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Overcoming negative influences

Written by Sarah on

Negative influences can have a powerful impact on our lives, shaping our thoughts, behaviours, and ultimately our future. This negativity can be in the form of toxic relationships, societal pressures, or self-destructive habits. Sometimes though it’s from the people who love us the most and who absolutely don’t intend to derail us with their behaviour. These type of influences can be the most tricky to navigate.

We all have our own love languages and for many people buying treats or baking delicious cakes is the way they show their love. This can cause conflicting emotions when you are trying to limit the amount of calories you are consuming or to move away from comfort eating certain foods. How can you dare to refuse a delicious slice of birthday cake which someone has taken the time and energy to bake for your colleague? It’s hard not to feel like you’re being difficult by declining a slice, that you’re somehow not joining in the fun and running the birthday vibes.

Sometimes friends and family might feel threatened that you are trying to move away from behaviours which they see as central to their life and that by declining their offerings you are rejecting them as a person. This is a common occurrence when someone decides to stop drinking alcohol. If you have a regular routine of going to the pub with workmates and sharing a bottle of wine to end the working week and suddenly you are ordering a lime and soda or finding an alternative way to wind down on a Friday people can get quite offended. They might not understand why you’ve chosen to change the routine and feel sad that you aren’t bonding with the group in the same way or they might feel that you are making a judgement on their behaviour. A colleague of mine used to lament ‘But you’re so much fun when you drink!’ (subtext - and boring now you don’t!)

It takes a lot of personal empowerment to make these changes and one of the biggest challenges is our very human need to fit in and to not upset people. That means it’s really important when trying to make lifestyle changes that you have strategies in place to overcome these situations.

Here are 5 things which have helped me over the years:

  • Plan ahead – if you know it’s likely that someone is going to buy/make you something for your birthday that is going to send you off track politely ask them in advance if you could do something different this year which is more in line with your goals. Explain to them why you are making the changes and the positive impact it is having on your life so they understand why you are doing this.

  • Explain that just because you are making different choices it doesn’t mean that you are judging everyone else for their choices. If someone chooses to paint their house a different colour to ours, we don’t take offence, we just respect their right as an individual to make different decisions to us! Why should the choices we make around our diet and fitness be any different?

  • Find a happy medium – if your partner is desperate to get a takeaway whilst you are trying to stick to a healthy eating plan try and both meet in the middle. Is there a healthier takeaway option to choose or can you create a more nutritious version of the meal at home?

  • Sometimes you might not have the energy/will to explain why you aren’t drinking/joining in with the cake/delete as appropriate. On those day it’s easier just to remove yourself from the situation by ‘remembering’ an appointment you’ve got to get to or a reason you have to rush off home (kids and pets provide a great decoy for this!)

  • Making healthier choices can include choosing who we spend our time with as well as what we do with our bodies. If people in your life are giving you a hard time about trying to be healthier and happier sometimes you need to question whether they are the right people to be hanging around with. I realise that some relationships are easier to say goodbye to (toxic acquaintances) than others (family members) but you can choose how much of your time you give to these relationships. Having positive cheerleaders by your side can also help.Seek out like-minded people who can help to support you on your journey to a healthy lifestyle whether that be other members of your gym, online groups or a personal trainer or nutritionist.

If overcoming negative influences in something I can support you with get in touch for a free consultation.

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