We’ve just entered a new year and all the confetti is settling. So now what? Well, a couple of weeks ago you may or may not have resolved to eat healthier, lose weight, join the gym, etc. etc. etc. Except that you just got a text to join a friend for brunch today, and next week there’s that big dinner party and the week after that is your best friend’s birthday! Social pressures can make sticking to our goals kind of hard at times, and we all have that one friend who just so happens to push us towards that extra slice of chocolate cake even when we’ve just had a great workout. So how do you handle your bad influence buddies? Read on for some tips to help you keep your health and nutrition goals this year—without sacrificing your social life in the meantime!
Announce your Goals
Telling your friends and family that you’re making a conscious effort to eat healthier and exercise more helps make you more accountable for it. Its easy to ‘cheat’ on our diet when nobody knows about it (though really you’re just cheating yourself so that doesn’t help!), but when you’ve just told the five other people at the table that you’re cutting back on sweets, you might think twice before ordering the molten cake for dessert. Even better—you might be the positive push your friends need to get them to choose a healthier lifestyle too! Tell your friends, post it on Instagram, Snapchat your daily little achievements—whatever your preferred method is, talking the talk just might help you walk the walk!
Use the Buddy System
Research from both Dartmouth University and Brown Medical School found, not surprisingly, that when we partner up with a friend who has been successful at losing weight, their positive influence rubs off on us too. In fact, having a supportive person or group of friends cheering you on to help you reach your goals can make all the difference between a successful weight loss story and a relapse into your old bad habits. But don’t just pick your hubby or best friend as your weight loss buddy! It’s important to recognize that even the ones we love the most might just be the ones who are worst for our waistlines (that lavish buffet date night, or the endless breadsticks girls brunch for example!). Of course that doesn’t mean we have to give up quality time with our favorites, but we do need to choose our weight loss partners wisely. You need to find someone who has the same goals as you, and who wants to reach them the same way—there’s no sense in picking someone who wants to go for a daily 5 AM run when you’re just not a morning person! Whether it’s someone to workout with, to swap healthy recipes with, or even to take turns babysitting so the other can head to the gym, having a partner supporting your goals can make all the difference.
Handle the Temptations
Let’s face it—you are not going to give up your social life in order to live healthier, and you shouldn’t have to! There’s always going to be events on our Google calendar that give us the excuse we’re looking for to postpone working on our resolutions for the next week. What’s important is that you equip yourself to handle the temptation without skipping out on every birthday party in February. If you’re heading to a dinner where you know you won’t get healthy options, have a snack before you go—we’re less likely to make poor eating choices when we’re not famished. Skip out on all the sugary drinks and opt for water. Scan the entire buffet before you start piling up your plate so you know what it is you’re actually going to want to eat. And perhaps most importantly, allow yourself a little indulgence every now and then so that you don’t overdo it at the dessert table the first chance you get.
It is most definitely possible to eat well while still enjoying a full social life. Food can be the most important aspect of our culture, allows for a way to express our love for one another and can be the focal point of our social gatherings. It’s important that you don’t give up one for another, but rather find a way for both healthy eating and a healthy social life to come together to make a healthy you!