Plenty of us who regularly read blogs or any other platforms regarding food, fitness, exercise, diet, spirituality, wellness and everything else that encompasses health have undergone some kind of revelation in those fields. Either we’ve aimed to lose weight, suffered from eating disorders, discovered an underlying fatal health problem in our bodies, or basically found a distinct love for health and fitness in some way. Regardless of our journeys, we somehow encountered a need for some need of social support, whether from our family, friends and loved ones.
It’s important to know that the movement of passionate health and fitness fanatics continues to sweep more people under its belt. The rate of gym memberships, yoga and SoulCycle sign-ups are accelerating by the minute. The media constantly showcases celebrities’ best fitness and diet tips for looking lean on the red carpet. Grocery stores now carry more superfoods, health-conscious labels and cleaner alternatives to your old foodie fiends. Restaurants everywhere are implementing calorie counters, cleaner cooking methods, allergen-friendly options and healthy ingredients in their menus. Just look online and you’ll find millions of healthy chefs, lifters, runners, yogis, personal trainers, models, bloggers, nutritionists, authors and YouTubers all around the globe who live and breathe both of them.
Despite that being so, living healthily is a pretty foreign topic to most. A study published by Oregon State University revealed that the majority of U.S. adults fail to follow and/or know the basics of healthy living! Shocking, right?! It seems that many are still sticking to their old ways that don’t pay much attention to health and vitality, which include sitting all day at work or on the couch with the television on, all with a bunch of not-so-good snacks or meals without much thought.
Now here’s my story on how I got my family to accept my fitness endeavors. When I first began my journey to start losing weight, I drowned myself in the ocean of health and fitness Tumblrs, videos and websites, hence planting my passion for this industry. I learned the anatomy of a gym, every single ab/glute/arm/oblique/back/chest workout ever invented, weight loss secrets, and the latest superfoods of the time such as olive oil, sweet potatoes, quinoa, kale, chia seeds, salmon, almond butter, cinnamon, bananas, eggs and oatmeal. Finding creative recipes and fun workout videos gave me so much life that everyone else began to see it.
I was so fortunate to have my father rooting for me by my side the entire way. As I emphasized in my YouTube video “My Story”, he first introduced me to health and fitness. I’d use the treadmill five to seven days a week and accompany him during his P90X DVD workouts every other night. My passion eventually outgrew his regimen as I immersed myself more in this way of living. It made sense since I was still a young girl who had all the time in the world to do so in comparison to my dad’s limited block of time that he could spare aside from his work. But I have my dad to thank for everything. He has always been my top cheerleader for my whole life since we connect on a very emotional level.
My mother and my sisters were not as avid in my quest for confidence, but still acknowledged that I wanted to take care of myself. That absolutely does not mean I loved them any less, but it simply means that they were less active in my personal weight loss process. With that being said, I simply just led by example. My green smoothies seemed totally foreign to their buttered toasts and bagels, and their mouths gapped when they saw that I’d pass on the white rice at dinner time. But little did I know that their toasts and bagels became seeded whole wheat loaves and multi-grain or sprouted English muffins. The butter became avocados. My middle sister actually told me one day that she found my dedication to my lifestyle was inspiring, and she started to follow my footsteps into eating. As healthy as I have been, which filled my heart with a joy that’s indescribable. The baby sister had a ways to go, but she was very young and still living her youth period where any kid can get away with as much junk food as they wanted. Now, she’s doing incredibly–while she struggles with her vegetables and pizza temptations every now and then, she always consumes an adequate amount of greens, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits and protein.
Out of everyone in the family, my mother was the hardest to inspire because she’s always been the main chef of the house. Inevitably, when I suggested that she start using extra virgin olive oil instead of butter or vegetable oil, she seemed very confused. Lucky for me, I introduced a lot of healthy food items that were taking the Internet by storm, so the news caught up to her and she started taking my grocery suggestions closer to heart. Little did I know that we’d start having zucchini noodles, sweet potatoes, coconut milk, kale and quinoa avocado salads, brown rice, coconut oil, oats and even eggplants as our kitchen staples. Before I decided to become vegan, I also got everyone into egg whites and salmon (except for my dad who hates both of these), which are now two items we have weekly. Heck, we’ve even had edamame spaghetti together!
There are still plenty of my own favorite foods that most if none of my family members don’t understand completely, such as TVP, coconut flour, kabocha, protein powder and powdered peanut butter. But I simply lead by example. If they ask about anything, I give a simple but informative and direct answer and move on. When you step into this lifestyle, you need to come with the mindset and preparation for living for yourself. You are investing in your own journey to your happiness, and you shouldn’t let others’ pressure get in the way of anything.
This might sound a bit controversial, but you don’t always need anyone else’s support. When there is a will there is always a way. If your parents refuse to buy any healthy groceries, volunteer to help them go grocery shopping or simply buy your own. Your own drive and ambition will determine how willing you are to take the steps towards your goals. After freshman year when my siblings and parents became extremely busy, I rarely ever went to the gym with any of them. Same for cooking; I usually made my own meals. I don’t encourage you to isolate yourself from your social circle, but you need to accept independence in order to build confidence.
However, not everybody is as independent as I am. I totally get that some people just need some extra support to feel more inspired to continue their healthy journeys. In fact, it can actually be more beneficial that way because you can have an extra boost of motivation to workout a little harder and eat a little better, plus you’ll be spreading such a positive movement to other people around you. I swear, health is as contagious as this season’s strep throat, except you actually DON’T want to get one of them.
Below I’ve broken down the tips in a much conciser manner, but my experiences in adopting this lifestyle into my family household have shaped all of what I’ve learned and my advice that I can share for everyone who is struggling to healthify their home. It is actually very easy to accomplish your own goals and make the choices you desire when you put your mind to them.
- Open up about your goals. If your loved ones know that you want to take care of yourself, they will most likely support you. They want you to be happy with who you are and what you’re doing, so there shouldn’t be any reason that they wouldn’t try to help you. Let them know that your health is very important to you and your current state isn’t where you want to be. Whether you are unhappy with your body or your personal health, you need to be honest about why you’re motivated to take on these goals and talk to the people who you believe can make it happen with you.
- Volunteer to help out at home. When most people are going to help you, it is most considerate to give them something in return. This doesn’t go to say that people don’t help others for the sake of altruism–unless if your loved ones explicitly tell you that they don’t want you to give back, then you should show them that with these new changes, you will be capable of taking on more responsibilities. Offer to buy the groceries after school or work as an excuse to purchase your own healthy foods, maybe walk the dogs or vacuum the house a few days a week as you sneak in more exercise as well. It’s difficult to take care of a large family or group of people, so your service will only be beneficial to everyone. When you start taking care of yourself, it is that much easier to take care of those around you.
- Weave it into bonding time. Instead of grabbing ice cream with your parents or your siblings, suggest taking a walk; to manipulate the situation a bit more sneakily, let your loved ones know that you’ve found this amazing outdoor mall or beautiful park that you’ve been dying to see, or there is this hopping new restaurant you found on TV that you think everyone will love. You can even suggest taking a workout class, whether it be SoulCycle, Zumba or self-defense. I was actually so surprised as to how open my fellow college friends were to partaking in physically active get-togethers!
- Find clubs/social events in or around your area. The world is our oyster, and we usually tend to underestimate the peripheral of it. This generation is continually being flooded with new social media outlets where we can interact with all kinds of people around the globe that we can relate to! I’ve befriended so many amazing people from different countries and states because I started my blog and social media accounts; thanks to a lot of social media notifications as well as websites such as Eventbrite and Meetup, I’ve gotten so many privileges to attend incredibly exciting festivals, expos, and meet-ups that have led me to new brands and friendships. Now that I’m in college, it’s so easy to find clubs and other students who have common interests. Exchange numbers, Instagrams, YouTubes, emails, whatever your generation uses on the daily, but make sure that you’re greeting them as often as you can. If you can’t seem to maintain certain relationships from afar, then simply take the memories as treasured experiences where you could express yourself freely.
- If all else fails, lead by example. Face it, not everybody is going to agree with us. In fact, I still live out my healthy lifestyle and people look at me as if I’m living through a different culture or time zone. But ultimately YOU are making all of these choices because you care about your well-being, your future and your happiness. That is more than enough reason for you to pursue your endeavors. Once everyone sees how content you are, how easily you succeed in motivating yourself and how good you feel, then they will eventually feel to follow your footsteps sooner or later. By the way, this case actually has a little hidden gem: scientific studies and health reports are coming out on the news ALL them time, so your loved ones will easily update themselves on more reasons why they should choose to live healthily.
- BONUS – Do not EVER aggress your beliefs on everyone else. Nothing is worse than being called lazy, unmotivated, a pig, a fat ass, or all of the above. Nobody wants to be informed about cancer or heart disease directly either. Continually, studies on obesity have discovered that detrimental terms and remarks such as these will only worsen the situation. As fortunate as I was to take all of my negativity and use it as my fuel for the gym and kitchen, most people who regularly deal with weight discrimination will usually go back to their old ways because they’re too afraid of change. Remember that everybody is on their own journey to discovering new things. Health, just like politics, relationships, school, money and business, another angle of life for people to invest in, and sometimes it takes a while or a snap for them to process the importance of it. Be a role model or a supporter for those around you through compassion. Anything opposing this will come off as hatred or arrogance.
While those are my personal tips on how I’ve accomplished spreading health and fitness to my loved ones successfully, I know that there are so many other methods to do so. Please let me know in the comments below what you have done to share wholesome living in your social circles, or if you can relate to anything I’ve listed up here! As always, have a wonderful week, and don’t forget to share a smile today! ❤
Do you have a large support system for your healthy living? What are you best tips for making changes?