This is the first article of the series, Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships.
I moved over 12 hours away from home after college. This was a large adjustment physically and emotionally. What few people know is that when I first moved, I lived out of a hotel for a full month. This was the turning point.
I looked in the mirror and I hated myself. I hated how I looked. I had constant low energy. I was eating out every day for every meal. I knew that I needed to make a change before my metabolism slowed even more and my genetics caught up with me and my weight gain. This is when I chose to start dieting and making conscious food choices.
It was not a light decision, but I made the commitment to myself and my health. I started working with a coach and after a few months, the changes were obvious. I had adapted to this new mindset, new habits and new lifestyle. After about seven months of being in Nebraska, I made my first trip back home to Ohio to see family. They were nearly in shock.
The changes I had made were not just physical. I had a new focus and key element in my life. I was particular about what I ate, when I ate and sometimes how I ate. I had a nice time with the family and traveled back to Nebraska. It was not until a few months later I realized how my visit impacted my family… not very well. I had been self-centered and ignorant of the perspective my family had. I realized I did not share what I was doing and provide background on why I was choosing to do what I do. This is a mistake I want to help prevent in your life. Here are the first five steps to introduce your family to your new health goal. And a simple homemade sweet potato fries recipe!
Step 1: Share the goal
No matter your circumstance, selecting and starting a new goal is tough. Pursuing a new health goal is extremely difficult. But, once you do, and you make that commitment to yourself, you do not have to do it alone. Whether you are like me and living on your own away from family or have close loved ones living with you or nearby, it is imperative to share your goal with at least one person. Even if they do not understand at first, you need to be open.
When you are transparent with loved ones about your goals, it gives them a chance to support you. It may show you some of these people in your life do not understand. This is OK. Take some time to sit down and discuss with your family or significant other your why for your goal, what it means to you, how you are not making this choice to negatively impact anyone, but instead, to positively impact yourself and ultimately others in your life.
Step 2: Stick to your belief through their disbelief
Although some of the people you want to understand your new goal and lifestyle will not, you must stay firm to your belief. It will challenge you. It will also challenge the relationship with the other person(s). Nonetheless, now is the perfect time to have self reflection, acknowledge the situation and why there is confusion or disbelief.
I am 24 years young and have some family and friends I have grown apart from. I also have some I have grown much closer. This is life. We go through cycles or seasons in everything, from likes and dislikes, friends, tastes, and endeavors. As you continue to change, you must stick to your belief because the only one who can live with the consequences of your decisions is you. We choose who we want to become.
Step 3: Engage them in the lifestyle
Neither you nor I can change overnight. However, we can take small action steps daily to learn, grow and evolve. As you take steps towards your new health goal, engage your loved ones in the lifestyle. This could be from educating them on the new food tracking app you downloaded or going for a walk together in the morning or evening. If you can start to make it feel normal and like a routine, your loved ones will become accustomed to the idea and see the positive difference it makes for both of you.
Bodybuilding is a different animal of its own. Lucky for me, my closest family and friends were inquisitive of the process and I took time to teach them about macronutrients, training methods and more. I’m even more blessed that my boyfriend also competes in bodybuilding competitions and has a first-hand experience in this lifestyle I choose.
Step 4: Thrive in your tribe
Now that you have identified the ones closest to you who can understand and support you, thrive with them. You cannot dwell on those who do not support you. Community is built through uplifting others. Even if your family, partner or friends do not have the exact same goal as you, how can you help them thrive? At the start, you might not notice the influence you have within your circle. After a little while, it will be apparent if some of your tribe are following some of your healthy goals or tips or doing something on their own to be motivated. This awareness will help you stick to your habits and create new ones!
Now that you learn to thrive, you bond together over some recipes, like these sweet potato fries! Sweet potatoes are a low-glycemic index starch, have the highest natural source of Vitamin A as a food and offer additional vitamins in a lower calorie serving. What isn’t to love? They can be baked, fried, pureed, and my favorite, added to sweet recipes. I was feeling some spice and salt, so fries for me. These sweet potato fries are tasty, kid friendly, and a healthy, homemade alternative to store-bought fries! You can use different oils to cook but I prefer the taste and health benefits of coconut oil or olive oil! Are you ready to introduce them to your family?
Homemade sweet potato fries
Makes 4 servings using 20 ounces of sweet potatoes
190 calories/3g protein/30g carbs/7g fats
- Weight potatoes.
- Skin and cut.
- Soak in bowl of cold water for 1-3 hours. This is a must for fries that get crispy on the outside but still chewy on the inside.
- Preheat oven 450 degrees.
- Drain and dry potato slices with towel.
- Split in half and place in two pans.
- Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil per pan and season (cinnamon, cumin, paprika, pepper). Do not add salt until after baked.
- Use hands to mix and cover completely.
- Put in oven 20 minutes, turn them over then bake another 10 minutes or until all have crisp, dark orange/black.
- Remove and let cool for about 10 minutes and serve. These also can store in the fridge but will not stay as crispy if not eaten same day.
I’m still working to improve this recipe, just like creating healthy relationships around healthy foods. How can you take these learnings as you approach your new lifestyle to your loved ones?
This is the first article of the series, Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships. Please follow and share if you enjoy this content! Thanks and look forward to helping you succeed.