so stop holding yourself back or editing what you want, for fear of how others will perceive you. Be okay with it. Claim it. Own it.

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