How To Deal With Unhealthy & Unsupportive People

July 4, 2011

in Blog, Kristine's Best Tips, News, Facts, Fitness

Hey all!  Its yet another “News, Facts & Fitness Monday” 🙂 Hope you’re having a great long weekend!  Here in Canada, we got Friday off, so I’m back at work today.  The weekend was filled with plenty of get-together’s with friends!  It got me thinking about today’s topic.

Healthy Living and Social Situations

How is your whole group of friends and family since you’ve decided to live a healthy lifestyle?  Many people are lucky to have support from their friends and family members, but I know its also as common to not have that support – at all!  Whether it be un-intentional, or purposeful saboteurs, they can be difficult to deal with!

Your at a BBQ, and wanting to make a healthy choice, but then you feel the ‘peer pressure’ to eat something unhealthy.


I think there is a big difference between healthy choices not being available (can be unintentional) versus someone knowing your healthy lifestyle, and trying to sabotage you by coaxing you to eat something unhealthy.

The latter is what really irks me.  To me, it speaks volumes about the person/people, and also makes me wonder what their issues are.  Are they jealous, unsatisfied with their weight and not motivated to change it, do they have control issues, or are they insecure?  Typically, these people also have the “All or Nothing” approach to their health as I like to call it.

I really felt this when I was prepping for a fitness competition. Sadly, it was from a couple of my own family members.  I was on a strict eating schedule, so social situations were the hardest.  Typically I would be bringing my own food, because I didn’t want the host to have to worry about accommodating me, but it still didn’t stop the eye rolling and snide comments.  Competing is definitely extreme for most people, and I totally agree with that, so I understand that not everyone is going to “get it”.  But if these are the same people that are constantly pushing bad food upon you ie.  You want to choose a turkey burger over a cheese burger and you get remarks, or they make you feel guilty for not eating the cheesecake they made, or even mocking you and saying how “good” the junk food is.  Those are the people I’m referring to.

While they may feel offended that your not eating what they made, they have to learn to not take it personally.  I would just explain to them (in a non-confrontational way) that you’ve chosen to eat healthier, and you’re feeling great and getting closer to reaching your goals, and while everything looks wonderful, you’re going to opt for the healthier choices.  If you want, a good idea might be bringing a healthier version of a classic dish.  Something they might be inclined to try, and something that fits into your meal plan.  The worst is when you go somewhere (bring nothing), and everyone has their plate filled with food.  You probably feel like you have to eat the unhealthy food to please the host, or else your left having a couple items on your plate.

Its also important to not take things personally if you go somewhere and there aren’t healthy options. Everyone may not know about your healthy lifestyle, or maybe it just slipped their mind.  That’s why I like the idea above.  Even if you’re not required to bring something, just do it as a nice surprise.  I can assure you, 90% of the time, its appreciated.

At Work

The workplace can also be very difficult.  If you work in an office, the lunchroom can be filled with junk food.


You sit at your desk eating your veggies, and your coworkers walk by and roll their eyes.  Or you hear the snide comments when your eating your healthy lunch as they just got back with their paper bag from the closest fast food joint.

If the person actually makes a comment like, “Ewww, I can’t believe you can eat that”, I’d say, “Well crappy food makes me feel like crap, so I’d rather feel good thank you very much!”.  Once they see you are getting results, just watch their attitudes change.  Then they’ll start asking you what your doing, and they’ll want to get on the same plan!!

If your constantly feeling tempted at work cause the junk food is around, just make sure you have food at your desk.  Apples, almonds, protein powder etc.  Its a bad idea to be super hungry, especially if unhealthy food is around.

No Support In Your Own Home

This is the hardest of the three.  If you can’t even get support in your own home, that is the most difficult.  If your partner (husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend) isn’t supporting your healthy lifestyle, or seems supportive at first, but then constantly undermining you or making comments, that’s a problem.  If your family members are on board, but may not want to be as healthy, a great option is doing “Healthy Makeovers” as I like to call them.  Easy and delicious food that will typically please the fussiest eater.  I have almost 50 of these recipes HERE.

Don’t ever think you can nag your partner into eating healthy and exercising.  Its not going to happen.  I would use the approach of saying how happy and great you feel, and maybe they will re-think it.  I bet they will eventually want to feel the same!  If they aren’t on board with exercising, do it on your own time.  Early in the morning is great as it doesn’t interfere with the after work routine.

I also believe that healthy eating and fitness can become part of your life, it doesn’t have to be your whole life.  Sometimes when people make the decision to be healthy, they drop everything and dedicate every minute to it.  It doesn’t need to be that way at all.  You don’t have to preach, simply do it for yourself, don’t make a big deal out of it, and hope they follow your lead!

Another helpful idea is making big batches of your partners favorite meals and put them in individual serving size dishes or tupperware.  If they don’t want to eat the healthy meal you’ve made, instead of starting an argument, take out a portion of something for them.  Ideally, its nice if everyone will eat the same thing, but lets be honest, its not always realistic.  If that’s the case, its something to work towards, and don’t push it.

With kids, it may be about sneaking things into their favorite foods ie.  whole grain and protein muffins, smoothies w/spinach, pureed veggies in casseroles etc.

Worst Case Scenario

I don’t feel its necessary to cut off relationships if the only reason is because they aren’t fully on board with having a healthy lifestyle. But if its one of the many problems in your relationship with that person, then perhaps its a good time to re-think how much time you want to continue spending with them.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to deal with the unsupportive people in your life.  If you have any other tips to suggest, would love to hear about them in the comments!!!

Yours In Health,



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I'm Kristine Fretwell, busy mom of 2 little girls, author, blogger, and former pro fitness competitor. I love almost any kind of cookie, anything coconut or pumpkin flavored, and Thai food. A perfect day for me is enjoying my family, getting to the gym, and whipping up a new healthy recipe. I've got a collection of over 300 healthy recipes, and other tidbits like fitness and health tips. My recipes have been featured on websites such as Huffington Post, Savvy Mom, Shape and Skinny Scoop.
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  • Guest

    “…trying to sabotage you by coaxing you to eat something unhealthy.” Seriously, pull your head out for a moment. If you are at a social event people are offering you junk food as that is usually what is available and if they know you are on a regime they are offering because they want you to relax, to have a bite, to enjoy it and feel more comfortable. Actively sabotaging, oh my! It is a simple case of saying no or as you mentioned further down bring your own food because chances are most people will not know what you are or are not eating.

    • Guest

      Let me just add…. 
      “Don’t ever think you can nag your partner into eating healthy and exercising.  Its not going to happen.  I would use the approach of saying how happy and great you feel, and maybe they will re-think it.  I bet they will eventually want to feel the same!  If they aren’t on board with exercising, do it on your own time.”
      How about you let them eat unhealthy? You are choosing the healthy lifestyle and they can like it or lump it. How about they offer you junk food all the time and how great it makes them feel, maybe you will re-think it? One of the most hypocritical articles I have read, you should follow your own advice…
      “You don’t have to preach, simply do it for yourself, don’t make a big deal out of it, and hope they follow your lead!”

  • Krista

    Great post, Kristine! I’m hoping over to check out the 50 recipes, so glad you shared them. 🙂

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