As soon as people find you’re on a low carb diet, they try to get you off the diet. Here’s how to deal with them.
I’m not sure why people do this, but whenever we sense that someone does something different, we do our best to make him toe the line and conform. This is true in all areas of life, I think, and it’s also true when it comes to people’s choice of diet.
Ever since I started eating a low carb diet, whenever someone learns about my choice, they become alarmed and do whatever they can to convince me that my ways are wrong.
The holiday season is especially challenging, because we are surrounded by high carb food and by people who are bent on making us eat it.
How people put pressure on us
There are many ways to pressure you to stop eating low carb. People might voice concern (feigned or real) for your arteries, for example. How is your cholesterol? They might ask. Isn’t all this fat dangerous?
We know the answer to that – fats are harmless and even beneficial (except for trans fatty acids and industrial seed oils), but do they really want to listen to our answer? In most cases, they don’t.
Sometimes people will say “well, fine, but just once won’t hurt, right?”, in an attempt to convince you to try whatever it is that they want you to eat – a birthday cake, a quiche that Mom made especially for this meal, or even a fast food meal that everyone else is partaking in.
Of course, this is a lie. “Just this once” can spiral for many of us into days, weeks, even months of out of control eating. For most low carbers, “just this once” is not an option.
Why do people put this pressure of us to eat a high carb diet?
I think it’s evolution. We are social creatures, and as such, we are threatened by people acting outside the norm.
Things will get easier as low carb dieting becomes more mainstream, but in the meantime, well meaning friends and family will continue to try to make us conform to their ideas of a healthy diet.
How to deal with this pressure to deviate from your low carb diet?
It helps if you actually enjoy being an outlier and doing things your way. In most social situations, more than anything, I’m amused at people’s attempts to make me behave as they do. I find it endearing, really, and feel no obligation whatsoever to actually do what they want me to do.
After all, I’m sure your mom has told you this many times: “what if everyone jumped off a bridge?” As annoying as that was when you were a kid, you must now admit she had a point. If everyone insists on eating 300 grams of carbs per day, slowly killing themselves and developing diabetes, alzheimer’s and even some types of cancer, does that mean you have to do as they do?
Even if you don’t enjoy being different, you need to remind yourself that when following a low carb diet, you are doing the best thing you can do for your health. You are saving yourself from terrible diseases, and you are saving your loved ones from watching you deal with these terrible diseases.
No amount of social pressure should make you eat poison, and rest assured, high carb foods are a slow-acting poison.
Practical tips for saying no to high carb food
Here are a few things you can do or say when offered a high carb food:
1. “No thanks, I’m full.”
2. “Wow, this looks amazing. Thanks.” Take some, put on you plate, then eat what you want to eat and leave the high carb item behind.
3. “I wish I could, but my doctor said I can’t eat high carb food anymore or I’ll develop diabetes.” Even if this is a white lie, it’s not far from the truth (all doctors SHOULD say this to all their patients!), and people tend to respect “my doctor said” more than they respect “I choose to.”
4. “This looks so good. I’ll have some later, when I have more space on my plate.” (Be sure to fill your plate with low carb goodies).
I’m sure there are more ways to deal with people’s wish to make you go off your low carb diet. These are the tactics I use most often.
Stay strong this holiday season! There’s no reason to succumb to pressure. Remember that you’re doing something wonderful for yourself AND for your loved ones by keeping yourself healthy; Bring low carb goodies with you to events and parties, to make sure you have something to eat; and don’t be afarid to say “No, thank you.”