Monday, June 14, 2010

Peer Pressure and Brutal Bridesmaids

This past week, a 16 year old American sailor activated a distress signal from the middle of the Indian Ocean. This emergency beacon told others she was in trouble and in need of help. Abby Sunderland has since been rescued and is well aboard a French fishing boat. A couple of days after Abby’s cry for help one of my nutrition clients activated her own distress signal. Though perhaps not fearing for her life, I’ll let you be the judge, this devoted Foodtrainers client was trapped in a sea of belligerent bridesmaids at a bachelorette party weekend.

Her email sent to me on Saturday night follows:

I need some help these girls are brutal, some quotes:
This morning, bagels all around. No other options. I passed for my protein bar.
Me: wow those bagels look good
Bridesmaid 1: you should eat one, you're on vacation, and it doesn't count
Me: no thanks, I'm going to be good. (Proudly) I haven't had a bagel since January!
Bridesmaid 1: oh please all the other shit you ate last night, way worse
Me: speak for yourself (I didn't snack or drink at all)
Bridesmaid 1: yeah, I watched you shove that sausage down your throat, that's way worse than a bage
*Note: I did eat one, 3" turkey sausage over mixed green salad, no dressing...Seriously though??

Ordering apps at dinner
Me: wow these apps look good
Bridesmaid 2: this diet you’re on is unhealthy
Me: well I feel like I'm making healthy choices; it’s just that everything looks so good
Bridesmaid 2 (yelling): well I think its fucking ridiculous and mentally unhealthy
Me (calmly): yea well you don't have my problem, can you please stop
Bridesmaid 2: whatever

On passing on potato skins
Me: no thanks
Bridesmaid 3, pointing to the plate: this area doesn't have bacon
Me: no thanks
Bridesmaid 3: is it you don't like bacon or can't have bacon, because I would think there are a lot of worse things u can have than bacon...
Me: I don't like bacon
Bridesmaid 4 (in an extremely rude tone): I highly doubt you will BLOW up if you have ONE BITE, seriously?
Me: (shocked, I had no comment for that one, but I might cry)

I just need some moral support, these are just a few of the harsher comments, but it’s been non-stop since I got here. Never mind the peer pressure over not drinking during the day (it’s been going on since mimosas at breakfast) WTF?! Lauren - don't put this on your blog LOL (she since gave me permission).

Peer pressure certainly doesn’t end in high school. It exists for adults and can take many forms. Generally peer pressure has less to do with not partaking in a certain food, drink, drug or trip than how your refusal, of whatever it is, makes the others feel. While this email was particularly detailed (and amusing) I hear versions of this from other clients both male and female, young and old. A few pointers for peer pressure:
  • Don’t call attention to what you are doing. While my client, we’ll call her B (for bridesmaid) was complimenting the food and not being negative her “that looks good” may have alerted others that she wasn’t eating it. Simply having the protein bar for breakfast may have been more discrete.
  • Make an excuse. Instead of saying “I never eat food x, it’s unhealthy and terrible for you.” Say “I’ve been working out hard” or “food x doesn’t really agree with me.” You only need the excuses if questioned. I feel if someone can put you on the spot, you can fudge things a bit.
  • Plate it. In many situations a good strategy is to take some of the bagels or potato skins or whatever food others are eating on your plate. I’ve found people notice if you pass on something but do not notice if you don’t finish (or even start) it. Sure, this is a little risky for the person trying to lose weight.
  • Pick 1 treat a week. Although it may not seem the case from B’s report above, Most Foodtrainers clients feel they can survive any eating situation. They have budgets for carbs and alcohol and can plan to use these throughout the week. Clients also have one treat a week. If you are away and know there will be fried clams or birthday cake or anything else not Foodtrainers-approved clients can partake when appropriate. It’s sometimes easier to refuse one thing when you are indulging in another.
  • And finally, don’t eat to please others. If you have a bagel or bacon or loaded potato skin it should be because you want to eat it and it looks good to you, not because others say “it doesn’t count.”
And what was my reply to B Saturday night? I told her to say strong. I also said “in my professional opinion you should have a shot of tequila (no sweet mixers) and go for a run in the morning." Sure enough, B sent me the photo above she snapped during her run. And if you look closely enough you can see where she pushed bridesmaids 1, 2 and 3 off the cliff. Like Abby Sunderland, B is now safe and sound and happy to be at work eating a salad.

Stay tuned (and sign up if you haven’t) for our June newsletter where we announce a very exciting way all of you can activate food-related distress signals and have Foodtrainers come to your rescue!
Have you experienced food-related peer pressure? How do you handle it? Any amusing anecdotes to share?


  1. This does sound particularly amusing now, but it really didn't seem so at the time (as witnessed by the fact that the email was written while I was sitting AT dinner with 15 ladies on Saturday night). Great tip to 'not call attention to what you are doing'. I've recently been trying to be open and honest with my friends and family about my meal plan & workout schedule, so they can be supportive and help keep me on track, but clearly that needs to be reserved for just the closest friends and family... Thanks for all the moral support and for the one-night pass to take a tequila shot :-D. Sincerely, B

  2. Excellent recs Lauren...Sad she felt so attacked - I think people do this when they are feeling insecure with their own decisions! Having a game plan in situations like this is so helpful. Thanks!

  3. Ah, take out "bridesmaids" and replace that with "family members" and you've just described my otherwise outstanding family vacation to Hawaii. It's hard for me, as a foodie, to travel with people who aren't adventurous or healthy about their food. I wanted to eat fresh and local foods, my midwestern family members actually traveled with their own bacon and sausage! It's also hard for me to keep my big mouth shut about food, so I didn't follow the "don't draw attention to what you are doing" advice. I'm saving this particular blog entry for my next family trip, when all of these situations will arise again.

  4. sounds like the other Bs (possibly bitches rather than bridesmaids) want to make sure all eyes wont be on the one who looks the best in her bridesmaids dress! Kudos for the willpower!! My problem is that if the food ends up on my plate, it will undoubtedly wind up in my mouth....but have resorted to the "it doesn't agree with me" line more than once in similar situations. So unfortunate when close friends and family members don't give needed support!!

  5. I have to say most of my friends and family have been pretty supportive and have actually come to me for tips..but everyone has a a dinner the other night I ordered salmon and asked for the grilled asparagus instead of rice (because I LOVE salmon and asparagus and don't like rice). My frenemy rolled her eyes and said that I was annoying and that I did not really look like I lost 20 lbs...then I remembered why I don't see her often!

  6. The women didn't want to be reminded of their own binging so they projected their discontent upon your client's healthy food choices. I love your "plating" suggestion. At least that would've gotten them to shut up. Also, they sound like insecure, horrible people.

  7. Gee-whiz! Glad I wasn't in that wedding! Sounds like a bunch of mean girls. It is sad when other people are so UNself-aware that they bully the people around them. I actually have a big problem with people who comment on other people's food choices. Why is that socially acceptible? I compare it to commenting on weight or marital status or any number of things that are deeply personal. Food is something that goes in one's body and thus is incredibly intimate. If someone is trying to lose weight, they might be struggling already with abstaining, how mean to make them fail. Or, perhaps they are suffering from disordered eating, or maybe they are recovering from disordered eating, maybe they have an alergy, maybe that food will make them crap their pants (me with MSG). It's just insanely rude to impose your views on someone elses plate. I would never, unless asked, offer my opinions of other's meals. If asked, I am happy to oblige. Otherwise, to each her own!