You’re standing there, eating ham and a tomato at a buffet laden with pastry.
You scrape off brown sugar from the top of sweet potatoes at Easter lunch.
You say ‘No thank you’ when your co-worker’s homemade birthday cake is offered around.
You see someone watching you and you know what’s coming…
A comment, or maybe just a look. Or a set of the shoulders.
It makes you feel anxious, your heart beats a little faster, indignation courses through your veins. You remember all times you made public statements about losing weight, then failed.
You feel like eating carbs just to calm yourself down!
I’ve been there. Many times.
Just how do we respond without feeling foolish, or so enraged we end up sabotaging ourselves?
Here’s 8 ways to deal with these situations:
1. Role play or mentally rehearse ahead of time what you will say if you receive criticism. Say it out loud and practice it. Use your paleo buddies for help with this.
2. Don’t explain, apologize, justify or otherwise seek to vindicate what you are doing. You’ll just sound defensive and weak. You’ll give opportunities to your critic to pick holes in your argument and you’ll get stressed and your heart will race.
3. If asked, say you eat meat and veg. End of. Look them square in the face and say it with a firm, even voice. Don’t even say ‘vegetables’ – too long a word. You can even add a smile at the end and move onto a subject less controversial.
4. Disengage. If someone insists on making their non-paleo point, say something short like, “This works for me” then change the subject or walk away. You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to. Resist the desire to. (Works for sassy kids too, by the way. )
5. Stonewall the truly obnoxious person. If someone will not give it a rest (I had someone follow me around hammering their points home once) break eye-contact, move to non-committal noises like “Uh-huh” or “I see” or silence. Give them nothing and get away from them as soon as possible.
6. Keep calm and carry on. What if the doubter is your spouse? Or your mother-in-law? If you feel you’re on stage while you eat with everyone observing you, perhaps waiting for you to fail, just quietly go about your business. Appear impervious to the signals you’re receiving (even if inside you’re a mass of emotion.) We teach people how to treat us. Do what you do, the way you do it. Be confident. Be proud. Sit up at the table and eat your food.
7. Learn and lead. The feeling of being watched as we eat is sometimes accurate but it can also come from our own lack of confidence from repeated past failures creating a miasma of doom. It feels like we are being watched, when, in fact, people are far more interested in getting their own needs met with their food than worrying about ours. Do you what you need to feel strong. Plan your meals, prepare them, learn from your mistakes and apply the lessons. Inner confidence will give you outer confidence and will make you a leader, not a victim, of those around you.
8. Get results. There is no better answer. And no words are involved. At all.
Do you have a saboteur in your midst? What do you do to neutralize them? Let us know in the comments.
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