My assumption is that you value your health and the health of those you care about. You want to share what you’ve learned from your own experience, and perhaps even encourage them not to make the mistakes you've made. If you’ve tried to persuade anyone to eat healthy, it’s very likely that you have said one of the following statements.
1. You will be really healthy.
2. You will love longer.
3. You will have the ideal weight and look great.
4. Don’t eat that food because it’s bad for you. You are what you eat. Garbage in, garbage out.
5. There is irrefutable scientific proof that says my nutritional approach is “right.”
If you read any popular nutrition or diet book, the expert will very likely give you some version of the above. Yes, there are some nuggets of wisdom and usefulness in the strategies they believe in and follow themselves, but there are so many different and conflicting nutritional systems available that people get confused. They can’t all be right! Just because the way someone eats is working for them now, doesn't mean it will work for then long term or that they will work for someone else, because everyone's biochemistry and physical needs change and every person is uniquely different. This is also true within a family, based on age, sex, blood type and other factors. A nutritional system may work for a few months or a couple years, but if it is not a diet the body can sustain itself on for life, then the initial benefits will give way to deficiency and organ dysfunction.
Eaters these days are suffering from a “high fact diet” because they are overwhelmed with nutritional information that doesn’t agree with their own body wisdom or common sense. Body wisdom trumps nutritional information every time. You need to follow your own innate guidance telling you what to eat and not eat, by listening to the language of the body. Symptoms are the body's way of communicating to you how a particular food or combination of foods was received. I invite you to tap into your intuition and the intelligence of your own body, explore and experiment in the spirit of adventure and true science.
When you question their choice of foods, what you are also saying is what they are currently eating is terrible. They may or may not be aware, but even if they are eating Hostess cupcakes for breakfast, Twinkie's for snack, PopTarts for lunch, Cocoa Puffs for dinner and a donut for dessert, drinking soda all day and they feel fatigued, don’t judge. You don’t know how they were fed as a child, how they were taught, who they are now or what motivates the way they nourish themselves. Respect them, no matter what they eat.
You have your own unique metabolic journey. They are very likely not even close to the same place you are with food, body and emotions. Allow them to travel their own journey and experience ill health, to learn life lessons that are more valuable and cannot be learned any other way. When they come-round, be ready to help, but remember that nutritional guidance should be prepared and served with love. People need to know how much you care, so speak from a place of genuine love for them. Using punishing language skews their relationship with food and with themselves. Communicate with kindness and elevate them.
Any nutritional approach that is rigid or strict, and lacks variety, joy, fun or flavor will be rejected. Compromise and negotiate. Don't expect them to do a total about-face and start eating more healthy choices, every meal, every day, all at once. Chances are, you learned gradually and made changes as you experimented with the information you received. They have a similar learning curve to follow too.
Nutrition information that is delivered without an equal balance of passion and compassion is not pleasing. Don’t speak from your head, but from every cell of your body that has experienced what it's like to feel fabulous. Spice it up with interesting ideas and alternatives, instead of a list of do's and don'ts.
Inspire by your own healthy example. Nutritional advice is valued when it’s more than just about food. We eat healthy to have the kind of vibrant biology that allows us to express our fullest potential. Good nutrition connects body and soul. It’s about feeding your own greatness, so you can live the best life possible and serve the world.