It's weird that you eat six meals a day, right? What???? NO SUGAR!! Huh? One can exist like that? How do you do it? Can you help me even though I will never really take your advice? You don't really want to look like that do you?
If you have started your journey to a Clean Eating lifestyle, I'm sure you have heard these questions and comments, among others. It's not easy, but you are not alone!
"Toxic" friends and family are a large problem when switching over to eating clean. A problem that you are going to have to overcome if you want to be successful. I have put together a quick list of things that are helpful to remember as you become healthy and look forward to the future.
Toxic Eat Clean Skeptics - Handling Friends and Family
1. This is your decision - NOT theirs. You are choosing right now to eat this way. Try not to complain about how long you are spending in the kitchen cooking or chopping veggies - it will only make your situation worse by giving them something negative to "battle" with you about and turn them off of eating clean if they were ever to consider it. Eliminate excuses!
2. Let them know how much this means to you. Ask for their support, but assure them you are not trying to convert them or in no way, shape or form are you going to judge them for what they are eating. In fact, shortly after Jim and I started blogging, we had a birthday celebration for him. I went out of my way to make clean treats (you can find many of the recipes on the blog!) and treats that were not-so-clean for other members of our family. I didn't want them to feel ostracized because they had come to our house. It's their decision what they eat - I made sure that Jim and I were taken care of with our healthy treats and that's all that matters! At the end of the night, I packed up what they wanted to take home and trashed the rest (I know, shame on me for wasting food, but sugary food isn't good for anybody anyway!)
3. Give them a little insight into how to eat clean so they know what to expect. Both mine and Jim's families are great when it comes to our lifestyle (although don't let me fool you - we took a LOT of flack in the beginning). They know we eat six meals a day and now think nothing of me bringing my own food to a family meal (now they even try to cook something we can eat!) or popping a pack of grapes and almonds out of my purse for a midday snack. The more they understand that food doesn't consume your life and that you are just as normal as them, the more they will become comfortable with it.
4. Give it time. You are a pioneer of sorts to them if they are not knowledgeable about eating clean. Let them observe you and how your lifestyle fits with theirs. Two things could happen - they could get it and realize you aren't much different OR they could flip out and never want to talk to you again (this sounds nuts, right? Let's hope that doesn't happen).
4. People are by nature, insecure about their appearance/weight. In my experience, this is the answer to why people will snub you or mock you for eating clean - RIGHT HERE! I wish we could change this, but when most people see someone succeeding, they begin to question their own success. If you are mocked, or snubbed by a friend or relative, it's 99% of their own insecurity. Why wouldn't someone want to feel better, look better and enhance their health?
I really hope this helps. Please know you are not alone, Jim, myself, Whitney and Scott have all experienced this. We would love to hear your stories about "toxic" friends and family - it would be great to prove we are not alone!