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4 Proven Strategies for When Your Family Sabotages Your Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging, especially when your loved ones seem to be working against you. In addition, it can be frustrating when your family sabotages your diet, intentionally or unintentionally. However, with the right mindset and strategies, you can overcome these obstacles and stay on track with your health goals. This post will explore some practical tips and tricks to help you deal with situations when your family sabotages your diet.

You might meet resistance to making diet and lifestyle changes from other people living at home. It goes without saying that it’s easier for everyone living under the same roof to change to a healthier lifestyle as that means you don’t need to prepare separate meals for different people… until the other people at home object to having to eat those meals or aren’t happy with getting dragged along with your new lifestyle.

Naturally, your new diet and lifestyle choices would benefit others at home. And time and again, I hear from clients whose spouses and children’s niggling problems like reflux, headaches, and low energy disappear when they improve their diets as part of a family drive towards better health.

But equally, many relatives are going through their own grieving process triggered by the stress of watching their loved one suffer. Stress affects your ability to think and reason and makes you irritable. In this article, I’ve described many emotions you can experience when grieving. And it can take a long time to get past the denial stage, where people reject that there might be a problem or what the solutions are. As a result, your nearest and dearest may be surprisingly resistant to changing themselves and may even attempt to sabotage your attempts to change.

So changing your diet and lifestyle can be another source of grief and conflict. And it’s a surprisingly pivotal source. In fact, the stages of grief, like denial, anger, depression and bargaining, can be major stumbling blocks to even starting to change. In this context, saying that change is hard doesn’t do justice to all the challenges and mental hurdles you may need to overcome to get onto the right dietary path.

1. Why do families sabotage diets?

When it comes to dieting, it’s not uncommon for family members to feel threatened or uncomfortable with the changes that you are making. They may worry that you won’t be able to enjoy food together or feel excluded from your new lifestyle. Additionally, some family members may have insecurities about their weight or eating habits, and your success may make them feel guilty or ashamed. Try to reassure your family that you’re taking important steps to improve your health. It may also help them to know that when you’re feeling healthier and stronger you may have more energy and feel happier and more positive when it comes to your interactions with them as well.

2. How to communicate with your family about your diet

Communication is vital when dealing with family members who may be sabotaging your diet. Try to explain to them why you are making these changes and how important it is for your health and well-being. Make it clear that you still value spending time with them and participating in family activities, but you may need to modify some things to fit your new lifestyle. Please encourage them to be supportive and enlist their help in finding healthy options that everyone can enjoy.

3. Strategies to use when your family sabotages your diet

One of the most effective ways to deal with a family member who is sabotaging your diet is to set clear boundaries. Let them know that you appreciate their concern but are committed to your goals and need their support. You can also try to involve them in your journey, such as inviting them to join you for a workout or cooking a healthy meal together. Additionally, try to have a plan in place for social events or family gatherings, such as bringing your own healthy snacks or offering to bring a dish that fits your dietary needs.

4. How to stay motivated and focused on your goals

Dealing with family members who sabotage your diet can be discouraging, but staying motivated and focused on your goals is essential. Surround yourself with positive influences, such as supportive friends or online communities. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and don’t beat yourself up over slip-ups or setbacks. Remember that your health and well-being are worth the effort and that you can achieve your goals.

Plus, how do you know the right dietary choices to make? With so much conflicting advice, where’s the best place to start? You’ve probably tried quite a few different diets over the years. I certainly have. Which seemed to work best for you? And if some dietary changes seemed to give you better energy and focus and helped you feel better, but you still gave up on them, why did you abandon the things that seemed to have been working better?

Recognising these potential roadblocks and approaching any dietary changes with empathy and understanding towards those still processing their emotions is integral. However, it’s also crucial to prioritise your own health and well-being.

Dealing with family members who sabotage your diet can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By communicating effectively, setting boundaries, and staying motivated, you can overcome these obstacles and stay on track with your health goals. Remember that your loved ones may need some time to adjust to your new lifestyle, and their support can be a valuable asset in your journey towards better health.

Personalising your diet for your circumstances and seeking professional support can help you navigate these challenges and move towards a healthier lifestyle despite any resistance from loved ones. Even though everyone does better by removing the CRAP foods from their diet (Carbonated beverages, Refined carbohydrates, food Additives, and Processed foods), there may be some real foods or food preparation and storage methods that you should stay clear of. 

Should you be wary of salicylates? What about high-histamine foods? What’s the deal with oxalates? How about eggs and dairy? Will nuts, seeds, grains and legumes be ok for you? Could high-nickel foods be making you sick?

It’s theoretically possible, but not easy, to find the answers to those questions yourself. But booking a free clarity call with me is much simpler to discuss which dietary approaches might suit you best. You can do that here.

You can also message me if you’d like to chat about any of this.

Catriona Walsh

Dr Catriona Walsh is a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach, working in Belfast and Mid Ulster. She is a therapist near Antrim who can support your health goals. She provides advice on diet, supplements and lifestyle. She has improved her own health having experienced a decline following a gadolinium based contrast MRI.

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