Without sounding selfish, one thing to remember in this world is that the most important person in your life is you.  Obviously, there’s our children and our family but treating yourself with respect makes you a stronger person and one who can lead and influence.

Where am I going with this?  Let me explain.

Say you’re on a health and fitness journey (with a bit of luck you’ll never actually be off it) and you want to focus on it better, tighten up your food, nail the exercise and generally get some results.  Without distraction. However, you still want to have a life and it’s the Book Club night out.  With a will of iron you stick to the low alcohol beers, eat steak, half the sweet potato wedges, a large salad and a mint tea.  You’re done, you’ve had a good time and you’re proud of yourself.  Except for one grating annoyance.  A few of your party feel ever so slightly miffed that you are not ‘joining in’, that you’re ‘no fun’ (despite feeling that you’ve been the one guffawing the loudest and not playing the tee-total wallflower at all). The fact is, all your wonderful willpower is doing is shining a light on their misgivings.

While that might sound harsh, this is the mindset you should adopt, without actually saying so.  Knowing that you have survived (nay, enjoyed) an evening without booze and still remained in line with your goals, is worth at least 6 smug points (we aim for at least 10 in a day!). They too would like to be as strong and motivated as you but they’re not. Once you’re rocking the size 12 trousers in two months’ time (down from a big 14), you’ll start to hear “Don’t be losing too much, you’ll look gaunt”  or “ Go on, have another slice of cake…who’s to know?”.  Don’t succumb to ‘people pleasing’ in order to gain approval.  Efforts at self-improvement (because that’s what you’re …very admirably…doing) deserves strength in the face of other people’s judgements. Remember, you do you.

A familiar situation is that of the ‘feeder’.  People who get satisfaction from seeing others stuff their faces while they nibble at a small plateful and look on with glee.  Some find it very difficult to refuse food as they feel they’re causing upset.  Stand your ground and say “Thank you I’m full” It’s very easy.  Quash that need to please them.  Please yourself instead.

(originally written for Woman magazine June 2022)

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