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How do you Transition to A Healthier Lifestyle when Your Friends and Family Aren’t On Board?

Cocktail Party-3photo © 2009 Gordon Flood | more info (via: Wylio)We get it. Trust me. Your social life consists of happy hours, shows, clubs, game nights and get-togethers. All that revolve around drinking, food specials, and late night fast food runs. So just how do you transition into a healthier lifestyle without feeling like your are losing out on your social life? Here are a few tips on how to make YOU a priority and get your friends and family on board with you.

1. Your friends will support you. No seriously, if they are your friends they will support you. By cutting out bar-time and happy hours you are freeing up more money and time for a healthier you. And your friends really aren’t at the bar alllll the time. Invite them over for dinner, the big game, or head out to a movie, show or coffee. Are your friends still fixated on hitting the bar? Then make your choices realistic. Do you know that you love barcardi and cokes and will down them faster then you can say “I want french fries and a chocolate shake at 2 a.m.?” Perhaps you should pick a drink that you know you like, but that you drink slowly. For me, that is wine, bloody mary’s or cider. I find that I sip these drinks slowly and order far fewer drinks than if I was drinking mixed drinks and sucking them down through a straw. Find your slow drinking drinks and sip them throughout the evening while focusing on enjoying your friend’s company.

2. Make you a priority. Will the night really be ruined if you show up an hour later because you wanted to get your workout in? No. Once your prioritize your exercise, you will be surprised how quickly friends and family will adjust when you tell them: “No, I’m sorry, I won’t be able to make it until 9.” You don’t even have to explain yourself.  One thing many of us are guilty of is explaining away your decision to exercise. “I’m sorry, I just really wanted to get a work out in.” And before you know it, your friends have persuaded you to ditch the workout and meet them out early. In the future, instead of giving them an explanation, simply give your friends a time that you can make it.

3. Find friends or family members that are in a similar position. Do you have friends that are working on less cocktails and more cardio? Pair up with them for workouts or healthier social activities. Having a friend who is in the same boat as you is an excellent support system!

4. Craving late night snacks after a night out? So you spent the night out, and, as your system isn’t used to being up so late, you’ve got those late night hunger pains and cravings. Resist the fast food and gas station options at 2 am! While McDonald’s, Qdoba, and frozen pizza all sounds awesome at that time, prepare for this before you go out by having healthier options at home. Try whole grain crackers and hummus, triscuits with a sprinkling of mozzarella and diced tomatoes, eggs and toast, or even an english muffin with peanut butter. Granted, the snacks are late night carbs, but after eating a small amount you will probably realize that you aren’t as hungry as your cravings originally indicated.

5. Make a savings goal. Start a savings goal for all the happy hours you skip. Wanting to do a long weekend of shopping in Chicago? Create a chart and skip the happy hours and bars. Estimate how much you would spend in a week and put it in a jar.  You won’t miss the money and will be surprised by how much you save!

6. Bring the social life to you. Invite people over in an environment you can control. One bottle of champagne has significantly less calories and costs about 75% less than at a bar. Prepare healthier cocktails and foods and make sure that you have cleared out all binge-worthy foods. That way, when people do head home, you won’t be left with food that you snack on. You can even send your guests home with any leftovers to ensure that it gets taken out of the house.

7. Create goals. There comes a time in your life where you have to transition your lifestyle. Be it cutting back on partying or needing to lose weight, by creating healthier goals for yourself, you set up a sense of purpose.  Be it “the year of the abs,” or starting a new business, when you create goals that take your focus off of being lonely, or less time at the bars, or less time to indulge in unhealthy behaviors, you will create a greater sense of self satisfaction for yourself. And a goal doesn’t have to be huge… it could simply be committing to be more organized or picking up a new hobby. Explore your options!

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