It is a wonderful beginning. You decide it is time to lose weight and start your body on a healthier track and you announce your intentions to your family. They think it is great that you want to feel better, emotionally and physically, and are happy in your desire. You find the best diet change for you, an exercise routine you are willing to follow, snacks that will stave off starvation without hindering, set stepping goals and an ultimate finishing goal, and you have started eyeing- if not buying!- those clothes you are determined to fit into once each goal is reached. You are good to go!
First day in, you are stoked and happy to have begun. Second day there may be some doubts, but you are determined and you will succeed. By the fourth day, your family is wondering if you really will see this new change through to the finish. By day seven you are seeing bags of goodies being happily consumed or left where you will no doubt find them and your will power is taking it’s first real hit. By the 14th day (if you haven’t given in by now) you really want to take just a little bite of that cookie your youngest is munching so loudly. Then, after you decide you really can do this, you begin to wonder why you are in this alone. Think your family was supportive enough to join you? In many cases the response is a resounding negative. Of course they were supportive when they thought it was just you.
Changing your life when you are alone is easy. Changing in the midst of a one track, stubbornly unhealthy family is slow going and an almost endless uphill battle. We are not going to even touch the possibility of getting the entire family to join in your escapade, we are only touching on teaching them to be more sensitive to your weaknesses while you seek to improve and conquer. Lets just go for a few tips that might make changing a little easier.
Separate the kitchen. If your willpower can only take so many hits before you cave try giving some cupboards over to the family for familiar foods and you take the others announcing, under no circumstances, are they to add to your cupboards. Don’t tell them not to touch, you may be creating an opportunity for them to see that you really are enjoying the new foods you are now eating. Create a hiding policy. Instead of fighting your spouse to stop eating whatever is causing you to waver, ask that he/she hides it from you. Spouses are not attached at the hip, there will be plenty of times you are not together; the same goes for your children unless they are very young. Split the shopping responsibility. If your spouse or older children want to continue eating as they always have then announce they are now responsible for purchasing their own contraband. If your children are still young, try substituting their favorite goodies for healthier ones that won’t ruin your willpower. With such small children, it is very easy to trick them into thinking they are eating the same foods to which they have become accustomed. Recently I made brownies with quinoa flour and offered them to teenagers that normally would have turned their nose up at the funny grain. Once they enjoyed a few servings, they were quietly told what they were eating. It may not always work with older children, but it will for the younger ones.
As much as you may want to remove all temptation from your home, you do not want to start your new lifestyle by adding fighting. You made the decision to change, not your family. Circumstances will be much different if the change comes from serious allergies or health issues, but otherwise this was your choice only. You must be willing to be the example to others, which means you will need to start with some degree of will power. Only by learning to resist the cravings, desires for old familiar tastes, and simpler meal preparation can you really make a change that will last. Once your family sees the benefits of the changes, becomes curious enough to try some of those odd meals and snacks you are obviously enjoying, and grows used to the new atmosphere, can you being to approach the slow process of encouraging their own decision towards change.