A dieters biggest dilemma is simply knowing how to deal with the peer pressure to eat unhealthy.
You at your Thanksgiving dinner and your Uncle shouts “Oh cmon it is one piece of pumpkin pie, live a little!!”.
Or maybe you are out to eat with your friends and you sit down at the table only to have your slightly intoxicated friend Sarah shout “Mary can’t eat the bread she’s on a diet!”.
All the while you are wondering how in the hell are you supposed to succeed with all of this going on around you making it that much harder to hit your goals.
Don’t worry because your pal Eric is here to the rescue.
I am going to cover exactly how to handle the peer pressure to eat unhealthy.
First I am going to dive into the psychological reason behind why people are peer pressuring you.
Then next I will give you 3 practical tips you can do when these situations pop up.
Be sure to stay tuned for all of it because I know it can help.
Sound groovy? Let’s kick it then.
Peer Pressure To Eat Unhealthy
Why People Peer Pressure You
I think before diving into any tips or strategies we should set a clear premise for why people peer pressure you to eat unhealthy.
The more you understand why it happens the more you will be able to understand it and handle it appropriately.
Why does your cousin continuously feel the need to try to get you to drink and or go off your diet?
Why do your friends time and time again work to seemingly sabotage your attempts to eat healthy?
Are they bad people? No of course not.
Normally there is one distinct thing going on that makes people try to peer pressure you to eat unhealthy.
It Is Their Own Insecurities
Think about it for a second.
Who is normally the one giving you shit and peer pressuring you?
It usually isn’t the most fit and healthiest individual. If it was they wouldn’t be pressuring you to eat unhealthy because they are in the same boat you are in.
Usually, not all the time, but usually it is someone who does not have their own nutrition, health, and fitness in check on their end.
If someone knows they should be following their diet but they aren’t how is that going to make them feel?
Probably guilty and ashamed.
They say to themselves over and over again they are going to start making changes to their nutrition and every Friday night they end up going out, smashing nachos and tacos, and getting white girl wasted.
Then every Monday morning they wake up and say “this is the week things are going to change!”.
Yet the same cycle repeats itself over and over again, leading them to feel guilty and ashamed for not doing the things they are supposed to be doing.
Fast forward to know when they see you.
You are not engulfing nacho after nacho, you are sitting there with your side salad as your appetizer.
Multiple tacos are not being demolished by you, rather you are eating your grilled chicken with some vegetables and potato.
Then as they are on their 4th alcoholic drink, they notice you haven’t had a single one yet.
You are doing the things they are supposed to be doing but they are not mentally strong enough to do.
Where does this lead them in their head? It leads them to feel even more insecure, guilty, and ashamed.
Not only are they not doing what they are supposed to yet now they see you over here doing the same things they are supposed to but aren’t.
They Then Try To Make Themselves Feel Better By Bringing You Down With Them
Now I am not saying these people are trying to ruin you or they are bad human beings.
Yet the fact of the matter is they have to find a way to make themselves feel better for not doing what they told themselves they were going to over and over again.
What is the easiest way to do this? By making you join in their party.
If they get you to eat the nachos and tacos while washing it down with a few drinks, they immediately feel better about themselves.
Now it is not just them who is doing it, it’s you too. Therefore they can justify to themselves it is okay to do what they are doing and delay that feeling of guilt and shame for a few more days (until Monday morning rolls around of course).
You are their quick scapegoat out of feeling insecure, guilty, and shameful.
It is important to understand where the person is coming from that is giving you the hassle because once you understand that, you almost feel bad for them.
They aren’t strong enough to stand tall and do the things they are supposed to do so they try to bring you down with them.
Which actually brings me to my next point of what you should realize when you get peer pressure to eat unhealthy.
Take It As A Compliment
Again, think about it.
Said person is not doing what they are supposed to be doing which is making them guilty and ashamed so they are trying to take that out on you to feel better.
That person is not mentally strong enough to protect their goals and the healthy lifestyle they are chasing.
Yet you are.
You are the one who is strong enough to sit there and order a salad instead of nachos as the appetizer.
You are the one who is being mindful of your calories while you are out and practicing moderation as opposed to eating like an a**hole.
I dealt with this a lot as a kid growing up as I was always the one very into fitness and eating healthy / clean.
This kind of lifestyle was something I loved to live. Yet I would be lying if I told you I never had people try to give me sh*t or make me almost feel bad for the way I choose to live.
At first it did mess with me, until I realized that the only reason they were doing these things to me was because I was strong enough to stand up for what I wanted.
Think about your friends and family around you.
Who doesn’t want to improve their health, drop a few lbs, and look great?
All of them right?
Yet who is actually doing it?
Not many of them, right?
When people are trying to get you to crack by the peer pressure to eat unhealthy, they are giving you a compliment.
They are acknowledging you are stronger than they are.
They are acknowledging they can’t do what you are doing.
Take that as a compliment. Use it as them envying you.
I can’t tell you how many of those same people who were trying to peer pressure me to eat unhealthy are now coming to me asking for advice.
They will do the same for you. They will compliment you and ask you how the hell you were able to transform your body and look so amazing.
Then you will laugh and smile. (and or maybe use a few curse words to them about they one Christmas Eve dinner when they wouldn’t leave you the hell alone).
Therefore above anything else, understand why the peer pressure is getting directed towards you and take it as a compliment that you are doing something great.
Remember no one is going to give people grief or peer pressure if they are following the status quo. It is only those who step outside of it and look to change that get talked about.
It means you are doing something right and to keep on pushing.
3 Practical Tips On How To Handle Peer Pressure To Eat Unhealthy
I started by talking about the mindset strategies you have to understand because I think without understanding where people are coming from.
Once you truly grasp that part, this is the easy stuff.
That being said you can’t just tell someone they are insecure and to leave you alone (unless you are me… I have before… ) so here are 3 of my best tips I can give you to defuse the situation.
** Total random side note, as I like to throw these in every now and then, if you want some help on how to count calories in these foods you are eating that might be homemade, check out my article HERE where I cover that in depth **..
If there is one thing I have seen that works tremendously whenever there is peer pressure to eat unhealthy is by telling the person you are on a challenge.
When people hear the word “challenge” it is like their guard is immediately let down.
For example if someone is constantly trying to get you to drink, buying you shots, and giving you grief for not drinking with them, tell them you are on a challenge.
Say something along the lines of
“Man I would love to honestly but I am on a 30 day no drinking challenge right now”.
Immediately the conversation will change. They will wonder how long you have been on the challenge, why you started the challenge, how it is going, and so on.
Here is where you can make things up as you go (my favorite!) or have the same script every time.
Either way, I have noticed that when you tell people there is a challenge involved they immediately back off.
It also gets them thinking about doing a challenge for themselves (which they probably need let’s be honest…).
This can be an easy way out of a situation without hurting anyones feeling or telling them they are insecure to leave me alone.
Again, that one is kind of my favorite but, moving right along.
Not Feeling Well
This was one I used til the wheels fell off when I was younger.
Whenever there was something I truly did not want to partake in, whether it was drinking, having desserts, or devouring pounds and pounds of pasta, my go to was always to mention “I am just not feeling well”.
When you tell someone you aren’t feeling well it is like they almost feel bad for pressuring you now.
“What is wrong?! Are you okay? Do you need anything?”.
“Yea, I need you to leave me the f alone”.
All jokes aside this one works great.
Think about it who is going to give you grief for not doing something because you have a headache, or have a stomach ache.
If they do then they are real a**holes.
If you want to be able to be out but skip out or a thing or two, this is one I highly recommend.
Take It To Go
This is another staple of mine when I was growing up particularly at family events.
I come from an Italian family with aunts who not only love to cook, but are damn good at cooking.
If I knew the pasta they were making was 1000 calories per slab they were putting on my plate, even though I knew I was going to train that next day and have an amazing workout, 8000 calories of pasta was a bit much even for me.
Not to mention the to die for cake and or pies they make.
So, what did I do?
Sometimes I combined all three, something along the lines of
“Oh this all looks so amazing! Yet I am on a challenge to try to eat no desserts for 7 days straight! I am also actually not feeling the hottest. Could I possibly take it to go and have it for later?”.
Bam, genius right?
Don’t hurt anyones feeling, don’t have to eat 8000 calories in one sitting, and even get some goodies for later so I can practice moderation.
You can do the same thing, maybe don’t use all three combined as that would take a graduate level ;).
Yet you can certainly ask them to take whatever it is home to go instead of having it right then and there.
At that point do what you please with it.
Give it to your brother, eat it for yourself the next day in moderation, hell give it to your dog I don’t know.
Either way, that defuses the situation of needing to have it right then and there and can buy you an easy way out.
You will thank me later trust me.
Confident On How To Handle Peer Pressure To Eat Unhealthy?
I know it can be a challenge. Hell, weight loss is hard enough as it is without the added peer pressure to eat unhealthy.
Yet I hope I helped you understand the psychology of why people are trying to pressure you in the first place as well as some practical strategies you can use to maneuver your way out of it.
I think with those two things combined, you will be able to hold your diet close to your chest with much success.
PS: I also have done multiple videos on my YouTube channel about how to eat out, in any capacity, and still see progress with your health and fitness.
I can link some of them HERE If you want to check them out.
As well as, if you are someone who wants some extra guidance and accountability with your fitness journey, I would strongly encourage you to check out my Clubhouse.
It’s where myself, and a whole bunch of people like yourself hang out to get stronger, lose body fat, and improve their relationship with food.
If you enjoyed the article feel free to let me know below, I would love to hear from you.
If you want to drop a strategy of yours I did not mention here feel free to do so as well.
Thank you for reading and look to talk soon.