Have you ever noticed when you make a major change in your life that everyone seems to have an opinion? It’s not uncommon for the negativity and discouragement to come your way if you’ve begun to live a healthy lifestyle – improving your nutrition, moving more, shedding some excess weight all seem to show you exactly who’s in your corner (and who’s against you) when it comes to achieving goals. But, how do you deal with friends and family who just don’t get your healthy lifestyle?
It might help to understand why people are negative and unsupportive about your healthy lifestyle. There are so many reasons – jealousy, envy, affordability, ignorance or a fear of being left out of your new healthy active life! Ultimately, it’s important to remember it’s their issue – not yours. But, it’s handy to know how you can deal with unsupportive or negative people in your life. Here’s 6 ways…
1. Share your ‘WHY’
Your WHY or the reason you’ve chosen to live a healthy lifestyle is your compelling vision. It should be what drives you to achieve your goals. Therefore, if you share it you can give meaning to your friends and family. In theory, you shouldn’t have to justify your ‘why’ to anyone, but the more you do, the more understanding you’ll receive. People bring their own experiences and perceptions when making judgements about you. By sharing your WHY, a negative statement from a friend like “You don’t need to exercise so much” may turn into “Good on you for being so dedicated to improving your fitness to run around with your kids”.
2. Include your friends and family in your healthy lifestyle
We are creatures of habit and it’s natural for people to avoid change. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that your friends and family may inadvertently try to stop you from changing. Instead of fighting against them, try including them. Invite them for a brisk walk instead of a sit-down coffee or introduce some healthy snacks to your next function, like Active8me’s homemade Spiced and Roasted Edamame. Find it in the Active8me app today!
3. Remember it’s YOUR goal
There’s nothing worse than someone trying to force their ideals, beliefs and goals onto you when you’re just not interested. So, don’t do it to your friends and family. Yes, it’s great to be open and seek support for your healthy lifestyle. And yes, it’s great to encourage others to live a healthy, active life. But you’ll quickly find your friends and family become defensive and feel you are ‘looking down on them’ for their choices. This often results in them attacking your lifestyle. So, remember it’s your goal, your life, your choices not theirs! Remaining consistent and setting a good example is often a powerful influence.
4. Be open about your struggles
Living a healthy lifestyle is not the easiest thing in today’s fast food-convenient-instant gratification world. So, yay to you for persisting. But, lets get honest. Has it been smooth sailing or have there been a few hiccups to changing your lifestyle? Being open about the challenges you’ve faced (and still face) in living a healthy lifestyle is often a great way for people to become more accepting of the ‘then and now’ changes they see in you. Living a 100 percent perfectly healthy life is a myth – don’t propagate it by denying that it takes work! You’ll often receive more support from honesty and vulnerability than making it look like everything is easy.
5. Seek support
One of the biggest factors contributing to *successful* weight loss – meaning you maintain a healthy weight for life – is support. Surround yourself with people who are living your health ideals. Hang out with friends who eat healthily and exercise regularly. More importantly, seek their support by letting them know how you feel and become accountable for your healthy living. Remember this can be real or virtual friends, like those in the Active8me community. You’ll also find that your negative and unsupportive friends have less of an impact on your outlook.
6. Balance and consistency over restriction and binges
Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to refuse every kind offer of your grandma’s almond cookies or the office party birthday cake. But it is important to identify that you’re having them as a treat, not because you feel pressured or obliged to eat them. We know that it’s sometimes hard to execute the polite decline without offending friends and family, but by remaining consistent you give the message that it’s your life choice, not a temporary restriction. Consistently living a healthy lifestyle of balanced eating and exercise sends a far clearer message to friends (and your body) than ‘cheat days’!
“It is health that is real wealth…” – Mahatma Ghandi
Choosing to live a healthy, active lifestyle is invaluable. Having the support and positive encouragement of your friends and family is important. However, remember your mindset is the most powerful tool you have for dealing with the negative people in your life. Active8me tries to make living a healthy lifestyle as easy as possible for you. The Active8me app has all your nutrition, workout and mindset needs covered to keep you on track. It’s like having a dietitian, personal trainer and lifestyle coach in your pocket.