I became a vegetarian about 15 years ago when I lived in the northeastern US, and life was good. I've lived in the midwest for the past many years, and it's like I'm an alien species. Even my immediate family who grew up in the midwest think I'm alien after all this time. My sweet little grandmother never stopped asking me if I was getting enough to eat! Oh well. My strategy has been to teach by example, i.e. I cook fantastic vegetarian dishes to share with the sceptics.
Anyhoo, I was worried at first about my ability to maintain such a diet, but I researched my nutritional needs and I found lots of good recipes, and i've always eaten very well (especially after I stopped trying to find substitutes for the meat dishes I grew up with and met the vegetables on their own terms). Good luck to the newbie vegetarians. may you find strategies that work as well for you!