“My family is really unhealthy. They don’t believe what they eat affects their health. What can I do to help them? “
–Frustrated in Washington
Dr Allegra says….
Many people come to this awareness during holiday gatherings. It can be very disconcerting to see your family’s health degrade rapidly. It’s sad to watch your friends and family continue to make horrible food and lifestyle choices, then hear them vehemently defend their actions. This is where many family fights begin.
However painful it might be to watch your friends and family become more sick, there is nothing you can do if they are unwilling to change their habits.
Once you understand you cannot control their health, this opens you up to understanding that you can only live by example. This means you must walk the path that heads toward good health and away from poor lifestyle choices.
I know this sounds very disheartening, but the thing I want you to understand is that your family’s and friend’s health reflects your possible health in the future.
In regards to your family, you share not only genetic predisposition but also habits that were cultivated during childhood. In regards to your friends, you likely share similar lifestyle habits and values.
The good news is, lifestyle habits and diet play a larger role in your health through your life. We have learned that diet and lifestyle can determine how genes are expressed in your body. So your food and lifestyle choices can be your best defense or your worst enemy.
When you become healthier, people around you will wonder what you’re doing. If they are actually interested in being healthy they’ll ask you what you’re doing and this is when you get to share your health recommendations.
Telling people that what they’re doing is wrong is a really quick way to get them to stop listening to you. If you truly want to make change in your family health, better choices have to start with you.
Make a commitment to eat better. Bring healthy dishes to family gatherings and share them. Don’t go off on a tangent about why these foods are so much better for them but merely say “Hey, I really enjoy this dish and I hope you like it too.”
Make a commitment to move your body more frequently. Regular exercise is essential to building health on all levels, mental and physical. When you are visiting family, you can invite them to go for a walk with you, to the park, or the gym. Invite them without pressure but make sure you go and do that activity regardless of whether or not they choose to join you.
Your actions, and their results, are always the best teacher.
Ultimately, you must understand that they may never change. And that’s okay. Unfortunate, yes, but okay. Connect in a positive way so you can boost the quality of life of everyone with whom you have the honor to interact.
Living a healthier life and actively setting a positive example is your best approach to lay the foundation for a healthier family.
If you have a question for Dr. Allegra you would like considered, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “The Doctor Is In Question”.
ABOUT DR. ALLEGRA
Dr. Allegra Hart is a naturopathic physician, speaker, bestselling author of Nourishing Space Within: Essentials of Self-Care, founder of Naturae Naturopathic Clinic and Dr. Allegra’s Apothecary, and works with patients worldwide.
Dr. Allegra specializes in helping women cultivate natural self-care and rebuild their health from the inside out. When we do the work necessary to create a healing foundation of our own, the ripple effect will inevitably ignite others to do the same.