We're just back from a skiing holiday where we stayed in a chalet with 5 other families we previously didn't know...
You can probably picture the scene over dinner: the slight awkwardness sitting around the table on the first couple of nights
Some people quiet and self-conscious
Some people covering up their nerves with bravado and slightly embellished stories of the day's skiing heroics!
Before we arrived the travel company asked us about our dietary preferences, so I explained a little about how we like to eat
This meant that we had some slightly modified dishes compared to most of the group and also that we made some different choices when we could
As much as I like cheese, bread and croissants I'm not going to eat them all week as I'd come home feeling terrible - and I want to come back from a holiday feeling amazing
Anyway, back to the dinner table...
People are watching us, getting intrigued about what's on our plates and what we're choosing
At some point the inevitable small talk question comes up (which I've usually tried to avoid for as long as possible)
“So, what do you do for a living?”
I tell them, and there's almost a collective sigh…
What comes out of people's mouths is: “Oh, that must be interesting”
Internally and betrayed on their faces it's “That explains it, you're one of those ‘health freaks' ”
The assumption being that as a “health freak” you're boring: you don't know how to have “fun” and you don't know how to “relax”
Some will make some attempt at a joke or actually go as far as mocking
When I was younger this kind of thing used to bother me but I've gotten quite used to it now
I've also realised that that kind of reaction usually means they find it intimidating or threatening for whatever reason
Some of them are overweight, not very fit, complaining of feeling tired and embarrassed to get in their swimwear to go in the hot tub
Perhaps they don't think they have the will power or discipline to make different choices?
Perhaps it's just that they want to be seen as “fun”? (And fun is proportional to how much wine you drink)
Perhaps the food and drink is escapism from their life on a day to day basis?
I try not to preach but if asked I will explain why we eat the way we do
If your idea of “fun” is drinking as much as possible every night (it's “free” after all), eating your bodyweight in cheese and croissants then that really is fine by me
But for me it the choice is that my health and how I feel day to day really is a priority
It's not really will power any more: it's a collection of habits and choices that reflect my priorities
Does that mean that mean I avoided the pain au chocolat completely?
No! You should have seen the meal we had on Friday - the platter covered most of the table! (You can check it out on Facebook if you want)
Anyway, this whole situation got me thinking: how many people's plans get side tracked because they don't want to be viewed as a “health freak”?
Peer pressure resulting in that extra drink (or 3!)?
The dessert you weren't going to have?
The biscuits in the office?
In isolation it's not a problem but many of us are in this position a few times per week
Dinners, coffees, social events, business meetings, your other half saying “would you like a glass of wine”...
So if we “relax” and “let our hair down” on all of these occasions, it's more than enough to sabotage our efforts when it comes to weight loss, health and fitness
If any of this sounds familiar, but you are ready to make your health a top priority, then you'll need to find some solutions for this...which are coming right up in the next email!