Answer: Misery loves company. I will bet all my leftover Easter candy that the people mocking your healthy choices are struggling with their weight, rarely exercising and aren't willing to work to be fit. It's easier for them to try to change your habits rather than try to change their own.
And, if they can push junk food, discourage your physical activity and make you feel like a fanatic, they just might add a few pounds to your frame and make them feel better at the same time. Sound contrived and mean-spirited? Well, it's not; it's just the easy way out so they don't feel the guilt associated with poor lifestyle choices.
Let's turn the tables for a moment. Why is it socially acceptable to mock someone for healthy habits while it is completely unacceptable to ridicule someone for the opposite? Can you imagine the reaction if you told a friend to stop eating; that he or she was too fat; or that it wouldn't kill them if they would get off the couch and move a little?
Insensitive, huh? Of course it is, which is how you need to view the comments made to you about your efforts. Handling this peer pressure is not easy, but it becomes more manageable when you consider it an insensitive remark.
When confronted by those who don't value your healthy efforts, avoid a long conversation attempting to justify opting out of another late-night fast-food run or any other invitations that don't support your dedication to health. Instead, decide on a truthful and consistent response such as, "Sorry, but that won't help me reach the goals that are important to me." Soon they will get the message and stop trying to tempt you.
With church meals, be proactive and prepare a nutritious dish to take and share. It may encourage others to do the same at the next function. Many churches are making health part of their ministry and believe in supporting their congregation's physical health as well as their spiritual health.
Sandra, you can still enjoy events and celebrations with your friends and family if you plan ahead and choose wisely. Start by eating something lean and nutritious before attending the predictably unhealthy home-cookin' meal. This will enable you to keep portions small and family satisfied. If you're dining out, learn how to identify healthier choices on the menu.
Finally, don't sacrifice your workouts to please others. Surround yourself with like-minded people, who will push you toward your goals rather than discourage them and who will likely still be around 50 years from now to reap the health rewards of your wise choices.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified coordinator/instructor since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or e-mail cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her Web site www.cindysays.com or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.