Dear Cassey: It’s so hard to be healthy around other people

Hey Cassey,
I’ve noticed that I am only able to work out and eat healthy when I am by myself. As soon as I spend a couple of days with my boyfriend or my family I return to bad habits from the past and it gets even harder to start again when I’m alone. How do I change that? I feel like especially with my bf, food has become part of our love language and we constantly treat each other to sweets or fast food. I worry that once we live together I will just stop my fitness journey altogether.
Food Is The Way To My Heart

heart shaped pepperoni pizza on white background

Hey Food Is The Way To My Heart,

I love this question!

It’s really easy to get into the habit of treating food like something that needs to be controlled or even like the enemy. But you know what? Food is also an EXPERIENCE. It’s used for celebration and for comfort. A lot of times, it’s even tied to specific memories we have. Keeping that in mind, try not to feel guilty or like you’re “failing” because you indulge a little when you’re with your loved ones. You’re not necessarily sabotaging your goals just because you choose to enjoy food with your family or boyfriend.

If you feel like it’s happening a little more often than you’d like, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What does your diet look like overall?
  • When you “return to bad habits,” can you physically tell a difference (like you feel more energetic, sleep better, etc.), or do you just feel guilty?

I just think it’s easy to focus on the things we’re doing “wrong,” and totally forget to acknowledge the things we’re doing well! Zooming out and looking at your diet overall might help you see that your diet IS healthy most of the time. And that’s what we want! If it’s not, then zooming out will also make it easier to see where you can make small changes.

But what small changes? Instead of avoiding social situations or completely turning down foods that make you happy, find ways to compromise your love language for food with your healthy goals. It could be as simple as still going out for pizza with your fam but ordering a big salad first.

Here are some other things you could try:

Cook together.

If you want to make food gifting a little more special or based on occasion, you can still fulfill your food as your love language with your boyfriend the rest of the time – maybe with cooking! Get in the kitchen together. Experiment and have fun! If you’re both foodies, then you’re bound to enjoy time in the kitchen. You can recreate simple versions of your favorite meals and treats, or maybe even come up with some new faves. I love doing this when I crave dessert because I can make a smaller portion that perfectly satisfies my craving!

Sometimes it could be more about acts of service.

Maybe part of your love language isn’t literally about the food. Maybe picking up some fast food or something sweet is more about the act. On a busy or stressful day, cooking might not sound very appealing. Your boyfriend or family showing up with food or saying “hey, wanna go out to eat?,” might be EXACTLY what you need to feel taken care of. If that could be the case, that could be a good convo to have with your boyfriend for the future.

Get your goals in check.

Basically, make sure your goals are sustainable! Sometimes, craving or obsessing over “bad” foods is just a sign of too much restriction. Don’t deprive yourself or restrict yourself too much. You want to find the perfect balance and plan that works for you that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re missing out.

Of course, remember that communication is key.

Sam and I eat completely differently, and our goals are different. But he knows why my eating habits are important to me and he shows his support in little ways like ordering my favorite salad or always trying my healthy recipe experiments πŸ˜‰ Do I sometimes indulge in his favorite foods? OF COURSE. But he knows I feel better if I don’t do it all the time.

Hopefully, this gives you something to think about so you can stick to your goals without sacrificing food as your love language! It’s difficult to balance for sure, but you can do it!!!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

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