It’s a Date!–Make it an Active One
After over a year of feeling isolated and not being able to gather with family and friends as we used to, many of us are ready to PARTY. . . or at least grab dinner with some friends. In the past week alone, I have hosted a family movie night (complete with buttery popcorn), attended a ladies’ tea (a champaign and sangria kind of tea), gone out to dinner with friends and gathered with a group of friends for after-dinner drinks. It felt wonderful to visit, catch up, and simply just be together, but I realized – as I woke up this morning feeling a little foggy – that all these meetups centered on food, alcohol, and leisure.
It also doesn’t help that we indulge a little more when we are with friends and in a celebratory atmosphere. If we’re with a group of people enjoying a night on the town or a weekend getaway, we’re likely to treat ourselves to an extra drink or a dessert that we may otherwise resist. So, while I think it so great that we can finally resume some of our normal socializing, we need to be cautious. If we get into the mindset that we are making up for lost time and celebrating our “return to normalcy” with lots of over-indulging, our health will take a hit.
So, here’s a thought. Ditch the idea that getting together always has to center on food and drinks and plan more active events.
One thing you can do is to be the instigator. In your circle of colleagues or friends, suggest get-togethers that require physical activity. Hey, it’s summer, the weather is nice, now is the time to do it. Plan a morning walk with a friend, grab some rackets and play couples tennis, join up with another family for a day at a near-by lake–kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and swimming, start a small workout group (Empower offers small group personal training and it is so fun). When the major attraction of a gathering requires physical exertion, people are less likely to gravitate to the lounge chairs and beer coolers!
Put your fitness first.
Don’t sacrifice your daily workout for the party. Even if you have developed the habit of consistently working out, it is easy to get busy and skip a workout here and there because of a busy schedule or a fun invitation. Before you know it, you will wake up one morning and realize that it has been weeks since you had a great workout. Prioritizing your health means that before accepting an invitation for a social event you plan how you can take part without steering off track from your fitness and nutrition goals.
Be a leader.
Seriously. Did you know that researchers have showed that if your friend becomes obese, you are 57% more likely to become obese yourself? And if your close friend becomes obese, then your chances of also becoming obese rises to 171%! But the researchers also think that it works the other way around. Namely, that while weight gain is contagious, so too is weight loss.1 This means that as you work hard to protect your own fitness level this summer, in doing so you can also have a profound affect on the fitness level of your friends. Be known for health and discipline in your circle of friends.
Finally, one of the smartest things you can do to stay fit while keeping up with your social circle is to get accountability. You don’t have to do this alone. If you have others who are working hard to live a life of vibrant health checking up on you and holding you to your commitments, your chances of staying on track skyrocket. This is also where a great personal trainer comes in. Investing in a professional to help guide your health and fitness program AND keep you motivated may be the best gift you give yourself all year.