In Peer Pressure Doesn’t Grow Up, we looked at how it can often be those closest to us – friends and family – who act in ways that can sabotage our weight loss or wellness efforts.
Even when your friends are super supportive, it can be a massive hurdle to navigate those often-occurring social situations that have oh-so-many temptations and can sabotage your diet.
8 Ways to Tackle Social Saboteurs
Minimize social situations initially.
Focusing on yourself those first few weeks of starting a new diet plan is a great way to build good habits and get your metabolism shifting in the right direction before exposing yourself to potentially sabotaging social situations. It takes a few weeks of consistent healthy habits before the metabolism or insulin sensitivity is able to handle a big indulgence without losing progress made to date.
Eat regularly that day.
If you know you’re going somewhere that won’t have a lot of food options that fit within your diet, have a good meal an hour before you go. This way you won’t be starving and sitting there fighting the urge to eat the tablecloth and every poor food choice on it. Likewise, do NOT – I repeat, do NOT starve yourself that day! This is the most common and dangerous mistake I see. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a friend say, “I skipped lunch today to save it for tonight”. This is so counterproductive. Not only has she not done herself any favors, but she’s just made the situation much worse by disrupting her blood sugar balance. She’s hungry, like really hungry! And she’s very likely craving refined carbs because her blood sugars have gone low, as a result of inadequate food intake earlier in the day. Now her metabolism has slowed as a result, so the food that she does eat tonight (likely poor food choices in 2-3x the typical serving size) is going to be utilized and stored as body fat at an alarmingly increased rate than it otherwise would have. Eat normally, eat lightly, eat healthfully… but DO eat before heading out for dinner just as you would any other day.
Pick your indulgences.
Balance is so important in life. Every diet, whether fitness-related or for weight loss, must include a little indulgences, “treat meals” or whatever you want to call it. No one can be perfect all of the time, nor should we be. Emotionally we need to feed the soul too. For me, that usually means buttered popcorn, ginger cookies or frozen yogurt with lots of chocolatey bits in it. For others, it might mean pizza or a couple glasses of wine with a cheese plate. Whatever feeds your soul, do it once a week. Pick something you really enjoy – and enjoy it! Don’t dispose of everything in site just because you’ve decided today is “treat day”. Make it worth it.
Sometimes, like when friends are in town or you’re on a vacation, a treat meal might be more than once a week. This is where you will have to advocate for yourself. Ask yourself how many indulgences you can handle before progress is affected. There’s no one right answer here. It’s about finding balance for you. If you are not feeling well, if the scale starts to creep up, if digestion or energy levels become impaired, maybe you’ve tipped the scale to unbalanced (pun totally intended)!
Be prepared with food prep.
This is nutrition success 101. Food prep is king. If you’re running out the door to meet up with friends at a coffee shop, having cut up veggies or a protein muffin in a baggie to grab from the fridge will be the first step in fighting the urge to grab a sugar-laden cookie from the café when your friends do.
Don’t forget your protein.
Remember that blood sugar instability is one of the leading factors behind food cravings and compulsive eating. Maintain protein consumption (even if it’s the more convenient form of protein powder in a shake before you go out) when socializing can help reduce poor food choices. Likewise, be sure to include protein in your treat meal.
Drink lots of water.
Water will not only take up some space in your stomach and help with perceived satiety, it will help your body digest what you might end up over eating and flush the body of excess sodium and toxicity.
Entertain in your home.
This gives you the power to serve both clean options and foods your friends may prefer available. This way you don’t need to feel bad about being a bad hostess, but you’ll also have cleaner options available for both you and your guests who may want it. Let your guests know of your goals and your journey if you feel compelled to, and ask them for their support while they are there.
Remember how your body works.
You’ve learned a lot in your wellness journey, and knowledge is power! Life happens and so do indulgences in your favorite treats! When this happens, use the tools you have to get back on track without hanging onto guilt or remorse. For extra guidance in recovering from an overindulgence, we have some tips for you here!