Food & Fitness

Life Lessons: Habits

Last weeks recipe? A sugar scrub, courtesy of Gena (*waves* thanks, Gena!). I’ve only used it once and it is fantastic; I already got a compliment on how soft my skin is. I followed her advice to use baby oil and the vanilla extract, which works beautifully. I highly recommend it! Not only is this exfoliating scrub incredibly easy to make, but you’re likely to have all of the ingredients easily on hand and it will make you positively glow. Using this sugar scrub has now been added to my list of healthy habits that I want to continue to do on a regular basis.

What’s the big deal about having healthy habits? Well, as we go through life, every one of us develops certain ways of acting and thinking- certain habits- that contribute to the way we live our lives and impact much of what we do, whether or not we recognize it. These habits can expand or contract our comfort zone, helping or hindering us in our jobs, relationships, and way of life. Because these little habits of ours add up so quickly and can grow without our even noticing, it is crucial to take the time to evaluate our habits and recognize which ones are worthy of remaining habits and which ones we should ditch.

I have managed to develop what I believe to be some very good habits during my healthy journey. Whereas when I was younger I might only drink 1 glass of milk a day, now I am sure to drink 2 glasses as well as some yogurt and cheese to up my calcium intake. When I am by myself, 90% of the time I will take the stairs instead of the elevator for my legs to become strong. I am more aware of the amount of activity that I do during the day and when at all possible I will walk to my destination rather than drive (and this, like the stairs choice, is beneficial not only to me but also to the environment. You know I’m all about the win-win!).

However, sometimes, our habits are those which affect others without us realizing it at all. Yesterday I was informed that my eating habits cause more strain among people than I would have guessed. My sister and boyfriend tried to explain to me that in my choices to ask for dressings and sauces on the side, and my requests to try to turn every meal I eat into a healthier one and my continuous ordering of water over any other drink, causes the people I am dining with to feel guilty and judged.

It is no secret among my friends and I that I am doing my best to make healthier choices. But I also make a huge effort to not try to impose my views on anyone else and I respect their decisions if they choose something that I would not have eaten. Therefore, I am in a conflicting position: I can continue to make my food choices and have these people feel as though I believe that I am morally superior to them, or I can give up my choices (which I believe very strongly in) to accommodate so that other people will not feel badly about what I do.

Has anyone else ever been in this kind of situation? And could you work out some kind of compromise so that everyone is satisfied and no one feels judged or embarrassed? What sort of habits have you grown that have a positive as well as an unseen negative aspect to them?


  1. the Bag Lady

    Perhaps if you explain to your dining companions that it’s a personal decision and make a pact not to judge EACH OTHER for the choices you make, the conflict will be resolved.

    It sounds to me as though they are judging YOU for the choices you make! If it makes them feel guilty when you choose something healthy, then they must be aware that their choice isn’t perhaps the best.

    The Bag Lady makes bad choices every day, and has people judging her for those choices.

    The choices you make in your youth and the habits that you develop become deeply ingrained, whether they are good or bad. Keep on making those “good” choices – you will appreciate your decisions when you get older, believe me!

  2. Mark Salinas

    I find many people will often make comments about others eating habits due to either admiration or concern for another. Admiration because they admire your strength, commitment to healthy eating and ability to control your eating. Or concern because you do not eat enough, too much or have a very unhealthy diet. I am willing to bet you have many admirers. 🙂

  3. Gena

    Oh no! What a terrible position to be in!

    I think the Bag Lady has it right. Try explaining again that you make these choices for your own health and happiness, but you respect their right to make their own choices. I’ve noticed in the past that often people will belittle someone’s healthy choices because they feel bad/embarrassed about their unhealthy choices.

    Mostly, though, don’t ever give up the healthy habits you have built to make others feel better.

    And I’m glad you like the scrub!

  4. Sagan Morrow

    Bag Lady- thanks for your insight. A mutual agreement not to judge and to be understanding would really be the best all around. The problem is that many of these people are simply acquaintances so I am unsure exactly of how to approach the subject when it is a subliminal type thing.

    Mark- thanks for the comment:) You might just be right about it being out of admiration and/or concern.

    Gena- your scrub is seriously heavenly. I loves it:) And very much appreciate your support! Explaining my position again could help to increase the understanding between me and these other people.

  5. JavaChick

    Interesting comment from your sister and her boyfriend, and not very supportive.

    I think it’s unfair of others to expect you to change your eating habits to make them more comfortable. You are not imposing your choices on them, they should not feel the need to impose their choices on you.

    I’m not sure of how to phrase that nicely though.

    I think we each have to make choices for ourselves that we can live with and be happy with. At home, I try to prepare healthy meals. When eating out, I won’t say that I deliberately choose unhealthy foods BUT I have been disappointed in the past by “healthy” options that have turned out to be flavourless and unsatisfying. So I aim for a happy medium. But that is my choice. I’m not going to tell anyone else what they should or shouldn’t do, or give them a hard time about their choices. We are all free to chose.

  6. Robin

    Maybe you should tell them that their eating unhealthy foods makes it difficult for you to stick with your healthy choices (even though it may not.) 🙂

    If they are feeling guilty, that is about them, not about you. I personally wouldn’t change my lifestyle for them, and I think it is unreasonable for them to ask you to.

  7. Colleen

    Nice Blog Sagan!

    I get flack from my in-laws all the time. They are constantly trying to shove desserts down mine and my husband’s throats. They are both overweight and would rather see us that way too than to change their habits. They complain all the time about how horrible they feel, but they just won’t do anything about it. But they’re also the type people who never have anything nice to say about anyone. I try to stay away as much as possible because I don’t want to become that way too! :X I hope it’s not too late!

  8. Susan

    This is THEIR problem, not yours. You’re not imposing your choices on them, so if they feel guilty, then…well, good! Maybe it will inspire them to adopt some healthier habits of their own. 😉

    Seriously, I think if the subject is brought up, you can explain to them quite matter of factly that you are not judging them and are doing what works best for your body.

    I’m in agreement with what The Bag Lady suggested in this situation; she said what I would say. 🙂

  9. Running Knitter

    It’s a sticky situation, but in the end, it’s your decision to eat what you want to eat, and others can make their own decisions as well. They shouldn’t take your decision personally, but if they do, then remember that the problem lies with them and not with you.

  10. Sagan Morrow

    Javachick- eating healthy at home and then being a bit more lenient when you go out is a pretty good compromise (and it was my boyfriend who said it).

    Robin- very sneaky! But totally possible. The influence of what others are eating definitely goes both ways.

    Colleen- thanks for stopping by! Its rough when the peoples closest to you are the ones that you’re at odds with.

    Susan & Running Knitter- much appreciated! It makes me feel better that the problem involves them, too.

  11. Fitarella

    I agree with Robin & Susan. This is about them. You can’t *make* the feel anything, they are doing that themselves. You are just doing what you do, THEY are the ones interpreting/judging it. I went through this a lot with my weight loss, many people couldn’t handle it. But it wasn’t about me, it was because I was a *reminder* of something – something they didn’t like, they felt guilty about, didn’t like about themselves, etc, etc…It was easier for them to point the finger at me then figure out why it bothered them so much. This is very similar to MizFit’s post about negative people/energy suckers in our lives. Your healthy eating has obviously pushed some major buttons for people, but that is NOT your problem. You have ONE body & ONE life – good for you for choosing to take care of it! Don’t short change yourself or your health for anyone! *hugs*

  12. oatmeal

    The sugar scrub sounds interesting!
    Even though I’m a little hesitant about adding the vanilla extract since it’s so expensive :p

    And walking is definitely one of the best habits to get in to! Good for you, good for the environment, and thus good for everyone else! It IS a win-win situation! And you get to eat more food! XD

    And I’m sorry about the dilemma you’re in! But perhaps the healthy choices you make may eventually push them to start making better decisions about the food they eat!

  13. loveofoats

    To be short & sweet, you definitely should not feel guilty about your choices… they are NO one else’s but your own! Just b/c someone feels guilty is not your fault – I completely agree w/ the Bag Lady, she hits it right on the dot!

    To give you a quick background of me, I was in a semi-similar situation w/ my family but when I explained to them my choices (health reasons NOT to be “skinny”) they actually made tremendous changes alongside of me and now my entire family is focused on eating RIGHT and working out…

  14. workout mommy

    ugh, the non-supporters really get my goat! I have several of them in my life and I just try to ignore their “helpful” suggestions. (“have more pie, it won’t kill you just this one time”)

    Keep it up with your healthy choices! 🙂

  15. Missicat

    I am often in that situation – I do not want to become “that person” who is obsessed over what I eat and drive every one nuts, but I do need to keep healthy because once I fall off of that wagon, that’s it. There is a lady at work who becomes a “food pusher” sometimes – brings in donuts and asks me constantly if I want one. NO!!!

  16. Dara Chadwick

    Sagan, I feel your pain. This was a huge issue for me last year when I was writing Shape’s Weight-Loss Diary column. Some people were very uncomfortable with my attempts to live a healthier lifestyle. But you can’t let them stop you!

    I found that rather than trying to talk others into doing things “my way,” it was best to just quietly go about my business — which it sounds like you’re doing.

    Healthy habits are SO worth it. Don’t let others get you down.

  17. Stephee

    I know exactly what you mean. I try so hard to eat healthy when I go out. But I don’t see how anyone would take me being healthy as a judgment on them, I certainly do not mean it that way. I say, just keep doing what you are doing. If it makes them feel guilty it’s because they are probably ordering food they shouldn’t be in the first place!

  18. P.O.M.

    I have been in some similar situations. Continue to make your healthy choices. Maybe you will be a positive influence. Maybe not. But the only person you have to answer to at the end of the day is yourself. And being healthy is what makes you happy, then stick with it!

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