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Weekly In-Law Dinner


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I’m half way through my 7th? Whole30 and reading FFF again (#myfoodfreedom book club!). I know a lot about the program and know that it works and I’m really feeling ready and motivated to find Food Freedom this time. There is one key thing I am worried about: We eat one dinner with my in-laws every week. 

My in-laws have also done the program but really didn’t understand/adopt the spirit of the program, so don’t really seem to understand the idea that I want to change the way I eat. They continue to be shocked by the amount of avocado I eat (“so much fat”) and the only compliant veggie options appear to be a baked potato and boiled carrots. When my husband and I are on a Whole30, they’re always considerate and make a compliant (though generally less than exciting) meal. I’ve offered to bring a side/help and they almost always decline. They also generally don’t let us know what we’re eating prior to our arrival, at least not in any detail. 

My Point: I’m struggling with how to handle this in my Food Freedom. If I bring something extra/a side, they’ll be offended for sure. If I avoid the things that don’t work me that are on the table without saying anything, I’ll likely just end up eating meat. 

I’m wondering if I should go to dinner, see how the meal goes each week, and try to keep it small if it doesn’t align with my needs and then eat the lacking portions at home? But then I’m not really following the template at each sitting + eating dinner later than normal. But if I eat a mini meal before I go, I might end up over-eating if what they’re having works for me. It’s not just about being compliant either, I have to be careful about the amount of starchy veg I eat for example, too. We do host the meal every few weeks, so those will be easy and an opportunity to show them how we actually eat but old habits die hard. I can enjoy the meal experience with the company alone, I’m just concerned about actually meeting my nutritional needs that doesn’t make every Monday morning a disaster and a half. 

I know FFF has advice on basically just “having the talk,” but I’m not confident it’s going to help, even with the best intentions. They are also feeding my brother and sister in law and their two small children, who mostly follow a SAD diet. 

Has anyone had any experience with something similar? Any specific advice for my situation? I appreciate you, thanks! 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Whole30 Certified Coach

I've got a Sunday Dinner issue too :) I could have (sort of) written this post - my in laws also did the W30 but never really got into the spirit of it - it was a 30 day diet.  

My in laws are wonderful so I've never felt that (a) I couldn't eat - though that is awkward sometimes but they understand or (b) that I couldn't bring a compliant dish to share.  Are you sure that if you brought a huge delicious salad (that no one else would eat, thus you'd have lots of veggies for yourself) that she would really be offended?  Salads seem sort of benign - its not like its competition for her food.  Just preface it with - I LOVE SALAD so I'm bringing a great one to share.   Have you tried "having the talk" with them?  You are all adults, you've made a decision for yourself as an adult - some foods make me feel good, others make me feel bad, so as an adult I'm going to eat the ones that make me feel good which means that sometimes I'll choose not to eat what you've made.  If they judge, meh, whatever, do you have kids yet? - that'll be a whole new level of judging ;)

Also, the template is just that, a template, if you don't follow it but eat nutritious food that makes you feel good 1 out of 21 meals a week that would be ok.  That paragraph makes it sound like you are struggling with this meal in a FFF way than a W30 way - you may eat too little, too much, not to template - and all of those things are ok in a FFF way if YOU are ok with it.  

My Sunday dinners are very informal - they are so big that we aren't all sitting at a table together - people eat on sofas and on end tables and stuff so it is easier to not eat.  What I've found helps me blend in the most for totally non-W30 option nights is to drink wine - then no one feels the need to ask why I'm not eating :) Sounds like yours might not be that easy.  Good luck navigating this!


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@littleg This was so helpful and encouraging, thank you! That’s a good point that when I’m exercising food freedom, I can be flexible where I need to be and you’re probably right, if I brought an extra veggie it seems unlikely anyone would throw a fit. Sometimes I do bring avocado or mayo since they are pretty fat-phobic still. I guess I’ll just test some things out and see how it goes as I start to figure out my food freedom. 

I struggle with “the talk,” because typically my reactions to foods during reintroduction aren’t so extreme that anything is totally off limits, so it’s hard to explain the nuances to other people (I don’t really have it totally figured out myself). As I reflect, I think this is probably where I really need to start - with what I want FF to look like. I really struggle with translating reintroduction into RL. 

Thanks so much for the suggestions and for helping me think through that! 

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