There are some people in your life who are inevitably going to try to stop you from reaching your fitness goals.. As you know, not reaching your goals is (Schwarzenegger voice) UNACCEPTABLE. Luckily we’ve made a convenient list for you so you can Identify these threats before they get in your way.
We all have this person at the office, the one who has an abundance of spare time.. and cats. Every week she walks through the door with a treat she whipped up to share with the office..Today it’s brownies, last week it was a 3 layer birthday cake for the new guy in accounting..She’s a machine! Just cranking out the conveniently located, free (unattended for long periods of time) SWEETS! You’ve been trying to get on track with your diet for about 3 weeks, but like clock work she just appears at your greatest moment of weakness..It’s 11am on Wednesday, you didn’t eat breakfast and you’re starving..You take a quick stroll to the break room to grab the yogurt you brought in your lunch. Just as you turn into the room, there she is! Smiling from ear to ear, lovingly holding out a tray of the most heavenly looking chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever seen. The chocolatey aroma alone has you salivating like a hungry lioness. You can’t be rude and decline, she spent time so much time making these! You’re left with no choice. You swipe one..and one for the road. “damn you Jill! You ruined my diet again..” Internally you whisper to yourself: “There goes this week, I’ll give it another go on Monday 🙁 ” and you make the walk of shame back to your desk; Generous Jill wins again. How can you win with Jill around?? You can’t! She must be ELIMINATED.
Party Time Pete
You thought peer pressure ended in high school, but just like Pete’s aspirations to play pro ball, it never goes away. He’s your friend that never grew up, but you love him anyway because you’ve been through so much with him. Pete’s somewhat of an underachiever, but when it comes to drinking he’s as dedicated as they come..Which would be fine, if he didn’t want a wingman every weekend when he’s out closing down the bars until 2am. It’s a routine, every Friday night at about 7 he calls. “Just come out for one drink!” Guilt overcomes you and before you know it you’re on your fourth beer at the local sports bar..And you can’t JUST have beer so even though you already ate dinner, a quick dozen chicken wings go down the hatch as well. Your perfect week of food logging is taking a hit and the weekend just started..Oh well, “there’s always Monday.” Ultimately Pete’s a great guy and he’s always been there for you when you needed him, but his influence is a huge obstacle for you on your path to fitness success…ELIMINATE PETE.
Fit Shaming Shannon
Every other Sunday you get together with the girls for brunch. Nothing formal, just a fun meal and some catch up..Maybe even a little gossip 🙂 . At this point, all of your friends know how much progress you’ve made at the new gym you’ve been going to. You’re making better food choices, your workouts are going great, and you look and feel better than you have in years! The girls are starting to take notice and it makes you feel even better! But then there’s Shannon. She’s as passive aggressive as a pre-teen and she doesn’t pull any punches. While the girls are asking you questions about your trainer, what your diet’s been like, and how many days per week you workout..Shannon’s in the background rolling her eyes and fake smiling. Shannon has had weight struggles of her own, she’s tried to take action, but for whatever she’s fallen short; leaving her jaded and a little bitter. As the waitress makes her way around the table taking orders she turns to you, just as you inhale to start your order Shannon blurts: “You can probably skip her, she’s starving herself right now.” Internally you think to yourself:
But yes, she did.. And now you’ve gotta prove to Shannon that you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight, you’re not gonna lose this battle.. You slowly shift toward the waitress and say one magical word..”BACON.” Because nothing says “F-you” Shannon like six sizzling ounces of freedom. Crisis averted, you won the battle, but your defenses are weakened and the stress of biting your tongue leads to 3 extra mimosas..This can’t keep happening, you have to convince the other girls to stop inviting Shannon to the brunch, she’s gotta be ELIMINATED.
What Should You Do?
Undeniably this is pretty ridiculous, what point could I possibly be making with these satirical little stories..Well, one: I bet there’s actually a lot of relatable content in what you just read. I’d also venture to say you’ve contemplated avoiding all of these people/situations. Now obviously it hasn’t gone as far as plotting to terminate them- but you’ve probably thought “I can’t hang out with Pete anymore, he’s just too bad of an influence, just gonna ignore his calls.” Or: “I’ve had it with Shannon, she’s terrible, she can never just be happy for me.” The truth is, avoiding these people, these decisions, and these situations is NOT the answer!
We all make a critical mistake with our social relationships when it comes to our health. We perceive ourselves as a powerless tumbleweed just being whisked about by the winds of external influence (Jill, Pete, Shannon,etc.). Saying no to Jill is too hard, watching a game with Pete sans alcohol is impossible..I’ll admit, these truly are tough scenarios, but by avoiding the decisions involved and taking ourselves completely out of these situations we rob ourselves of the opportunity for growth. Inevitably the same situation will arise again down the road and we’ll be no better at handling it. So where do we go from here?
Be The Influence
So we agree that we need to jump head first into these situations if we’re going to make this whole fitness thing a lifelong habit. How do we do that without stumbling and reverting to old behaviors? The answer is understanding the power you possess. Just as Jill, Peter, and Shannon have had a negative influence on you and worked against you on your weight loss journey; you’ve got just as much power to use your relationship with them to get them on your team! In other words-stop being the “influencee” and become the influencer! Drop a few healthy recipes off to Jill after the staff meeting and ask her if she wants to get together and do a food prep day with you. She’s not an evil witch doctor sent to sabotage you with sweets, she’s a nice lady who just loves to cook and could use the company. Here’s a fun recipe to get you started! The whole office will thank you.
What about Pete? All he wants to do is party; right? NO! Pete just wants to spend time with his friend and escape the monotony of adulthood once in awhile, he’s just not creative enough to do it without Coors Light just yet.. Show him the way! Join an adult softball league with him! He’ll love it, you can re-live the glory days all while burning off some extra steam and calories one night a week. Start with that and Pete will figure out quickly that he doesn’t have the same athletic prowess he had back in high school, then you’ve got him! He’ll be begging to start working out with you by game two and you’ll be regular workout partners by the time winter rolls around when it’s tough to get to the gym on your own.. Your master plan is coming together! Influencing is fun!
Surely Shannon’s the hardest nut to crack. On the surface maybe, but deep down she’s a softy that just wants to be included. Yes, she got a little jealous when you started to make changes, but that all goes away if you can make yourself a part of HER changes (positivity is contagious.) Invite her to come join you for a class at your gym, make it a girls day with just you and her. Listen to her problems on the way there and back (don’t talk, just listen). Talk one on one about how your “diet” works and she’ll be surprised by how simple and inclusive it is. Encourage her to try a few of the habits you’re working on and you can use each other for accountability by texting throughout the week. Put in the effort to make a change for Shannon, you never know how she might repay you!
Bottom line is you can keep your friends, you don’t have to stop answering your phone, you don’t have to stop living your life. All you have to do is realize that you have a choice. You’ll be surprised how far one positive choice can take you! A few friends might even join you for the ride!
PS-There is absolutely nothing wrong with owning a lot of cats, my mom has 12 of them 😉
-Nate the Marketing guy