There comes a point in everyone’s health journey when they are trying to make more serious changes and their friends, family, and colleagues try to peer pressure them to enjoy a plate of pork rinds, nachos, and a bucket of cheese. The comments are generally the same and are normally conveyed in a derogatory or sarcastic tone. Congratulations, you are experiencing peer pressure.
When you just finish ordering that big ass salad and your friend follows it up with the brontosaurus burger and fries, you know you are going to get the “c’mon man, live a little” pitch.
Why the Peer Pressure?
Guilt is normally one of the reasons. The fact that you are trying to better yourself is another one. Very few people enjoy seeing others succeed, unless they are succeeding right along with them. It’s human nature. Like crabs in a bucket, when one tries to climb out to freedom, another one reaches up and drags him back in.
But what is “living” really? Dictionary.com describes it as “having life, being alive; not dead”; “in its natural state and place, not uprooted, changed”.
So using the word “live” when you are about to chow down on a microwaved plate of dry ribs is actually one of the greatest oxymoron’s you will ever witness. You could probably get more nutrition from teachers chalk (if anyone has the two nutritional profiles, please post in the comment section).
See, life definitely means something different to everybody, so to assume that your idea of living is the same as someone else’s is misdirected. In fact, I would argue that “living” would be the act of eating and drinking other things with life. Unfortunately, most things we consume today have been dead longer than Keith Richard’s liver.
So, what do you say to those comments? How do you handle the urban myths of the marathon runner who ate nothing but nature’s goodness their entire life only to drop dead at the age of 55? What do you say to the standard party line of you could get hit by a bus tomorrow?
I can tell you what I’d say and it would go something like this – “Why do you care? If you are living life to the fullest, and are happy with your decisions and I am with mine, why can’t you just be happy for me?”
The answer that you will never hear is that they are not happy with their life, and they are not happy you are trying to improve yours without them. Or perhaps they are concerned that all this healthy living is bad for you. In that case they are just plain uneducated.
Now, let’s deal with the bus comment. This statement is moronic for 3 good reasons: 1) They assume that if we got hit by a bus that we haven’t lived life in their definition of the word, aka as their way. 2) I have control of the things I choose to put in my mouth, whereas an out of control speeding bus is relatively impossible to stop unless you are Keanu Reeves. 3) The odds of getting hit by a bus are about as likely as Charlie Sheen getting nominated for Humanitarian of the Year Award.
So why use that argument? Well, when you have a bad hand you are still forced to play your bad cards. There’s no hiding from the fact that you really have nothing’.
So take heart that you are doing the right thing and know the journey only gets easier. At some point your “friends” will either get closer because they truly want to see you succeed, or they will get farther away in which case they were never really friends anyways.
In the end, do you want a bunch of friends and family standing beside your deathbed at the ripe age of 57, or would you rather be out golfing and enjoying time with your great great grandson at 97?
I believe true health is worth all the effort and every penny. It will pay you back a dividend over an entire lifetime and you will never be screwed by making the decision. Don’t let peer pressure ruin that.
That’s better than Wall Street can do, and how many winners have they chosen lately?
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