6 Dec 2011
There are a few things I’ve been surprised we don’t leave behind after emerging from the angst ridden teen years.
Pimples (they merge with wrinkles & become pinkles).
Competing with each other (We still do this? Haven’t we realized there’s room enough for us all to succeed?).
I’d been fortunate enough to avoid the last one for close to two decades. I don’t get out enough to experience drinking pressure (a post for another day). I’ve also lead my ‘new healthy life’ for so long most people can’t imagine me another way.
As a result, it surprised me to experience overt peer pressure at a recent holiday gathering.
Have some bread! A new friend offered.
No thanks. I responded. I felt no need to bore her with details of my gluten-related rashes and swelling.
No really. Have some! It’s great bread. I bought it at XYZ Bakery!
Thanks so much for offering. I don’t eat gluten. I can’t tolerate it.
Come on. Have some. (rips off a piece) Just a little bite. It’s (pauses for a moment) special gluten free bread!
The interaction continued, but you get the gist of the situation.
More than being annoyed it started me thinking about the concept of adult peer pressure.
Substitute the word beer for gluten and you practically have an anti-drinking anti-peer pressure PSA.
The more I pondered, too, the more I realized I probably was not alone in experiencing this at holiday gatherings.
I’ve finally reached the age where I’ve learned a moment of not being true to myself and listening to my body is not worth the resulting days of suffering.
I spent the first two decades of my life gagging down foods I didn’t care for and doing things I knew wouldn’t agree with my body all in the name of not hurting people’s feelings and wanting to fit in.
At 42 I’m finished with all that and want to share with you my plan for approaching the peer pressure laden holiday season.
- Practice firmly saying no. Be ready & rehearsed with your reasons behind the no if you’d like (weight-loss, health, food allergies, etc), just be sure you have a confident and polite no at the ready. Many of my clients had eating plans derailed merely because they came across as uncertain in their food choices. Well-meaning friends and family members interpreted this faltering as an opportunity for discussion and debate.
- Don’t look for excuses and reasons to blame. If your NO is not food allergy related (which people are realizing can be life or death), but purely healthy living enter into gatherings with your mindset in place. Are you committed to staying healthy this holiday season? Know your definition of healthy when you enter peer-pressure filled situations and have a plan. No matter whether your plan is to bring healthy options to share or take a walk (& a break from family-time) when dessert is served it helps to plan ahead when faced with possible pressure. Don’t subconsciously leave yourself an ‘out’ and look for a person upon whom to pin the blame.
- Remind yourself it is not about you. Yes, you need to remain steadfast in your beliefs not to be swayed by peers. That said when others are wholly at ease with their choices they won’t pressure you to join them.
- Don’t accidentally be the one pressuring! Are you a new convert to healthy living? Did you just discover gluten free eating? Have you finally made a full conversion to veganism? It can be a challenge not to want to share these facts with everyone you encounter. Remember, there’s a fine line between sharing I love the way I’m living now! and becoming the unintended pressurer.
All of the tips above are my thoughts and reactions to a recent situation.
I’d love to hear your experiences, thoughts & tips for combating adult peer pressure.
I’m always on the lookout for more to add to my arsenal.
CarlaCheck out my latest posts here