Living at home is the new norm of this generation. You go away to college, graduate, and more often than not… return to the nest. Yup, it’s what I did. It’s what most of my friend’s did. There are pros and there are cons, but we learn to adjust and re-learn to live with each other. I’m very lucky that my parents are okay with me returning to the nest.

My family is also really supportive of my lifestyle. Whether they are waiting for me at the finish line, listening to me ramble about a WOD or trying hard not to roll their eyes as I make yet another mess in the kitchen… I am grateful for their support.

Bike tour

I can’t believe I have been back living at home for over a year. Craziness. When I moved off campus and began my “health kick” in my junior year, I started to figure out how the heck to buy groceries and then what to do with them. I kept it even more painfully simple than I do now: I chopped some veggies, made some chicken and ate a whole lot of 100-calorie-packs and Lean Cuisine dinners.

When I moved back home, I knew Mom and Dad weren’t going to be packing me lunches to take to work and I didn’t expect dinner to be on the table waiting for me when I got home. And I didn’t want that. Just as I was growing up, my kitchen endeavors and food philosophy needed to grow with me. Sure, Dad grills (and it’s delicious) but it’s “every man for themselves” in my house (The Hunger Games in a literal sense) and it is for the best. 

Amy Archery

I eat “differently” than my parents and they eat “differently” than me. As I said, we do enjoy some meals together but 90% of the time… I am Katniss. When I first moved home, I was eating lots of protein pancakes with “weird” ingredients while Mom preferred pancakes from the Aunt Jemima box. I ate tons of beans and veggies for dinner while Dad usually grilled rib-eyes. Now I eat tons of meat, but if it’s not grass-fed/antibiotic free/hormone free/yadda/yadda, I don’t eat what my Dad grills. Gosh, I say all this yet I still believe that I am not a food snob.

Do what works for you

So how does it work? We live in the same house, share the same kitchen space, fridge and pantry yet we do our own thing – while still all sitting down to enjoy meals together. This works for us. Sure, the kitchen gets a bit squishy (there are literally too many cooks in the kitchen), my tupperware takes over the fridge and I have my own space in the pantry… but it works because we are respectful of each other’s choices. Whether you are living with your parents, room-mates or a significant other, your eating habits may not be the same.

I don’t have a magical solution for you in your quest to figuring this out. It just sorta happens and falls into place – and it is something that I continue to work on. But my biggest piece of advice: focus on you. 

I haven’t always been a shining example of this.

Sometimes I lecture my dad on how bad canola oil is for you. Sometimes I give my sister “a look” when she eats something. Sometimes I get “angry” at my mom for eating crackers and jam for dinner… because she isn’t “nourishing her body.” Shut. Up. Amy. No-one asked you. These are their choices, not mine. Because you know what? More often than not, my dad eats a huge bowl of berries and shows me his bowl of fruit because he is proud. More often than not, my mom preps her veggies for the week and tells me how helpful it is. More often than not, Lesley sends me pictures of her delicious looking breakfasts – smoked salmon, avocado and strawberries… mmm.

Yes, everyone needs to find their own healthy balance and figure out what works for them. Of course I wish my family ate all organic, grass-fed, used coconut oil and ghee, but that’s not my place. I can only focus on me. More often than not, my habits rub off on the people around me without shoving it in their face.

What I am trying to say is that I truly believe that the best leaders lead by example. I want to be a good leader. I don’t want to be someone who imposes their thoughts and beliefs on someone else. If someone asks, tell. If they don’t… well sometimes you just gotta shut-up and let the ones you love live their lives.

Family in Jamaica

And I love them. Aren’t we cute? Awwww.

Lesley and I are heading to Chicago today… I obviously won’t be eating “my way” 100% of the time and that’s cool. I am pretty happy with how I balance my eating while traveling. I’ll be sure to fill you in on our adventures next week! But don’t miss a sweet giveaway happening on Monday… it’s open worldwide, yay!

Have a wonderful weekend, enjoy the sunshine and remember to focus on you. 

 

Questions of the day…

Do you live with other people? How do you handle your health choices? 

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27 thoughts on “Living at Home & Eating “My Way”

  1. thebrightfulllife

    AWESOME post girl. “the best leaders lead by example. I want to be a good leader. I don’t want to be someone who imposes their thoughts and beliefs on someone else. If someone asks, tell. If they don’t… well sometimes you just gotta shut-up and let the ones you love live their lives” – YES YES YES! Could not agree more :)
    As hard as it is seeing people you love eat absolute crap, you have to be respectful of their choices. As soon as they ask about anything health wise we can then more than happily step in and help :)
    Enjoy your weekend lovely, let your hair down an dog with the flow xx

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  2. catfoodisgoodforyou

    Oh my goodness this couldn’t be more similar to my life right now! I just returned to the nest a few weeks ago, and am still getting used to the looks and questions about my food, and trying not to be too judgey on my parents! It isn’t easy to stick to your food-guns while in an influential environment like that, but I do love when I see my food philosophy influencing them (like your dad and the berries!)

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  3. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    I really like your point of just “leading by example”. I don’t like to tell people how to eat because I am not qualified to do so. Sometimes I’ll share things I have read with my husband (and he just has to go along with what I eat because I cook for him!) but for me true changes started to come when I learned about why I should or shouldn’t eat certain foods. Its less meaningful to tell someone not to eat something but ok to eat something else because they won’t be able to do that on their own without understanding the meaning behind it. I am far from perfect myself so who am I to tell others how to eat?

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  4. Kristy @ Southern In-Law

    Jesse and I live with my family while we save for our own home and we do things very much the way you do – I buy groceries and cook for Jesse and I and they do their own thing. We eat very differently to them but they’re free to choose what they want and we’re free to choose what I want.

    It does get a bit squishy but we make it work!

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  5. Alicia

    It’s great that you have the support from your family and respect each others space. I struggled trying to eat “my way” when I lived at home because somehow the fridge was always full and I realozed that so much of our fridge was condiments which I did not use, but like your house it was every man for themselves. Everyone cooked their own meals and ate at different times, sometimes I wouldnt always eat the healthieat or the way I wanted due to lack of space and the junk food my dad and sister would come home with. I am so happy I was able to move out 2 months ago and love stocking my frisge with veggies and meat weekly. I feel I eat so much better now and love it.

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  6. Meredith

    I’m so glad to find that someone else lives this type of lifestyle! My dad and I eat completely different most of the time (he would live off of frozen pizza and takeouts since he can’t cook) while I cook everyyything from home. We definitely try and eat together, while a couple times a week I’ll cook something we both enjoy.
    I know I’m guilty of giving “those looks” or lecturing on his franken-pizzas or daily diner breakfasts, but it’s more because I worry, not so much that I feel that I’m “better”. All of the frustration comes from a good hearted place, it is just difficult to try and convince people to do something that they are not so passionate about!
    Leading by example does seem best. He got so proud for cooking his own chicken or having plums for dessert and instead of forcing my ways on him, I have to thank you for reminding me to shut up and let it happen :)

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  7. Michele @ PaleoRunningMomma

    When I started Paleo my husband was not at all into it – he was barely paying attention I think! he ate the paleo portion of the meal along with pasta or rice or cheese or whatever and didn’t notice. After a couple of months of this though he either started to get curious or competitive and decided to do a whole30 given that I made his meals (he can barely use the microwave) and I said sure. It changed his life. While he doesn’t eat 100% paleo or even 80/20, he has “bought” into healthier eating based on his own experience, which is priceless! My parents have also made adjustments to what they eat so it really has become a “lead by example’ sort of thing. Plus my mom quit her diet soda habbit. I think it’s hard for people to not eventually take notice when someone has a lifestyle that is inarguably healthy and enjoyable!

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  8. Heather @fitncookies

    I lived at home when I first graduated college. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, and if I didn’t get married, I’d still be there. I think food choices are your own. My parents did say anything when I wasn’t eating what they ate. Now, my mom did cook my dinner every night, because we had family dinners which I loved. She cooked for her and my dad so added me to it and I was thankful. Now I cook healthy meals for my husband and I. Sometimes my family makes fun of me for not having junk food in my house, or eating healthy a lot, but I do what works for us. We definitely don’t deprive ourselves if we want it, but i don’t want junk food in my house to eat. I want fruits and veggies, and homemade food that I know what’s in it!

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  9. Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie

    This is so similar to my situation! I live at home during the summers when I am not in school and I have really learned this summer to just let it go. I do my thing, and my parents can do their thing. They love showing me their healthy creations (my dad actually just did that a few minutes ago) and finding foods that we will both eat. It can be difficult, but like you said, it is all about being a role model without forcing it.

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  10. Amy @ Long Drive Journey

    I was listening to a segment on NPR about how millennials are graduating college and moving back home, so the five demographic factors that experts used to use to say that someone had transitioned to adulthood aren’t even relevant now. Your tips are great, and now that I’ve done this summer at home, I really applaud you. It’s awesome that you even serve as a good influence to your family. I never moved back home after college, and don’t know if i would have started eating healthier if I had, so I’m glad it worked out the way I did. Have so much fun this weekend and let me know what I need to do and where I should eat when I get there!

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  11. chasetheredgrape

    Luckily my husband and I eat the same way and both have the same principals when it comes to food.

    My Mum has gone Paleo and is just beaming from the changes – my Dad now eats a lot of Paleo meals because of it (most of them he doesnt even realise is Paleo! Ha!).

    But because I dont preach, because I let others make their own choices about food – quite a lot of friends and family members come to me for advice. Because I am not going to judge them simply just give them some advice, tips etc and if they want more, they know who to call!

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  12. Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy

    Boo yes, You have an awesome family who respects what you do. Now I wish my family could only do the same!

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  13. Sarah

    Awesome post! My husband has had a big hand in teaching me that even though I grew up with my family, that doesn’t me I have to do things the same as they do now that I’m an adult. I can make my own decisions, the ones that are best for me. Like you, it sometimes irritates me when my mom eats popcorn in lieu of lunch, or my husband doesn’t eat breakfast, but overall, they do fine. And you’re right…I think some of my habits have rubbed off a bit on my husband. But don’t tell him. ;-)

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  14. Tabitha Lavoie

    Amazing post, Amy! So well put! “…I truly believe that the best leaders lead by example. I want to be a good leader. I don’t want to be someone who imposes their thoughts and beliefs on someone else.” – YES! So on point and the reminder a lot of us need every once in awhile :)

    Have a fabulous trip with your sister! Can’t wait to hear about it when you return!

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  15. Allie @ Running on Peanut Butter

    I LOVE this post! I am right there with you on this entire way of living! When I moved back home in March, I was given an area in our pantry, and my parents don’t mind that I take up a majority of the fridge. My parents have made a lot of healthier options as well lately, and while they might not seem wicked healthy to you or me, I look past that and just keep encouraging them because they’re better choices than previously! Keep it up, oh, and enjoy the moment of not paying rent (hopefully!) and being able to save up! Enjoy Chicago.. can’t wait to hear all about it!! :) xooxox

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  16. Ang @ Nutty for Life

    So obviously I am living at home with my parents right now. I’m very very very thankful for them and their graciousness of not cutting me off, because frankly I would be screwed without them. Their money is what buys the groceries – so while they do accommodate me and my food wishes (I’ve been cooking them dinner to try to get them more nutritious meals… they’re welcoming it), they still will tell me when I’m being a bit too demanding or the budget won’t cut it. Like, I can by no means eat grass fed local meat right now. We just can’t. One day, when I have my own real expendable income, I hope to be more conscious about those choices, but for right now I’m happy with how things are with my family! & it seems like you similarly have your situation figured out as well.

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  17. Gabby @ the veggie nook

    I am so grateful that my parents let me move back in with them for a while after university. I truly needed it and who knows, I might need it again! So great that your parents have been the same. Aren’t parents who appreciate their daughters’ alternative lifestyles the best?? :)

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  18. Kelsey

    Such a good post dear! My boyfriend and I live together, and we do make a lot of different food choices. From day one, I didn’t want to be “that girlfriend” that judge his eating…in the end, we have our own bodies, right? I try to make sure that he gets good foods to bring to his long days at work, and that we have a healthy dinner at night, but I’m here to really worry about me! And since I have lactose intolerance + other food sensitivities, it takes a lot of thought just for myself! Come visit Duluth soon! Sort of close to Chicago, right?

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  19. Caitlin

    I have so much trouble not criticizing the way my dad eats, but it’s because I want him to live longer. I really do need to learn to lead by example and not nag so much, but I nag out of love!

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  20. Ashley

    I love the way you’ve made it work! I only lived at home for three months between graduation and getting a job/moving across the country but I eat very differently from my family — I eat clean and vegan and they eat meat, dairy and some processed stuff. But my parents were great about buying my (expensive!) groceries during those three months and I didn’t mind cooking all my meals every day and eating something different from them. It made the transition into living alone even easier, though I miss having them buy all my food :)

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  21. Chris @ ifailedfran

    I don’t know how you do it, sharing a kitchen. Even when there are just two people in mine, no matter what the other person is always right where I need to be. I could rearrange everything and it would still work out that way. Kudos to you for surviving that for over a year. That’s gotta be a PR.

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  22. Sarah Pie

    Thanks for the reminder on the power of setting a positive example. I really should adopt your mindset of leading by example, I’m trying to get my BF off of eating so many processed foods but I feel like I’m becoming a “know-it-all” and a nag in the process.

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  23. swissfitchick

    Amy, this is such a GREAT post. Seriously, these are my thoughts!! Well, of course I don’t live with my parents anymore at the age of 36 and I moved out when I was 19. But I still eat a lot with my Mom and let’s say, she has horrible eating habits (Eating with guilt, no balanced meals, skipped meals etc.) – and I had to learn to take a disance and tryong not to teach her. It is HER decision – she let’s me eat my food the way I want too. She is so thoughtful that she always asks what I want to eat, how much I want, if I want carbs or not on the plate etc.
    Yes, people start to accept that I live a fit lifestyle and that I want to eat according to that. They even want to learn from me. Gosh, that is such a great subject, I think you just inspored me to write a post about this myself. Thank you and have a fab weekend in Chicago!!

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  24. Nut Butter Runner (@NutButterRunner)

    I love your family. You guys are adorable. And yes, to all this. I never actually say anything to my family for their decisions, but I always think they could make better choices. Obviously, they do what works for them…while I do what works for me. All in all, we’re a happy little bunch. Oh and I cannot wait to meet your fam!

    Reply

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