How To Balance A Healthy Lifestyle and Social LifeNovember 1, 2017
Many times when you tell people you’re eating healthier, or working out more, the response is positive and encouraging. However, sometimes this news can be met with disapproval as people look at you and say things like “live a little!” or, “you’re taking the fun out of life!” I remember hearing at some point throughout my Primal Health Coaching Certification Program: “success and happiness can be made easier or harder depending on who we surround ourselves with” and while I’m not sure who exactly said it—boy were they right!
So, what do you do when your social circle is not conducive to your desire to lead a healthy lifestyle? Let me tell you, I have been there many times before. For starters, your friends don’t have to fully understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, but you definitely want to make sure that the people you surround yourself with the most support you. Try to explain to them your reasons for wanting to make these changes. Sometimes, you’ll be surprised to find that someone might want to join in on the fun. And if they don’t, chances are that when you’re looking and feeling like a million bucks, they’ll want to drink the Kool-Aid at that point. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I’ve been out and “friends ” try to force-feed me shots or give me a hard time for making changes to my order at a restaurant. If you are new to trying a healthier lifestyle, this can make you feel uncomfortable or even tempted. But, I encourage you not to succumb to peer pressure because if people are really giving you a hard time, it may not really have to do with you at all. Maybe resistence from a friend stems from them wanting to avoid reconsidering their own health choices when they know they probably should. So, don’t take any negative reactions personally–you are doing what is best for you and hopefully your friends are doing the same for themselves as well! While it hasn’t always been the case, I have luckily found friends along my journey who share my health values, and even those who don’t are still respectful of my choices!
My friend Jess & I enjoying a healthy post-workout brunch 🙂
Two Big No-No’s When it Comes to Health and Your Social Life:
- Don’t try to thrust your new ways on anyone. Chances are, if you’re feeling great you will want to shout it from the rooftop. Most people go through life not realizing how great they can actually feel by altering their lifestyle and testing out different things to see what works best. So, once you’ve had a piece of this, you might want everyone to be able to feel this way. But, it doesn’t work like that. Think about how you decided to change your habits. Maybe it came at the suggestion of someone, but you had to decide that you were ready at your own time. Even if you’re just trying to help, it can be perceived as condescending. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut, and to only discuss my choices if someone asks. You should stay true to your goals, but ensure you’re not coming across as picky or “too good” for the way others eat. If you don’t make a big deal out of your new lifestyle, over time people won’t either.
- Don’t become a hermit. Don’t let your goals deter you from hanging out with people. Sometimes people take being healthy to the extreme, and this in turn is unhealthy. Orthorexia, which is obsessive behavior in the pursuit of a healthy diet and lifestyle, is a serious problem. Don’t avoid going out to dinner because you fear that the restaurant is cooking with bad oil. Life is about balance. You can always make substitutions and requests, and 99% of the time if you ask nicely they will be accommodating. On the flipside, don’t let eating out be an excuse to go on a complete bender. Nowadays, you can eat in a healthful way at almost every restaurant. I have friends and clients who say that it’s so difficult to eat out healthy, and my response to them is: A.) you don’t want to ,or, B.) you’re not trying hard enough. You always have a choice.
Tips for Balancing a Healthy Lifestyle and Social Encounters:
1.) If you’re on the verge of giving-into temptation, or people are giving you a hard time, always pause and remember your ‘why,’ and your ‘what.’ Why are you doing this? What is the goal, and what are you trying to accomplish? When you take a moment to pause and remember why you are doing something, it gives you a renewed sense of clarity and motivation to stay on track because you reconnect with your intention.
2.)Find at least one friend with similar health goals. It is so much easier and more enjoyable when we surround ourselves with like-minded individuals. I do want to point out that if your social circle is unsupportive and you find yourself making choices you always regret, it might be time to find new friends. I know this can be a tough pill to swallow, since no one wants to feel like an outcast (this instinct stems back to our primordial tribal days). But, if your existing tribe is holding you back from becoming the best version of yourself, then it’s time to find a new tribe. We are constantly growing and evolving beings and sometimes we can outgrow certain people and that’s okay. Always remember you need to do what is going to make you happy.
3.) Remember the 80/20 rule. When embarking on a path towards a healthier lifestyle, be gentle with yourself and your expectations. You may feel motivated and want to jump from 0-100, but you should be happy and proud of yourself for making any sort of progress. Life is about being well-rounded, so if you meet your health goals 80% of the time, and 20% of your habits aren’t there yet that’s more than okay. When transforming your lifestyle and finding new ways of eating, exercising, and thinking that are best for you, remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.