How many times have we declared, “This is it! Come Monday it’s back to the gym and eating healthy!” or at the start of January “This is my year! This is the year I am going to get fit, healthy, and look amazing!” only to peter out a month or so later. Then before you know it five years have gone by and you are still chasing your same fitness goals.
If this sounds like you then you might be wondering why this happens. Maybe it’s just pure laziness, but this probably isn’t entirely the case. It takes a lot of work to change habits, especially habits that we have spent doing our entire lives. Through my own clients and just general observation, I find that the people who are most successful with their health and fitness goals are those that have a solid support network. You can’t do it alone, even if you think you can.
But what happens when our friends and family don’t support us? Although they don’t intend to be malicious, sometimes embarking on a fitness journey can make people feel uncomfortable, insecure, envious, and various other unhappy feelings. They might not outright try to sabotage you but there will be resistance. Oh, and the freaking off-hand comments. These are what get me the most, “Just live a little!” “One piece of cake won’t kill you!” “You look fine the way you are.” Duh I look ‘fine’ but I don’t want to look ‘fine’ I want to have a knockout physique and squat twice my bodyweight! End rant.
So what to do? First it’s important to think about the perspective of the other people and what might be causing them to feel resistant. Say, for example, every Friday after work you and your friends grab a couple of drinks and get dinner. Suddenly instead of opting for a giant glass of beer and a huge burger and fries, you order soda water with lime and a chicken salad. The people around you might be thrown off. They might feel like they’ve lost the you that they know or that you will become judgey and preachy because of your new found lifestyle (please don’t be this person). Talk to your loved ones, be open with why you are making these changes and let them know what they can do to help. The better understanding they have, the more they will be able to support you.
This strategy may work with some but there will always be those around us that continue to disapprove of our efforts. Remember that this is more of a reflection of their own dissatisfaction with themselves. It’s important, especially when these people are family members, to remind yourself of why you started and why you want to make these changes. Don’t go back to old habits just to please someone else, it will only make you unhappy. Try to think of yourself as setting an example with your new lifestyle, in time they may come around and may even take inspiration from you.
Unfortunately no matter what you do, you might lose a friend or two. This may be difficult but as I said earlier, it is more of a reflection of them and their own insecurities rather than of you. As someone who has a habit of putting others wants and needs before my own, take it from me: trying to please others at the sacrifice of yourself will only make you unhappy. It’s your life and you have to put yourself and especially your physical and mental well being first.