Helping those you love without being a nag
It’s always tempting when we discover something new that works for us, such as reducing sugar intake, to tell anyone and everyone who will listen. This is fine so long as they are interested, however, sometimes we are met with a friend or loved one who is not interested or can even be quite resistant. Obviously we have found enough positive changes from our experience that warrant us telling them in the first place. We care about them and hope they too can feel as good as we suddenly do. This is where it can come unstuck. You see change has to come internally, it has to come from our friend or partner’s own willingness and in their own time.
So here are a few tips and an example of how I have applied them in my own life. I hope they help you navigate a time of transition and stay true to your new ways of being whilst remaining understanding of others’ journeys and choices along the way:
1. Walk your Talk
Rather than trying to “convert” everyone in your life to cut down on sugar, just do it yourself and allow them to witness the changes through your example. They might notice enough of a change to be curious as to how you did it and then once they are open they can decide for themselves if it suits their lifestyle. Remember what we think is “right” for someone isn’t necessarily what they may want.
2. Allow for differences of opinion whilst standing your ground.
Sometimes we encounter a particularly opposing viewpoint to our own and when this happens it can be tempting to become righteous. Rather than going down this path, try understanding the viewpoint of the person and allow it. The more we push against it, the more stubborn they can sometimes become. Stay true to your own discoveries if they work for you and again demonstrate through your actions what works.
A little example from my own life:
I remember going away with a group of friends some years ago. Back then I had made choices in my life around my health and wellbeing that meant I was eating and drinking differently to everyone else there. One such difference was I drank coconuts while they all drank wine! I think they all thought I was a bit coco-nuts at the time. (I know someone out there is saying to themselves “coconuts contain fructose” but hey, a girls gotta party sometimes right!?).
Instead of insisting they “be like me,” I just carried on with what I found worked and let them enjoy their drunkenness and the hangovers! Six years later and a few kids between us all, some of the wives have studied nutrition and others in the group have also made positive changes around their health and now out of these friends I would say 80% are not only drinking coconuts but some are fermenting them as well! The point is, I didn’t force them. They all found this in their own time and in their own way. What I think helped though is that when they did make these changes themselves, I was validation for them or an anchor point that they could relate to whilst making their own transitions.
3.Offer to be the chef.
I find this worked particularly well for me! If you’re the one who does the most of the cooking in the house, just start making low sugar meals that are so delicious everyone enjoys them and doesn’t even notice the changes are being made for them! They might start to feel different and then become curious as to why, at which point you might be able to explain some of the finer details and be received with greater interest.
A final point.
If someone is actively deriding your choice to change your lifestyle or diet, then understand this usually comes from their own insecurity at losing the “you” they are currently familiar with. You can reassure them that you still love them and carry on anyway. Be true to you.
It’s important that in all of this you remember that at some point you made the choice to reduce sugar consumption and make conscious choices about your health from an informed place and possibly from witnessing Damon’s overall journey in the film. Trust that others will do the same in their own time if it is for them. Otherwise, let them be.
Good luck and remember that there are lots of people in the same boat, you aren’t alone.