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An uncomfortable nervous woman clasping hands together surrounded by her family giving her medical migraine advice.

How to Handle Family’s Opinions on Your Health

They mean well. They really do. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Truth be told, I have a very supportive family. But the ability to handle our families’ opinions on our health – and especially our dietary choices, is a conversation that I have with my clients on a regular basis. It affects all of us on some level whether it’s a daily interaction or one just around the holiday gatherings.

There seems to be an insatiable and innate desire to please our family and to always have their approval. So, what do we do when their opinions go up against our approach to healing?

Do your research

First, it’s important to decide the path that is best for you independent of their opinions. Personally, I like to gather all the medical information from my doctor and then I often do my own research on nutritional approaches and other healing modalities (essential oils, acupuncture, acupressure, supplements, etc.).

Make your decision

After I pull all the information together, I then take some time to sit with it to decide what feels like the best approach for me. If I feel like I need someone to talk it through with, I have one or two trusted family and/or friends that I’ll reach out to. I let them know in advance that I just need help talking something out.

This sets the tone that you’re not coming to them for a solution to a problem, you just need a sounding board. You’ll find the people that will honor their role in this conversation, and they’ll become your go-to person. Once I have a clear direction on my health that I feel solid about, I move forward.

Silence is golden

One step that I think is so important is to not broadcast your health changes in environments that you know you may meet resistance. Personally, I try to draw the least amount of attention to my dietary restrictions as possible. It greatly reduces the likelihood of someone injecting their unsolicited opinion.

When someone does share their opinion – solicited or not – I really do my best to stay open to the conversation. My tendency at first was to get defensive, but the reality is they may have something to share that could be of interest to me, or if nothing else they could share something that will actually re-affirm the decision that I’ve made in my current health choices.

Go to your go-to

And certainly, if you feel like you need accountability on your path to new health habits, again, select that person who will be supportive. Be upfront about what you need.

Hey Sam, I’m trying to eliminate dairy this week and I’m worried that I’m going to cave the first time I see a slice of cheese. Can I text you at the end of each day as my accountability to being dairy-free this week?

Find your trusted few and keep them close. At the end of the day, we are each responsible for our health and our actions. So, stand strong in the path that you set for it. (And obviously remember that you have an entire community of people here cheering you on!)

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Sarah
    1 month ago

    Accountability partners are amazing. I have one and we keep each other accountability for a certain number of workouts each week. I highly recommend them.

    Also, it’s so true that sometimes you need to keep your dietary goals on the down low. I once told my friends I was going to start Atkins to lose weight (and I ended up losing 60 pounds on it, so boo ya!, friends!) and they decided to share all their opinions on dieting with me. They told me it wasn’t good, that I was going to miss out on life’s pleasures, etc. I needed their support and they weren’t able to provide it. The next time I went on a short-term diet, I didn’t tell many people, and I was mentally healthier for it.

  • mrsmack
    1 month ago

    I have found a great solution to unsolicited advice. I take out my phone and tell them I’m adding their solution to my list. I tell them that I have an agreement with my doctor that i will fully research any possible solutions before trying them and only try one at a time so we can determine which ones may be working or may be harming. I let everyone know that it is a long process and that to give each option a full trial, I give each one a full month before moving on to the next one. They get to “help” and i don’t have to defend my current choices.

  • glassmind
    1 month ago

    Smart. They feel helpful and you accumulate a list to investigate if and when you want.

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