Losing weight and maintaining a social life is often the biggest dilemma that people face when it comes to health and fitness. How can we continue to live the life we love whilst trying to work towards the goals we want?
It is incredibly challenging at times and more often than not people approach it the wrong way. They decide that they can give up everything they enjoy for a short period of time and simply focus on their health.
The issue with this?
It does not promote balance and a sustainable change. It often means that there is a big ‘blowout’ when the social life comes back again, and is a big reason why people find themselves on the rollercoaster ride that is health and fitness.
Is it actually possible to lose weight and have a social life?
Too often, people believe that in order to have one they need to sacrifice the other.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. It is perfectly possible to lose weight and still keep your social calendar busy.
It all comes down to having an understanding of what you are trying to achieve and how to go about it.
First off, it is important to understand that socialising is VERY important to overall health. Being around people is a basic human need and not something that we should go without.
So how can we lose weight without missing out on all the social fun?
How can we lose weight and have a social life?
Here are 5 tips to help you out.
Identify social situations that may be or have been risky for you in the past.
There are always going to be moments where we are faced with challenging situations that may compromise our health and fitness goals.
These are unavoidable. The good news is that they can be minimised when a high level of awareness is involved.
Often, when people are on a health kick, they associate the situation with the people normally involved. As a result they try to avoid certain friends because they are viewed as ‘trouble’ in regards to their health goals.
This shouldn’t be the case, and if it is a true friendship, can easily be remedied.
A good tip: Change the setting.
I.e. If you are always catching up with your friends at the pub, why not suggest a different location such as a picnic or going for a walk?
In this example, the potentially risky situation is the pub NOT the friends you are seeing.
The solution has removed the dangerous situation but still maintained the social element of seeing your friends.
Be aware of situations that may be risky, and minimise them/eliminate them by finding an alternative that better works for your goals.
Be prepared for the social situation ahead of time.
One of our favourite quotes is; “failing to plan is planning to fail”.
This is especially accurate when in social situations.
More often than not, we agree to go out to socialise without knowing what our best options would be for the situation.
This can lead to making an uninformed decision whilst out that might not be 100% in line with our goals. Even worse, we avoid or cancel the plans, deciding that it is better to not socialise at all.
For example; If you are going out to dinner with your friends, do some research on the restaurant before. Familiarise yourself with the menu prior to arriving. This will allow you to go into the meal with more confidence that you can make the right nutritional decision AND socialise with your friends.
Another idea is to have a small meal prior to the social event.
This will reduce the likelihood of making hunger-induced decisions whilst out, but still allows for you to see your friends.
Your ability to think ahead of time when it comes to having a social life will only benefit you. And it is a fantastic habit to get in to!
Let your friends know about your goals!
If your friends don’t know what you are trying to achieve, how can they be aware that certain situations might impact your ability to reach your goals?
It is very easy to create a potentially risky social situation if you are not aware of what your friend is trying to achieve.
The “oh c’mon, just have a drink, or 2 more drinks” conversation is much less likely to occur if your friends know you’re trying to improve your health.
Informing your friends of your goals will reduce any potentially awkward social situations. It also adds a layer of accountability to your goals and a level of encouragement that can often be a big differentiator between success and failure.
Understanding that 1 bad event does not impact the overall result
Going out, enjoying life, having fun… are all VERY important things when it comes to overall physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Being physically fit and healthy is great, but if it is at the expense of everything else, aren’t we missing the point?
So you head out with your friends, socialise and have a fantastic time, probably drink a bit too much and are feeling a bit sorry for yourself.
This is not something that should derail your overall goals and determination to achieve them.
If you are committing to long-term change and ongoing weight loss success, you are consciously deciding that you are turning your lifestyle around. One bad event does not define a lifestyle.
Instead of feeling sorry for yourself pick yourself up, get back on track and keep going with your health and fitness goals!
Prioritise your exercise
In its simplest form, weight loss comes down to burning more energy than you are consuming.
It is about being in a deficit. If you are not prioritising your exercise on a weekly basis you are not giving yourself the best chance at losing weight.
How does this relate to your social life?
Well the more exercise you do, the more energy you burn. So if you know you are going to go out, socialise, have a good time and maybe have too much food and drink, doing more exercise before and after the event will help burn the excess energy consumed. It will help you get back on track with your goals.
If you can include exercise into your social life, you are only going to benefit as well.
This is killing 2 birds with 1 stone. You get to see friends, but you are also staying in line with your goals.
Instead of dinner and drinks, why not go for a long walk?
Instead of coffee and cake, why not do a class together?
All of these situations highlight the importance of socialising whilst encouraging exercise. Plus there is a good chance your friends will also enjoy it!
Trying to lose weight does not have to be a matter of sacrificing everything for the goal.
You can still lose weight and have a social life. It is about incorporating your goals into your lifestyle.
Having an active social life is very important when it comes to overall health so make sure you are able to get the balance you need by utilising these 5 easy tips.
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