If you’re suddenly feeling super awesome because you’re getting outside everyday and eating greens with every meal, I’m sure you want to sing kale’s praises from the rooftops. Everybody should know how easy it is to feel this good!
But we’ve all had that one friend who never stops talking about how great her diet is, and sometimes that makes everyone else at the table feel like they’re crappy people. Nobody likes to be told they are “doing it wrong.” It’s really important to share what you’re up to with your friends, but it’s even more important to share it in a way that doesn’t make them wrong for still eating fro-yo and noodles.
How To Use Peer Pressure for Good
Peer pressure works (remember high school?), and here’s how it can work for good. Let’s say that you stopped eating dairy a while ago and you haven’t gotten a zit in months. You think that’s super awesome, so you share your experience with your friends. Most of the girls at the table say they could never give up cheese and, well, what is coffee without cream? But one friend inwardly lights up. She’s been reading all about how to clear up her skin and she feels like she’s tried everything, but hasn’t had the guts to change her diet. Your experience gives her the extra bit of confidence she needs to test out a dairy-free diet.
Or let’s say you and your friends are deciding where to go for dinner. Everybody seems excited about pizza, so it takes courage to say that pizza doesn’t really work for you because it’s kind of lame without cheese. By voicing your dissent, you give another friend the opportunity to mention that, actually, she’s trying to avoid wheat because her digestion has been really off. She was feeling shy about saying anything, but your courage inspired her.
Present New Possibilities
There’s also the possibility that your friends simply don’t know what’s possible. If you can gently and lovingly share your experience of life without dairy, you could be introducing them to the very foundational concept that food affects how we feel. They might not know that certain foods can exacerbate acne, anxiety, eczema, and even period cramps. While it’s not your responsibility to convert your friends, it’s very cool to show them that there is more than one way to eat.
How To Share Your New Healthy Lifestyle
Okay, so now that you understand how important it is to share your healthy lifestyle changes with your friends, how do you do it without sounding like a preachy jerk?
First, share what it was like for you before you made these healthy changes.
You don’t have to go into the graphic details, but mention that your stomach always felt unsettled and how you got a stuffy nose so often. Maybe you had less energy in the morning or your skin was always angry and red.
Then, talk about the process.
Tell your friends where you got your info (hint, hint, nudge, nudge) and what it was like for you to start making different choices. Changing your diet is never as easy as it looks on Instagram, so share your challenges and the strategies that worked for you. Tell them how many times you “fell off the wagon” and how you sweet-talked yourself over each hurdle.
Finally, talk about how awesome it is for you now—but be real.
Share the specific benefits that you notice: “I’m not nauseous anymore, I only get a few pimples around my period, my nose isn’t as stuffy and my digestion is spot on.”
And that’s it. Just share your experience, let them know where to get more info, and answer any questions they have. Try your best not to use the word “should” (or “would,” or “could,” for that matter).
Good luck sharing your healthy lifestyle! If you want to join a lady tribe who are psyched to talk about healthy choices for body and mind, check out Love Yr Body, Love Yr Self, my online group coaching program for young women.