Telling Unsupportive People That You’re Cleansing

by Courtney on September 24, 2012


Do people give you a hard time about juice cleansing? Or, if you are considering doing your first cleanse, are there individuals who would?

It might be our partner, our parents, our child(ren), our best friend, or our coworkers. Some of us face minimal resistance, such as one parent being slightly concerned (“Honey, are you sure this is a good idea?”) but you only talk with them once every couple weeks anyways. Many of us face far more intense resistance from people we might be around daily. Some of us have people around us who will be plain nasty and rude about it.

“You’re crazy.”

“There’s no point in trying to get healthier, you’ll just go back to eating poorly after you’re done.”

“Just eat this with us. This cleansing thing is stupid.”

Sometimes the resistance is not directly expressed verbally. Many of us encounter passive aggressive comments, underhanded remarks, or simply silent sneers from others who disapprove of our choice for whatever reason.

Understand Why

There are countless reasons someone might be threatened by your cleansing. I don’t advocate spending a lot of time trying to figure out the why’s of other people’s experience, because that’s their business and you have your health to tend to. That being said, it can help to know this:

It’s never about you.

And this:

It’s not really about the subject of cleansing, either.

Many feel threatened by juice cleansing because they feel that you, simply by doing it, even if you’ve said nothing to them, are somehow implying that they are doing something wrong. It’s confrontational for them to see you taking actions toward improving your health when they don’t feel like facing the truth of their own health future. They could be threatened that you’re simply improving something in your life and it’s not specific even to health. Your change for the better could have been starting jogging or cleaning your house or taking up an instrument–whatever the change, the strong emotions would be the same.

For others, their sense of love, comfort, or companionship may be associated with eating with you. Some people feel like you might as well have told them you hate their guts if you don’t want to eat with them. You don’t want to join in our traditional weekly fried Oreos and Go Fish night? How dare you. You meanie.

Don’t really know why or can’t figure it out? Let it go. In fact, you don’t even have to try to figure it out – just let it go.

How to Tell Them You’re Cleansing

No matter who it is, and no matter how sure you are that they’ll react negatively and strongly to your choice, always give them the benefit of the doubt and the room to surprise you. Approach them without accusations, but still with firmness.

Don’t say something like, “I know you’re going to make a big deal about this, but I’m doing a juice cleanse, so deal with it.”

Do say something like, “I’m starting a Juice Feast. I’ve been researching this for a while and feel very good about it. I understand that you might have feelings or concerns, and I am totally open to talking about them. I love you and care about you. That being said, I want you to know that I am firm on starting this.”

Some people will hide their real feelings under a different reason. For example, if they feel threatened because you’re getting healthier but they don’t want to take an honest look at their habits, they may not actually say that. They might instead say something like, “I don’t think that’s a healthy thing to do,” and come to you appearing to be caring for your health, but really feeling far more strongly in another direction.

You can also respond with something like, “I understand your concern. I will certainly take care of myself and if it starts to feel like it’s not working for me any more, I’ll stop.” Sometimes people just want to know that you’ll be responsible with yourself.

Offer Resources

After you’ve told them about it, and perhaps they say a few things in response, ask them to look at some of the material that’s inspired you. It is reasonable to ask people to take some responsibility for their own research. If someone is genuinely concerned for you and is simply unfamiliar with the power and history of cleansing, then they will be willing to learn. If they really love you, they’ll sit down and read an article you sent, or watch a documentary you recommend. They may not read a whole book, but they’ll be willing to take a little time learn and consider. They’ll be willing to open their minds a little and look into it, even if they don’t end up agreeing.

You can say: “I understand this seems weird and unknown and maybe even extreme to you. I have some great resources I’d love to share with you that explain this much better than I can right here and right now. May I?”

If they flat-out say no, you can rest assured it isn’t only (or isn’t at all) about their concern for you. If they’re not willing to take 20 minutes to read up on something, and are also not willing to be up front about the real reason they’re not enthusiastic and supportive, then just let it go. They’re not at a place to have an honest, loving conversation with you, and there’s no need to force it or to worry any more about it.

That being said, the majority of the time, people who really love you for you will respect your choices and will not try to stand in your way. And you never know – people may surprise you. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who have told me, “This person is someone I’d never thought would be into this, but now they even ask me to make them some juice sometimes, too!”

I want to hear from you all. Does everyone in your life support you cleansing? If not, what do they say? Have you talked with them about it? How did it go? Leave your comments below.




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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Chantel September 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I’ve been coaching a girl on transitioning to a high raw plant based diet for almost a year now. She is 22 and still lives with her parents while she’s in school. Her entire family, including her self is on various prescription drugs. She always expresses to me her desire to cleanse and eventually be 100% vegan. The issue of her family (mainly her mother) comes up often. Her mother has mentioned that she didn’t think this way of eating was healthy, and I know there is some guilt placed upon my friend if she didn’t eat her moms cooking every night. We were just talking yesterday about how to talk to her family about her desire to change her eating habits and encourage them to maybe even join her. This came at the perfect time and as soon as I read it, I sent it to her. Thanks!


Sarah E. September 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm

This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing it!!!


Eva Norman December 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Great post!


Sean Carey June 6, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Great Post Courtney! You really covered some of the little things that come up really well! Someone told me something that makes a whole lot of sense as related to good changes or actions we are choosing to make for our own lives.

They said to treat these things as if they were precious diamonds or stones of great value. Or maybe even a sentimental piece that holds great value to you, but someone else would not see it the same way. Hold them in your pocket or in your hands and take great care of them. They are valuable to you and you do not need someone else trying to steal them away before you have even had the chance to see them recognized.

I will be sharing this post everywhere! :)


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