Your family without a doubt have an impact on the way that you eat. Whenever you need to take into account the wants and needs of others, and not just yourself, you will find yourself making compromises.
In a perfect world, you would be able to design your healthy meal plan and stick to it. In the real world, it’s more complicated than this, and we need some strategies to be able to achieve our weight loss goals as well as keep others happy.
When you share a space, a home, or even just time with your significant other your eating patterns are bound to be affected. Not only will they have different preferences to you some of the time, but their attitude can affect your eating behaviours as well.
They may not be concerned with getting healthy, or losing weight. They may not see the need to change their eating behaviours just to support you. You may need to get your head wrapped around the idea that of preparing separate meals in order to stay on track if this is the case.
Sometimes it can be simpler than this… It may be that your partner would be happy with trying healthier meals, if you were to have a conversation with them about your goals, and why you want to make these changes. Offering them input into meal plans can allow you to reach a compromise where you are both enjoying meals you like!
Children can throw a real spanner in the works when it comes to meals. Many small children (or even older ones) can be fussy with vegetables, herbs and spices, or new foods. Teenagers need more food in order to get in all the calories they need to grow.
In these situations, it can work if you choose a “base” to a meal, and then tweak the side dishes a little. Chicken could be the main component of a meal, and you can grill, steam, oven bake, or cook in a non-stick frying pan in a healthy way. Then the only difference will be your portions of additional dishes.
The kids might get more rice, sweet potato, pasta, or grainy bread with their vegetables or salad. Your portion of non-starchy vegetables may be larger and your carbohydrate portion smaller. They may include extras like melted cheese, sauces, butter. You can choose different condiments that are more appropriate for weight loss.
Don’t underestimate the effect that the eating habits of other family members had on you while you were growing up. Family favourites, comfort foods, and even times of day for eating or whether you snack after dinner can all be deeply embedded in your own habits.
Take a moment to evaluate the way that you eat, and whether this was something that you yourself chose, or whether it’s just something that you’ve always done because you grew up with it. Then evaluate whether these behaviours help or hinder your weight loss.
If they are unhelpful, look for a healthier behaviour that can be a substitute rather than just cutting it out completely. Studies have shown that it’s easier to replace a habit than it is to stop something altogether.
It’s not a race
Rather than getting frustrated that working around others in your family is getting in the way of you having a perfect diet, why not just go with it! Your weight loss might be slightly slower if you can’t have an absolutely perfect diet, but does this really matter in the scheme of things?
A more moderate weight loss, with meals that are healthier for the whole family, and that everyone can enjoy is more likely to be something you and the whole family can enjoy long term!