HOLLYWOOD—Roger, the manager of the Sunset 5, used to quote Jean Paul Sartre: Hell is other people. Listen, if you have been lightening up 30 pounds in 30 days, or even just doing half the things prescribed, you have had to deal with annoying people asking annoying questions. Not only that, but they bring their own dietary penchants to the table that encourage betrayal of your new practices and habits.
Some authors naively suggest involving your mate or roommate in the process of change since it will affect a great deal of your together time. And also your mate may be doing the shopping, and it may take time for it to sink in that you are no longer embracing cheese and Pop-Tarts.
“Always be respectful, never condescending, and do your best to help her understand why you feel so strongly about your diet regimen,” writes J. Morris Hicks in “Healthy Eating, Healthy World.” It does help to at least give the other people a heads up about your changes—that you’re on a plan to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, or the food revolution risks turning into a civil war. In two words, educate them.
Still you may have to deal with the pesky question, “Why are you eating this way?”
A good general ploy Mr. Hicks suggests is to reply “Doctors orders.” (An excellent answer to short-circuit strangers and those highly critical, even if you do not have a doctor.) And if it’s a worthy inquiry you may steer your friend/love/pest the honest way and say, “I’m losing weight, vegetables are a lot easier on my pocket book, and, you know, I feel a lot better.”
They may retaliate and offer you a sandwich—just something that is really inappropriate according to the 30 pounds in 30 days plan. What do you do? First line of defense against the staple in the diet of so many, even in so-called “healthy,” organic restaurants is to say no thanks. And you may have to say “no thanks” a second time—that’s not unusual.
A point of wisdom when dealing with other folks and taste buds—let’s stay real—acknowledge that everyone has got a right to what they like. You’ve also got a right to what you like. In your case, you are seeking to modify your consumption of items which are now off-limits in 30 pounds in 30 days. Let’s be honest, it is unrealistic to bring them up to speed and explain all the preferences and structures involved.
Friends, lovers, children and roommates all enter into the mix, along with their own pantry preferences. Out of kindness they may offer something for the ‘old you.’ Something you liked and have given up or something you may secretly still have a fondness for. Remember to keep love first.
The fact is: you may want to bend your personal diet code on occasion. Consider if your beliefs about what you should be eating in contrast with what you are really eating are producing misery and blame heaped on others for “enabling” your shortcomings. It may be time to alter your diet code. Any plan to change eating habits should not undermine a state of relaxation and bright outlook, replacing it with stressing over nutritional minutiae (woohoo spellcheck!). You may even change from 30 pounds in 30 days, to the 30 pounds in 60 days plan.
Let me give you the simplest concept of all when dealing with friends and family: when food is given with love, something that was prepared with love and given specially to you, accept it gratefully. Love trumps all. Look, it doesn’t mean you have to eat the whole thing, eat half of it. You’ll be fine, and just maybe you’ll be better inside.
Humorist Grady Miller is the author of “Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet,” available on Kindle. He can be reached at gr**********@ca*********.com.
By Grady Miller