What should you do if friends and family are part of the problem?

STHave you ever gotten really excited about working out and eating healthy only to be derailed by your family who prefers sitting on the couch eating chips over a healthy dinner followed by a walk? Or coworkers who are constantly bringing bagels and chocolate to work? Or friends who like to bond over nachos and margaritas? We tend to plan our lives as though we live in a vacuum. It’s so easy to forget how our friends, family, and coworkers influence how we carry out those plans. Although we could lock ourselves in a closet when others are around, that’s not all that fun or practical. Fortunately, the tips below are much more doable.

Family

  • Include everyone in the process. Ask your spouse and children what they enjoy eating and try to factor that into your meal planning process. One of my favorite tools for healthy and family-friendly meal planning is The Six O’clock Scramble.
  • If you have kids, get them to help. They’re much more likely to want to eat something they created.
  • Try to find some activities that the whole family enjoys. If that doesn’t work, squeeze in a workout in the morning while everyone else is still in bed. You’ll be refreshed and ready to go by the time the rest of the family wakes up. One of my members says she loves doing her workout videos on her balcony in the morning while the rest of the family is still sleeping. This is a great way to exercise and get some fresh air at the same time!

Friends

  • Ask each of your friends to come up with an idea for getting together that doesn’t involve food. As we get older, meeting for dinner and drinks is often a go-to activity. However, it can be a lot of fun to mix things up! This is also a nice way to try a new activity that you might not even know exists yet.
  • If you are meeting for food, be the first person to order. People tend to change their minds when they hear what others are ordering. If you choose a healthy dish, others are likely to do the same. If the first person to order chooses a burger and fries, you guessed it, others are likely to do the same.

Coworkers

  • If your office is a constant stream of birthday cakes and bagels, and you feel pressured to join in on the eating, simply smile and say you’re not hungry. Saying you’re watching what you eat or anything along those lines will often cause people to get defensive. Likely responses include: “You look great! Why are you worried about what you eat?” or “It’s Jane’s birthday. We need to celebrate!” No need to get into these silly arguments. If you’re not hungry, you’re not hungry.
  • What about the coworkers who always have candy on their desk? If you know you’re going to be tempted when you pass by their desk, drink some water or have a healthy snack first. If you’re hungry when you walk past, it will be much harder to resist. Popping a mint in your mouth is another good option.

Remember that you are the only one who decides how and when you move your body and what and when you eat. If you know certain people or situations trigger bad habits, have a strategy in place. Have an issue that I didn’t cover above? Send me an email and I’ll be happy to give you some ideas!

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