Ask Linda: What do I do if others won’t change?

Photo compliments of eastbrooklyn.com

Photo compliments of eastbrooklyn.com

Q: I would love to switch to a whole food, plant-based diet but I’m afraid that I won’t be able to get my family on board. How did you handle that?

 

A:  This is a question I get a lot lately.

 

My children are adults and on their own so I only cook for my husband, Mike, and myself.

 

When I told Mike I was thinking about giving up meat and dairy, he was supportive. He also made it clear that he had no intention of following suit.

 

I have a tendency to rebel when something is pushed on me so I knew better that to fight him on this.

 

We made a deal that I would still cook meat for him and not judge or guilt him when he ate cheese or his nightly bowl of ice cream. He agreed to try the food I made for myself.

 

He was also supportive by asking me to share what I was learning in my CHIP classes.

 

We were both shocked to learn that not only is there more cholesterol in chicken than there is in beef  but that our liver produces all we need. We do not need to ingest any additional cholesterol to survive!

 

At that point, Mike was eating at least 2 eggs for breakfast most days.

 

Even though this alarmed me, I said nothing.

 

One day, he said, “Dear, I think I would like to cut down on the number of eggs I’m eating. Could we maybe find something more healthy for me to eat for breakfast? But it has to taste good.”

 

Music to my ears!

 

The first hot cereal we tried was a miss.

Breakfast in the 1000 Islands

Breakfast in the 1000 Islands

Then we tried a hot cornmeal cereal that has dates, lemon zest and pumpkin pie spice (see photo above). That was a winner for both of us!

 

Now, most mornings, he has the cereal topped with berries. And he loves it!

 

He has also started snacking on raisins and peanuts instead of cheese.

 

Most of the food I make for myself, he enjoys. There have even been times when I’ve had to ask him not to eat all of my food.

 

If I was constantly preaching, trying to guilt or push him to change his diet, this probably would have gone a completely different direction.

 

Just like it had to be my choice to change, I have to give him the space to make his own choices.

 

As a coach, it’s not my job to tell my clients what I think they should do. We all need to choose and own our choices.

 

Giving others the space to make their own choices can be challenging. Especially when we think we know what’s right for them.

Courtesy of RunForYourSole.com

Courtesy of RunForYourSole.com

 There are times when we learn best by making our own mistakes. And sometimes the mistakes that others think we are making turn out to be the best decisions ever.

 

And if I judge others for not following what I’m doing, then they will likely do the same to me.

 

It’s not up to us to police the world. It’s up to us to do what we think is right and allow others to do the same.

 

Good luck with your new lifestyle!

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