Educating friends and family
Friday, November 13, 2015
My journey to a healthier lifestyle began just over 7 years ago. I worked hard to reach my goal and have worked even harder to maintain. Most of my family and friends have been supportive, but many had misconceptions the process or worries about me.
(1) No quick fixes! Early on this journey a friend asked how I was losing weight. I told her that I watch what I eat and exercise regularly. And, I use a program called SparkPeople to help keep me accountable. She immediately lost interest since this was not a quick fix. She was not the only one to express dismay at no quick fix or gimmick.
(2) Portion Control. Once during dinner out with my father, I ordered a slice of cheese pizza and a side salad. “I thought you don’t eat that kind of stuff (referring to the pizza).” I eat what I want, but I am aware of proportions. Also, I am more vigilant around friends and family that might use any lapses as excuses for their own bad eating habits (which he readily understood). My mother and one sister, in particular, complain about gaining weight even though they “do not eat very much”. Mom noted at a buffet restaurant that we made the same number of trips. However, she did not take into account that I had a green salad with dressing on the side for one trip while the second trip filled the plate with veggies and grilled meat. Their choices were vastly different – taco meat with cheese, mac and cheese, fried chicken, buttered biscuits. I pointed out that their choices had more total calories in one meal than I had in a full day.
(3) Lifestyle changes. After I reached my weight loss goal, I continued on Spark to help maintain my weight. This included exercising when visiting my parents. And, since my mother’s idea of two vegetables at a meal is fried okra and mac and cheese, I would bring healthy foods for me to eat. I learned from a relative that Mom was worried that I had developed an eating disorder.
Then a few days ago my mother-in-law dropped by while I was exercising. She asked why was I exercising – I did not need to lose any more weight. I explained the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the benefits of exercise, including prevention of a number of diseases.
So dear friends and family – I am do not have an eating disorder, I am not trying to lose any more weight, and I eat pretty much what I want, just smaller proportions (ask the cupcake vendor who comes to the office on Fridays). I want to remain healthy as I age, prevent the diabetes and high blood pressure common in my family, and enjoy my grandchildren. Please stop worrying.