Peer pressure: alive and well
Posted: Wednesday, Jul. 25, 2012
Photo by: Nathan Abplanalp Photography
Alyn Wharmby is an Ohio native turned middle school teacher and graduate student, currently earning a degree in School Administration at UNC Charlotte. She is beginning her new life with fiance Erik and chihuahua Bella on July 13, 2013. Contact Alyn here.
Anyone who told you that peer pressure ends after middle school doesnt spend enough time eating with friends. Peer pressure is alive and well, and rampant in the world of food and drink. I subconsciously know that it shouldnt bother me, but I constantly find myself surrounded with people who insist that I Eat! or who question, Why arent you drinking tonight?In my self-deprecating mind, it seems that every time someone questions my choice (or lack) of food or drink, they are calling me a Debbie Downer. Sometimes, they actually are mocking my sense of fun and adventure. Oh, you dont want to partake in all the appetizers? Youre not drinking? Not even a glass of wine? Wheres your plate? All guilt-inducing comments that make me feel like Im not partaking in the spirit of an event. Peer pressure! For most, these insignificant comments are just haphazardly thrown around but for the person on a diet, or who is very conscious of what is going into their body, they mean a lot. People with food allergies must understand where Im coming from. Its hard to say no, even when you know how badly it will affect you. I was raised eating anything put in front of me. You will try it and you will like it. This is okay with me. I love that I can enjoy almost any flavor, and that Ill taste just about anything. In living a healthy lifestyle, however, I dont believe that Im obligated to clear my plate or try everything on a given menu.Yes, even when Aunt So-and-So makes her famous you-know-what for special event XYZ. If it is chock-full of complex carbs, cheese and calories -- Im not obligated to have a serving. Just because its your birthday doesnt mean I have to have a 350 calorie margarita and a piece of chocolate cake with homemade buttercream. Ill buy you a card and have a salad, thanks! One of my solutions to this problem? Dinner out (even at a friends) means a doggy-bag. A doggy-bag says, I enjoyed the meal, and will enjoy it even more without going overboard.I know some people get the box at the beginning of the meal and pack up what they dont want to eat. Me? I try to listen to my body. Sometimes I have to stop and take a breath and ask myself if I am full. Its easy to get involved in the flavors and textures of a meal and eat until youre bursting at the seams. Its much harder to stop and pack that take-home container. The food is rarely as good the second time around, and if youre like me, your fiancé swipes and eats any leftovers that make it home to the fridge. Its easy to never say, No, thank you, and have a heaping helping of everything being served. Its easy to clean your plate.Take the road less traveled with me this week. Well practice saying no and packing a doggy-bag. Our love handles will thank us for it!
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