Making dietary or lifestyle changes, no matter how small, is never easy. When Parsley Health members start to make major changes to benefit their health—be it adding supplements or something more drastic like adopting a gluten-free diet, a common concern is how to address these changes with their family members or partner.
When you make a change, it’s important to have support, which is one of the main reasons why all of our members have health coaches. In an ideal world, everyone in your life would get on board, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. On the flip side, no one wants to be a burden and inconvenience others. It can also be difficult to explain these changes to children (or adults).
Compromise is key but so is advocating for yourself. When it comes to your health, there are certain non-negotiables. If it’s going to make you sick, the inconvenience, embarrassment, or arguments that may arise, far outweigh the consequences. Dr. Tiffany Lester, Parsley Health’s San Francisco Medical Director notes the importance of sticking to what you need and letting go of any preconceived notions. Her advice is to “let your process be just yours and eat the foods that make you feel healthy and vital. When your family sees that, they are much more likely to start inquiring about your healthy lifestyle and adjust accordingly.”
Another tactic, which can be particularly helpful if you have children or many people in your household, is to get everyone involved and excited about your new dietary needs and health regimen. New York Health Coach Elisa Haggarty suggests that you make cooking a fun family event. If you make it something special, you’re much more likely to get buy-in. Know that your family might not be as enthusiastic as you hope and accept that. Rather than push anyone into things, which will likely backfire or increase the tension, lead by example. “Your increased energy, excitement for new foods and overall good energy will make them curious and when they are ready, they will join.” Of course, as New York doctor Lilli Link points out, if your children are young enough, or your partner will eat anything you buy, “just keep the food in the house that you want them (and you) to eat.”
Ultimately, your health is the most important thing and your family will come around. If you keep conversations and meal time fun and refrain from pushing your new lifestyle and dietary changes onto others, you’ll soon find your family is happy to support you.