Thursday, 26 March 2015


Healthy eating - healthy recipiesMy mother in law visited us for five weeks. During this time she has lost about 9-11 lbs (4-5 kg) and I gained about 3-4 lbs (1-2 kg). Our so different eating habits met here in our house, and this is the result. Well, this proves how important is the effect of others eating habits to ours.
But what did I do wrong? What I should have done to avoid this?

What is on others plates?

I know it is my fault. I decide what and how much to eat. However the temptation is sometimes stronger than my will. I really admire my husband. He has got a strong self-control, he knows when he has to stop eating and he stops. He also knows what he should not eat, and then he just says: "thank you, not for me".

Oh, I wish I would be like him, but no. I am weak, I need all my strength to stop myself eating when delicious food is on the table. The only solution for me when I just close out temptation all together from my life.

So yes, I know it is my fault. I should just ignore what is on others' plate. It is just simple as this. Or not?

If others eat this, I should eat this too!

We are prone to think that we decide what and how much to eat. However researches proved that we are effected by others eating behaviour more than we would think. Seeing others food choices, portion sizes or eating habits - consciously or unconsciously - influence our choices. If s/he can have it, I can have it too. Our basic needs to fit in socially and this is reflected in our food choices when we are in company.
So what did I wrong?

Or the question is rather: what did I differently  during the last five weeks?

Well, I put together meal plans as always - and prepared healthy balanced meals as always... - nearly. As yes, I changed something. As my mother-in-law usually eats more carb and less veg and fruit than us - I served food for her with a bit more carb - like more bread and potato. Obviously, we eat more carb, than usually. 

The other thing, that biscuits turned up in our house, as she drinks 2-3 cups of coffee a day and these are accompanied with small biscuits. Of course, I joined into the fun at least once a day.

She also cooked a couple of times. It has been a great opportunity for her (and for us :-)) to cook my husband's favourite childhood meals. This is understandable, isn't? These meals could not be called healthy or low-fat, but this happened just a couple of times.

I also cooked meals for her wish a couple of times - like my apple crumble, as I wanted to please her. (Hey, she is my mother-in-law, I like to see her happy :-)) These meals were rather on the healthy side, but they were divergences from our usual meal plan anyway.

So, tiny little things added up. I personally should have been able to avoid these and keep my diet in the usual flow. Well, I thought I was in control, but apparently I wasn't.
That's okay, that I offered her what she likes, but I shouldn't eat the same. 

And here comes the psychology

And here comes the psychology. Conscientiously or conscientiously I was affected by her eating habits I allowed myself to eat more, and the proportion of carbohydrate-protein-fat in my diet was shifted. I joined her to drink a cup of coffee (with some biscuits) after lunch because - it was just lovely to have a drink and a little chat with someone...

Eating/drinking very often a social activity in our life - we want to fit in and this social need drives our choice what, when and how much we eat/drink.

In other words, it does count that what are the eating behaviour of people around us  - like friends and family. These seemingly unimportant human attitudes in our environment can risk or support our success to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Is it possible to isolate our eating behaviours from others?

The answer is no, - and even if it were possible it would not be any good for us socially and spiritually.
Researchers proved that if people around us make unhealthy choices we are prone to copy them - even when we alone.

But we cannot just replace our friends because they eat unhealthy food!

The best what we can do, if we share our weight loss plans with our friends and family and ask for their support.
Also, we can try to organise social events which are not about sitting around the table. So instead of having a meal with our friends, better to invite them for a walk in the park, for a darts championship in our garden or for a long chat in the leisure pool or sauna.... ideas are endless really.

Can we make a difference in the eating behaviour of people around us?

And if you wonder was my mother-in-law happy during her visit?

Yes, she was. She liked the food and she was really pleased because without any extra effort and misery she managed to loose 9-11 lbs in five weeks. So, yes, it works other way around too: our healthier eating have a positive impact on our friends and families too.

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