For over two years, I have pursued new health through food selection and fitness training. That has looked like a lot of focus, habit development and sacrifice. But, like anything worth having, these commitments are what turn dreams into goals, goals into objectives, and objectives into tactics and actions. I acknowledge I put a lot of work towards my accomplishments; there is another factor to acknowledge. This was and continues to be one of the most challenging obstacles and/or fears to pursuing dreams: how do you maintain healthy relationships with loved ones?
For the next series of blog posts, I am going to focus on how healthy foods can create healthy relationships. This includes some challenges you might have, how to overcome them and ways you can connect over health with family. It was not until recently that I reflected on my food story and the way that affects me [and others around me] daily.
Think about the origin of food and meals. From hunters and gathers to farmers and the 21st century, food is the center of our lives. Hunters and gatherers spent time together to collect and hunt animals. They would celebrate their victories and split the food among themselves. Farmers, years ago and today still, work together from planting through harvest to bring foods to yield for themselves and companies or grocers around the world. Agriculturalists and their employees work as a team to bring food from the fields to the stores and to our tables. For everyone, we use food as the center point for holidays, celebrations and gatherings. Many dates involve a meal. A hefty number of business meetings happen at restaurants or have food offered during the meeting. And a lot of these meals, we eat what we are offered to appease others. There is this “unwritten” standard that when we eat together, we have to eat just like everyone else.
This is where health goals can get difficult.
You don’t want to cause separation. You don’t want to feel different or special for having dietary needs or special food. You want to enjoy a meal with your loved ones, coworkers or customers. You want to ensure the comfort of others around you.
The comfort other people have with what you do differs. I realized that when I began bodybuilding and my healthier lifestyle, I often ate alone. I felt “insecure” in the beginning. It was like I was “hiding” who I was and why I chose to eat the foods I did. It was also recommended by a coworker to not eat in front of others when no one else was eating. I did not want others to be uncomfortable with my chicken and sweet potato. Nonetheless, the learning process continued and now I have a better balance of eating alone, eating out with coworkers, customers, friends and family, and still maintaining a balanced lifestyle. I was able to reach a comfort level with what I was doing.
This weekend, I made some chicken and sweet potato fries! I don’t hide it but rather share what works for me and how it might work for others. I will share my cooking methods in an upcoming post about how I made these fries and how you can share the love with your family.
I’m even more conscious in my relationship. I am in an “improvement season” that could be coined as “bulking”. My boyfriend is preparing for a bodybuilding show and is “cutting” and “shredding”. This causes our eating schedules and food selections to differ. But, this is also the best time for he and I to bond and learn together. This process is about making health easier, for you and your significant other or family.
In today’s culture, we have become lax. Portion sizes have grown. The general population is less concerned of eating [and drinking] and how it affects the human body. When you are dating or in a serious relationship, the beginning is often focused on impressing and wooing the other person. After a while, the couple becomes very comfortable and happy together. This is great! But, they also get lax. They comfortable and happy together and this is typically when the weight and undesired body fat starts to build. You tend to see this a lot in marriages. You might talk to one of the partners and they comment how they wish they could lose 5 pounds or they wish they would stop eating sweets so much. But then they put blame on the other partner for liking those foods or not understanding. That’s where this conflict can be tough. It is manageable and preventable!
Want to learn how? I will dive into more detail in upcoming posts. Look for more soon and if you have any specific questions or topic ideas, please share via comments!