From Pulp Fiction:
Mia: In a conversation, do you listen or wait to talk?
Vincent: (pauses, thinking deeply) I wait to talk — but I’m trying to listen.
Over the coming week or two, you are likely to spend extended time with extended family. For many of us, this can be a recipe for stress, but if you can navigate around a couple of common landmines, it can be fantastic.
What landmines am I talking about? No, not money, religion, or politics. I’m talking about your burning desire to share fitness and dietary advice.
Maybe you are having a lot of success with Paleo, or you are eager to talk about your newly visible abs – however it might be a good idea to carefully consider how best to introduce those topics.
President Truman once said:
“The best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.”
I’m not suggesting that your relatives are children, but the quote above seems spot-on. The trick is asking the right questions and figuring out what the other person wants BEFORE you offer your opinions.
From my experience, finding an opportunity to talk with someone about their issues usually begins with them noticing or expressing interest in what you are doing. Maybe you skipped the bread or dessert at a meal, or your made time to head to the gym. But, rather than having a conversation about YOU and why things are going your way, you need some intelligence about them.
- Are they trying to reduce or eliminate prescription medicines?
- Are they stressed and looking for more energy?
- Maybe they know they want to eat “healthier” but don’t realize how to do so cheaply and without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
- Do they have a specific fitness or weight goal they are trying to reach?
- Maybe they are concerned about their future health?
With a little bit of insight, you should be in a better position to share some of your own opinions and ideas, but remember, don’t preach. The initial advice might be as simple as offering a link to a website like Mark’s Daily Apple, or perhaps they might benefit from something more structured like Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Total Transformation (affiliate link).
Just stay focused squarely on the needs of your family member, and you will be golden!
What guidance do you guys have in talking with family about diet, health, and fitness?
Photo credit: Jennie Faber