This can be a really difficult thing to do, there
is a fine line between educating your nearest and dearest and driving them mad!
They can get sick of you harping on about healthy food and living, especially
if they are not in the same headspace as you.
It is much easier to help facilitate change to people who want to make changes, who are willing to listen and learn, they are the easy ones. These people give fantastic feedback and give everything a go. Its a really lovely feeling when people contact you, telling you they have made a small change, given something up or trying something new, these are the moments that make it all worth while.
I recently just launched my Health and Wellness website and Facebook page, its been amazing and i have had some fantastic support from friends and family. It is a tough one putting yourself out there and on the line, especially in the health and wellness space, as they are people who LOVE to hear what you have to say and there are other's who do not.
I have noticed that those who don't want to understand wellness are friends and family who are the unhealthiest, they smoke, drink too much and are sometimes overweight. They are the ones who are threatened by what you post and blog about because they don't want to hear the truth that some things we eat and drink do damage our health and wellbeing.
Some people love to keep their heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge that they are putting their lives and health at risk by poisoning it with processed foods, fizzy drinks and fried food. I never preach to people about how they should eat, as they can become defensive and intimidated by you judging there life choices. I find some people's attitudes are that it is easier to put down people who are healthy, so they feel better about themselves. They can be hard one's to crack and sadly they will probably only make healthier choices when they are forced to through health issues. Prevention is better than cure and eating healthy and feeding your body goodness is what stops us getting sick in the first place.
My husband was pretty unhealthy when I met him; he ate a lot of processed foods, white bread, red meat and fried food. He would have his dinner with a loaf of cheap white bread on the table every night and a lot of what he cooked had packet sauces and gravy added to it. The positive thing here was that he did cook and enjoyed it, so it was really just a process of teaching him how to make his chilli using fresh and real ingredients rather than powders/sauces, weaning him off white bread to brown and reducing the amount he was eating.
Meat free Monday's are something we have started doing at home, my husband struggled with it massively at first, he is a big meat eater and like many men, finds it hard to not have a meal without meat, Bacon for brekkie, ham/turkey for lunch and of course meat for dinner but he is more than happy to do it now and encourages us all to have a few days off in the a week now, he even recently did meat free week.
My kids are totally cool with meat free Mondays and embrace it full heartedly, they also did the meat free week last month. In fact children can be the easiest to encourage healthy eating habits(as you do not have to change too many years of engrained eating patterns if you start early on), if from a young age they are introduced to vegetables and fruit, told about where food comes from, grow their own veggies and help cook, then they too will be interested in healthy food. My son recently at school started telling his class about the health benefits of Kale and how he likes it cooked, the greatest gift you can give your children is knowledge to empower them, especially around food.
3 years later he is much more health conscious, he still slips back sometimes, but he's only human and men love their chips, he now makes homemade ones cooked in olive oil! The majority of the time he has lots of veg and salad on his plate, we cook healthy meals together, he eats food he never dreamed he would and raves about Kale and Mung Bean Fettucine to all his friends. It has been an education journey for him, just letting him know what’s good for you and getting him to read articles that back up what I am saying.. So he doesn't think I'm completely mad!
The most recent battle we have had is with Pork, Sausages, bacon and ham, such a staple part of his diet and the kids- he really did not believe me when I said sausages could kill him:) but low and behold Body & Soul ran a story about the dangers of processed meat that week in the Sunday papers, so he took note and reduced down the amount he consumes.
As most of my blog's are about Balance this is something we try to do in our own lives, this is what I encourage, do not deprive yourself of things you like and love, if they are bad for you, then just have them less and have more of the good stuff to outweigh the bad. After time, you start loving the good stuff more, especially when you see the health benefits and energy levels you get from making healthier choices.
All I really want is for my friends and family to live a long as possible, stay fit and healthy. LOVE food, EAT well and be HAPPY.
6 TIPS TO HELP FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO EAT HEALTHIER
- Be a subtle educator; do not push too much information on them in the beginning.
- Take it slowly and work together to make small changes, keep it all as simple as possible.
- Get them excited about new foods and flavours, get creative in the kitchen together.
- Try one day a week to try new thing’s, meat free Monday’s are a great idea and can be part of a routine.
- Always remind the person the reasons why they are wanting to eat healthier, how it is helping them and the physical benefits.
- Do a vision board of how they see themselves looking after they make lifestyle changes. Cut out pictures of healthy food and meals they like and would like to make.