Commandment #9: Don’t Succumb to Peer Pressure.
It’s your night out with your friends and you’ve been waiting all week to let loose a little bit. You are at a restaurant and all your friends order some incredible smelling mac&cheese, loaded potatoes, and nachos for appetizers. But you eat clean and you aren’t going for that. However, everyone is applying a bit of peer pressure – just enough to make you uncomfortable. Certainly you don’t want to be the odd one out, or go off your “health kick”, so what do you do? In comes commandment #9.
How many times have you said “oh I didn’t want to hurt their feelings so I ate the cake”, or “he/she loves to buy me treats so I don’t want to say no”. In fact, it’s perfectly fine to say no. Preferably “no thank you”. Then follow it up with telling your significant other or friend or co-worker what you’d prefer as a treat/gift. If someone was an alcoholic, friends generally would not persist on offering alcohol to that person. Your health decisions should be respected and treated the same way.
Even Mild Peer Pressure can be Insidious
It is so important to stick to your guns when it comes to your health. Passing up foods that you know will hurt you doesn’t have to be so hard. There are plenty of things you can do to alleviate some of that peer pressure.
When you make the decision to eat clean, you shouldn’t feel the need to constantly defend your desire to be healthier. Unfortunately, there are going to be people in your life that will say things like: “just take one bite, one bite isn’t going to hurt anything” and you will have to explain that “one bite” is not the point.
Strategies for Avoiding Peer Pressure
Below are some useful strategies you can use:
- When going to a party or social gathering where food will be served, make sure to eat something before you go so you won’t be tempted to eat something that might not be in line with your plan.
- Bring your own drinks and enough to share. If you only drink a certain beverage (this includes alcoholic beverages and non-alcohol) then make sure to bring your own so no one feels uncomfortable about not having something for you to drink.
- If it is a child’s birthday party, call the parents ahead and ask what they are serving and bring your own version, so they do not feel pressure to provide a special meal for you. Or offer to bring a dish to share that is safe for you.
- Build your tribe of people. Find or create a group of people that you can have dinner parties with or who at least understand and support you, and find ways to hang out with them more often. This will help build your confidence because you will not have to constantly defend your choices.
It’s up to You to Hold Fast
We all have insecurities and people express those insecurities, often, by questioning other people’s actions through peer pressure. To be sure, this is not your problem, it is their problem. When you build up a tribe of people who support you, you will feel better about everything. In the mean-time, start building a fortress of foods around you that make you feel very satisfied so you are not feeling deprived at all. If you start feeling deprived you will have a harder time saying no to that cupcake or bag of Doritos.
We want to at this point introduce you to a concept called “treat yourself, don’t cheat yourself”
There are plenty of ways to get a treat into your diet but when you are a clean eater, this concept is slightly trickier. Treat yourself, means to give yourself the clean version of the thing you are craving. Cheat yourself means to go back to the old habits and eat the bad version of the craving.
1. You are craving chips and salsa
- Treat: cassava chips or plantain chips with an organic salsa
- Cheat: GMO corn chips with salsa off the shelf
What happens when you cheat yourself is you set your body backwards, and then you have to make up for your slip. Often the cheat foods will cause a negative reaction in your body as well. This will have a domino effect on your health and it really isn’t worth going down that path. A treat will help to satisfy your cravings but not derail you. This is where either having a coach or having a friend who has gone down this path before can really help you. When you are feeling the need to cheat it is important to reach out, ask for help, or research on your own to find the best treat solutions for you. There are plenty of options now that people have started eating more and more in this direction. You can also subscribe to food delivery services that will bring you clean versions of your favorite foods until you get comfortable preparing them for yourself!
2. Craving a brownie sundae with whipped cream
- Treat: clean brownie mixes like simple mills chocolate cake, with nice cream (whipped frozen bananas), and whipped coconut cream
- Cheat: cold stone brownie sundae
In this case you will again have negative side effects from the cheat but feel totally fulfilled and happy from the treat! You can check out our meal plan section for plenty of delicious treats that you can make at home, feel great, and never feel deprived!
The most important thing here is that your health is more important than anything else. Even if that means sometimes you have to hurt your friend’s feelings by not eating their food. After a little time, everyone will be better off and you will feel even better. Who knows maybe you will help them make positive changes in their own lives! (hint: last commandment is all about leading by example!)
At I am a Clean Eater, we do not want to tell you what lifestyle eating plan you should be on. We only want to help support you wherever you are on your journey. The message is about understanding what’s at the end of your fork and making the best and most informed decisions for yourself!
If you would like more information about clean eating, CLICK HERE to visit our YouTube channel. While there, be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with all our new videos.
For more information on this commandment, watch this video: