Ways to stay healthy without sacrificing your social life

Sticking to your healthy regime can be tricky, especially during holidays and festive season. It sometimes feels like one is sacrificing their social life. But it need not be so. Here’s how to indulge during this season without falling off the healthy wagon

1. Don’t lose your lifestyle

Eating well and making healthier choices does not mean you should avoid all of those fun outings. In fact, you should go out and socialise. An active social life is a key component to your overall health. Go out and enjoy yourself, but make small changes, such as choosing between having a cocktail or a dessert, but not both. You might also enjoy a small appetiser or two over a large main course and use good judgement about what you order.

2. Plan in advance

It’s a common struggle for dieters: you’re out with your friends when someone suggests you grab some nyama choma and the next thing you know your arm is moving those limbs into your mouth despite your otherwise focused dedication to weight loss. So, decide where you’re going, what you’re doing, and what you are able to eat before ever embarking on a social call. You can even beat your friends to the punch in suggesting a restaurant or activity where you know your weight loss goals will not be compromised.

3. Don’t go out hungry

Attending a dinner with friends, or a party, or going out with friends just to have fun? Sneak in a snack beforehand so, you don’t arrive ready to devour the entire menu. By eating something healthy before you leave, you will stay full for longer and are less likely to be tempted by any unhealthy options put before you.

4. Don’t broadcast your healthy regimen

Your diet is a personal goal. You do not need to justify to anyone else your motivation for wanting to, for example, lose weight. As a rule, unless you feel a strong urge to share with someone that you’re dieting, then don’t. It’s usually not necessary to bring up the fact that you’re on a diet in the company of a social setting. Sometimes it can even be flat-out counterproductive and incite peer pressure from others who lean on food as a crutch.

5. Get active friends

Being social does not have to be all about sitting down at a restaurant to catch up while munching on fried chicken, sausages, samosas and kebabs. It can be a chance to get some exercise and have fun while doing it. Recreational sports such as tug-of-war, hiking, marathons and biking offer the opportunity to sweat a little in the company of friends. Build your social life around a physical activity and hanging out with friends can become something that advances your weight loss goals rather than detract from them.

6. Practice saying ‘No’

Write down on a piece of paper all the ways in which someone might tempt you to fall off the wagon. Then, practise saying “No, thank you!” politely to each one. Watch yourself in the mirror and make sure you smile confidently each time!

7. Take a lot of water

Keep your water bottle with you at all times. It is recommended you take at least eight glasses of water every day. One handy trick is to get a large water jug and fill it with not less than eight glasses of water in the morning and know that you need to finish it by the end of the day.

8. Don’t make food a reward

You need to retrain your mind to see food as fuel and not a confirmation that you’re happy. Happiness is a state of being, not eating. Yes, food is incredibly delightful and should be enjoyed, but don’t look to it as a deserving trophy at the end of the day.

9. Don’t let late nights make you fat

If you pull one all-nighter or miss a few hours each night over a week, your body releases hormones that prompt eating and weight gain. Therefore, even as you have fun and party hard, ensure to have enough zzzz.

10. If you mess up, forgive yourself and move on

If you get a flat tire while driving, would you get out of the car and pop the other three? Of course not! The same goes for your diet and lifestyle. If you skip exercise or eat something you don’t normally have, just acknowledge it and move on. Don’t let that reverse everything you have already accomplished. Keep going!

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