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Using Peer Pressure to my Advantage

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Because I travel for my job, I eat lots and lots of meals in restaurants with my co-workers. I recently went on a week and half long trip where three meals a day were eaten in the company of my co-workers. I continue to be amazed by the number of comments I get from others about the way I eat. My theory is that people are happier when things stay the same. So when I first made the change to “eating healthy” just over two years ago, the people around me had a lot to say about it. Now that they are used to seeing me eat that way, their comments serve to keep me focused on my goals.

For instance, everyone knows by now that I don’t eat the bread that’s served in the restaurant, and if the bread basked is placed in front of me, I will move it. Now, I don’t even have to bother anymore. When the breadbasket comes, my coworkers keep it away from me with a comment along the lines of “everyone knows Kellee doesn’t eat the bread”. It strikes me that if I ever DID want to have a piece of bread, I would have to face peer pressure to get it. The same comments that made it difficult for me to make this change in the first place would now make it harder for me to take up unhealthy habits. I love it!

My co-workers expect me to order the healthiest thing on the menu, and they are always curious what I will choose. Last week at a large group dinner, we had only two choices, steak or fish. Everyone assumed I would order the fish. They were shocked when I ordered the filet mignon. I explained that the fish was coated in macadamia nuts, which sounded like it would be a high calorie choice When the meal came, I only ate about 3 ounces of the beef. I ate the veggies that came with the meal, no potato or bread. Everyone relaxed.

When we sat down to a group dinner at 7:45, a coworker reminded me that I had a rule that I don’t eat after 8pm. When I was faced with a buffet that had fried chicken as the only protein source, people watched to make sure I removed the skin before eating it. No matter how good that dessert tray looks, I’d better not get one or I will have to explain myself!!

One thing my peer-pressuring coworkers continue to point out is that my daily Diet Coke habit is not consistent with my healthy lifestyle. And they’re right. So with any luck, this peer pressure from my coworkers will ultimately help me to give up this bad habit.

Honestly, the level of scrutiny and interest and comments about what I eat sometimes gets on my nerves. But usually I don’t mind, and I do think it works in my favor now that people are used to seeing me make good choices and expect me to continue to do so.

My plan is to let this peer pressure work in my favor!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • GLMOM2
    Keep up the emoticon work!

    emoticon on spreading the spark. By making healthy choices & showing others you can still eat out, have a good time but still eat healthy. Just means you are out doesn't mean you have to eat the unhealthy foods off the menu.

    Good work!

    3187 days ago
  • BD3269PM
    Whatever it takes! Look at how successful you are. People now expect you to act healthier. Maybe, just maybe some of it will rub off on them emoticon
    3187 days ago
    That's too funny but I can imagine that it would get annoying too. The big question is Has your healthy habits rubbed off on any of your co-workers?

    One of my friends says that she enjoys going out to eat with me because my choices make it easier for her to choose the healthy option.

    3187 days ago
    Great blog! Loved reading this and hearing about the positive changes that have happened among you and your coworkers. I am lucky that my youngest daughter is watching me and telling mom that McDonalds isn't the best choice and that soft drinks aren't healthy.

    Are you finding that your coworkers are asking for advice?

    Thanks again for sharing!
    3195 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/12/2012 11:50:51 PM
    I can see how the peer pressure would be helpful in terms of keeping you on track, but I think I'd eventually want to just tell everyone to butt out if it was me. :) You must be much more patient and laid-back than I am (I am SUPER high-maintenance)....so way to go!! It's pretty cool that you can use this to your advantage.
    3195 days ago
    Actually...this falls right in line with something I read today on Spark. In the article about the 5 things the 5% do (those who maintain their loss)...one of the 5 things was "making it public." When people know what you are doing...you will be more likely to stick with it...I guess it's because of what you are experiencing..."good" peer pressure. Hope you had a good weekend and are ready for a great week. Keep up the good work! Thanks for the encouragement! Spark on! emoticon emoticon
    3195 days ago
    Peer pressure can definitely be a good thing when it's for a favorable outcome. I hope that they'll convince you to nix the Diet Coke, and I also hope that they'll eventually learn from your excellent example and follow in your footsteps!
    3202 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7773457
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3202 days ago
  • SAMI199
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3202 days ago
    Wow! I'd say you have a great bunch of co-workers!
    3202 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12854606
    That is a great plan. Good way to turn it around. I have to be honest though- they would get on my last nerve. It seems to me it is a great exercise in patience. Keep up the excellent work. Eating out so much is very hard and you have been handling it well.
    3202 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1923850
    It's awesome that something that was a struggle at the beginning of your journey has turned into such a help. Good luck in the future.
    3203 days ago
    That's an awesome plan! Definitely turn every negative into a positive. emoticon
    3203 days ago
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