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Are You Eating Just to Fit In?

By MELISSA COSTELLO

Let's face it: Eating healthy in social situations can be uncomfortable and occasionally downright difficult.

Eating to Fit In

Some people will sabotage healthy eating efforts when they're around others because they don't want to feel judged. Or they're afraid to ask for what they need, so they just accept what is available.

There may also be times when we don't want to hurt someone's feelings by not eating the food they've prepared, even when it's not in alignment with our health values. Instead we will give in and then pay for it later because we went against our own standards. I've worked with hundreds of clients who would just as soon chuck their healthy habits out the window as risk being a social pariah.

I've been experimenting with different ways of eating for most of my life. I've often come across people who are either very curious about what I am eating or very judgmental about my choices. More often than not, I've felt like a freak because of how I eat or what I choose not to eat.

When I tell someone I don't eat meat or dairy, they look at me as if I have five heads. What I have come to learn over many years and many uncomfortable moments is that this reaction has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. All I can do is be myself and lead by example.

Believe me, I know that eating healthy is not always easy, convenient or accessible. But people who are committed to it know how much more fulfilling it is to stick to their guns than it is to follow the herd.

Here are some tips on how to stay on a healthy eating track, no matter what the situation:

1. When going to a friend's house for dinner, call the host beforehand and explain your situation. Don't be apologetic, but do offer to bring something. Your host may be open to making something if you just tell them what you need. You can even go early and help them cook.

2. When going to social events, prepare yourself by eating beforehand if it's a cocktail party. If you don't want to drink and are concerned about others making fun of you, have a glass of sparkling water in a pretty glass with a squeeze of lime. Remember, you don't have to explain anything to anyone.

3. When eating at a restaurant, do your research. Call ahead and see if they will (or can) accommodate you. Most restaurants will make changes for people with special diets and allergies, so ask for what you need and do your best not to care what others think about you ordering special food. I guarantee your dish will taste and look better than all the others.

4. Remember that eating healthy is a commitment to yourself and no one else. Are you committed to yourself or are you committed to making a choice based on what someone else will think about you?

Stay true to yourself and your path and I can guarantee that people will want to know more when they experience your healthy radiance and lightness.

--Melissa

Readers -- Do you ever find yourself eating something just because everyone else is? Is it hard to stick to healthy eating habits around family and friends? How do you eat healthy in social situations? Do you ask for foods that fit your diet at restaurants? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Melissa Costello, the founder of Karma Chow, is a certified nutritionist, author and celebrity chef and cleanse expert. Melissa is the author of The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook and Clean in 14 Detox, a food-based cleansing program designed to help you adopt healthy eating. She regularly contributes to national publications, such as Women’s Health and Shape magazine. She has appeared on Better Life TV, San Diego Living and TV Guide’s Secrets of the Hollywood Body.

To learn more about Karma Chow and Melissa’s services, visit the website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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