It’s hard enough sticking to a healthy lifestyle with the everyday temptations -- convenient fast food on every corner, girl’s night out featuring sugary margaritas, and supermarket shelves stocked with chips and sodas galore.
Top that with pressure from friends and loved ones and it just gets a whole lot tougher to stick with the healthy habits you’ve worked so hard to create.
You know what I mean. Friends out to lunch begging, “Oh come on, just one!” or fellow co-workers always trying to convince you to take part in the office goodies that are constantly a part of the office environment.
So, how do we combat temptations, stand up for our healthy choices, and encourage our friends and family to respect our healthy lifestyles? Simply put, how do we remain healthy in an unhealthy world?
1. Know Your Stuff
No one’s going to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. The conviction in your choices has to be strong enough to withstand judgement from outsiders. But it’s easier said than done.
The best thing you can do is educate yourself on why you’re doing what you’re doing. That way, instead of a defensive response to your bestie urging you to try some of her nachos, you can educate them instead as to why you’re skipping them.
It’s important that as women, we’re encouraging each other to be our best selves. Having an educational conversation with the people around you will be a win-win. But that means you have to know your stuff and be firm in your convictions.
Try explaining how much better you started feeling when you removed greasy food from your diet. Or how you’re working really hard to lose 15 pounds by Christmas and know the nachos won’t help. You’ll feel more confident when you’re educated and it’ll become easier to stand up for yourself in a way that feels good.
But hey -- if you’re that friend pressuring someone to eat food that you know they’re working really hard to avoid… well let’s just say, don’t be that friend.
2. Communicate Openly with Friends and Loved Ones
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you feel like you’re the only one in your circle who’s even attempting to live a healthy life. Your kids have pizza every other day, your husband seems unable to live without dessert, and nearly every photo on social media includes a friend of yours holding a Mai tai. Great.
The first step is to ask your loved ones for support. Tell them you want to make healthier choices, so you feel better with more energy. Maybe you’re concerned about aging and staying healthy as you age, living a long life free of disease. The key is to communicate. Your family can’t read your mind!
Make it really obvious that you’re changing your old habits for new, healthier ones. Whether that’s posting your gym routine to Instagram or filling the pantry with almonds instead of Oreos, it should be really clear to the people around you that this is important.
3. Get Others Involved
You don’t have to do it alone! Include your family and friends in your healthy habits and urge them to get involved.
Decide on healthy recipes with your family and make an effort to cook together. Start a fun fitness challenge with your coworkers. Go to the gym with your friends instead of going out for drinks.
When you encourage others to join you on your health journey, they will benefit, and appreciate your support. We can all learn together. We as women need to education and support other women and our children why it’s important to lead healthy lives.
4. Find a Likeminded Community
Once you start living a healthy lifestyle, the community will naturally follow. You just have to get out there.
For instance, once a week, you can trade your solo gym workout for a group exercise class and meet some new people. Spend time at the local juice bar. Chat with the farmers at the fresh food market. Nurturing this new community will only strengthen your bond with eating better, healthier foods and taking care of your body.
There’s a whole online community of likeminded health-conscious people, too – which you probably already know since you’re here. Connect on social media with other individuals who want to learn about implementing a healthy lifestyle.
5. Lead by Example
Sometimes, you’re not going to have the support you need from friends or loved one. But that’s ok. In this case, you need to lead the pack.
For your kids’ bake sale, bring protein packed oat clusters instead of sugary treats. When you’re invited to dinner or a party politely ask what’s on the menu and ask if you can bring a veggie tray instead of fattening dips and desserts. And it never hurts to be proactive, if it’s a pizza party you might want to eat before you go and snack on the veggies (that you brought).
Leading by example will give you the self-assurance to stick with your healthy lifestyle no matter what anyone else has to say. There’s nothing better than inspiring others and to feel good about the choices you made after you leave the party.
6. Mindfulness - Slow It Down and Take a Breath
No one is perfect and you shouldn’t expect to be. Being healthy in an unhealthy world can take its toll since there are so many unhealthy choices constantly thrown our way.
Notice these moments of stress, stop, and take a 3 or 4 deep, cleansing breaths. You may even want to plan these “check-ins” into your schedule.
Practices checking in with yourself as you come to the end of your lunch break, on your way to pick up the kids from school, or before bed. Remind yourself to breathe and ask yourself how you’re doing. Acknowledge your efforts and be proud of yourself accomplishments.
It’ll be absolutely essential you have a plan to reset.
How do you manage being a healthy, strong woman in such an unhealthy world? How have you learned to cope with pressure from friends and family? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!