When we are trying to live a healthier, more active lifestyle, one of the biggest obstacles, one that is the hardest to overcome, is having people in our lives who aren’t trying to live the same lifestyle.
When I say that, I know you all have people in your life that instantly pop into your mind. Whether it’s the person who tries to make you skip your workout, the person who makes you feel silly for ordering a salad, or the person who tries to guilt you into making unhealthy choices with them, we all have people in our lives who unintentionally make us feel bad for making healthy choices. We need to learn how to navigate these relationships if we want to live our healthiest, happiest lives.
Dealing with relationships that don’t support our lifestyle can be difficult because many of these relationships are with our best friends, our family or our significant other. Of course, we aren’t going to remove these people from our lives, and that is why I am here to share ways you can navigate relationships that do not support your lifestyle.
So, what do we do to navigate the relationships in our lives that don’t support our lifestyle? There are four very important things you can do:
1. Do not try to force your new healthy lifestyle into these relationships.
Trying to force something on someone never works, no matter the situation or circumstance. The more you force something onto someone, the more negativity they will attach to it. Just as you feel annoyed and frustrated when they try to force unhealthy choices onto you, they feel just as annoyed and frustrated when you try to force your healthy choices onto them.
“Trying to force something on someone never works, no matter the situation or circumstance.”
It’s a two-way street. You both have feelings and both feelings need to be considered. Which also means, you need to respect and support their choices, just as you want them to respect and support yours. Living a healthier lifestyle is something someone needs to decide on their own terms. It is a huge commitment–a commitment that can’t be forced. Forcing a healthy lifestyle on anyone is not an effective strategy.
2. Rather than forcing them, inspire them.
Live your healthy lifestyle and allow them to see the amazing affects it is having on your health and your happiness. There is no doubt they will notice how much more energized and more alive you are. And, who doesn’t want to feel that way? They will see it and it will inspire them to start making healthier choices with you. You just need to be patient.
Show them that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean depriving yourself or sucking out all the fun out of your life. Show them that living a healthy lifestyle isn’t as scary as they may think. Show them you can still have fun and you don’t need to feel deprived.
“Show them that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean depriving yourself or sucking out all the fun out of your life.”
Cook them delicious, healthy meals. When they see that eating healthy can also be delicious, they will want to start eating those healthy meals with you. Show them vegetables aren’t gross. Show them eating healthy isn’t boring. Show them how creative and fun eating healthy can be.
When they see how much happier and more energized you are after getting a good workout in, they will be intrigued and eventually decide they want to try this whole working out thing, too. Show them working out can be fun. Show them working out doesn’t have to be a chore. Especially when they see you dropping the pounds and looking more defined, they will most likely be inspired to make some changes in their diet and lifestyle too.
Just be an inspiration to them. Live your life, don’t force anything and just naturally inspire them.
3. Be honest about what you are doing and why.
The best way to navigate relationships that don’t support your lifestyle is by openly communicating with them. Be open and honest by sharing what your exact goals are, what your action plan is for reaching these goals and why you are doing what you are doing. Be explicit and lay it all out for them. The better they are able to understand your purpose, and the more aware they become of the habits you are trying to adopt, the easier it will be for them to be supportive. Plus, if you are an important person in their life, what is important to you will also be important to them.
You also need to be honest about how their “peer pressure” to make choices that don’t align with your goals is very difficult for you. Tell them you don’t appreciate when they try to get you to eat unhealthy food with them and you don’t appreciate when they make you feel guilty for making your workouts a priority.
On the flip side, let them know you are going to respect and support their lifestyle choices. You aren’t going to try to force any of your new healthy habits on them and you aren’t going to try to change them. Whatever choices they make, you will respect, but in return, you would appreciate that same respect and support.
“On the flip side, let them know you are going to respect and support their lifestyle choices.”
Something very important when doing this is being very mindful about how you communicate this. You don’t want to make them feel bad or feel they are being attacked. You want to ensure you remove any aggressiveness or harshness from your tone. Be calm. Say it nicely. And, be sure to let them know how thankful and appreciative you are of their respect and support.
When they fully understand your goals, and the reasoning behind your goals, they can start to help hold you accountable instead of being an obstacle for you.
When living a healthy lifestyle, you need to ensure you are still living a balanced life. Don’t allow yourself to become so obsessed with always making the healthiest choice. If you want to make your new healthy lifestyle a long-term lifestyle, you need to find balance. You can see results without making healthy choices 100% of the time.
If your friends want to go out for margaritas, go! If your significant other wants to order in pizza, do it! You don’t need to order a big chocolate sundae, just get one scoop of ice cream. You don’t need to eat the entire pizza, eat one or two slices. A scoop of ice cream, or piece of pizza is fine, as long as you don’t overindulge or let it spiral out of control. Enjoy the treat and then make sure your next three meals are healthy. You also don’t need to work out every single day of the week. I actually highly advise against doing that. You need rest days. So, on your rest days, compromise and do what they want to do.
“If your friends want to go out for margaritas, go!”
Through working to successfully navigate the relationships in your life that don’t support your lifestyle, their respect and support may not come instantly. You may need to continue reminding them what you are doing and why, and that’s okay, all you need to do is give them a gentle reminder. No one can argue with you for wanting to become the best version of yourself. No one can make you feel guilty for wanting to be happier and healthier. No one will want to force anything unhealthy on you if they know exactly how important your new lifestyle is to you.
To sum it up, they best way to navigate a relationship where you aren’t both living a healthy lifestyle is to never force anything on them and instead be an inspiration, communicate and be honest with them about your goals and what you are going to do to reach those goals and lastly, compromise.
If you loved this post and want more, I recommend tuning into Coffee & Kettlebells episode 112: How to Live Healthy, Without Feeling Deprived, a very impactful episode for helping you stay on track and continuing to live a healthy lifestyle.
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