Summer is coming fast. You’ve been working hard and eating clean, and by now you probably have a clear vision of yourself, in bikini shape and ready bask in the sunlight of your efforts. But, wait…who is that formidable figure, casting shadows and strife on your vision? Your boss? You’re better half? I’ll bet that most of us have started off a health kick, only to be met with resistance by the very people, places and things that we need support from the most. Sometimes the offender is obvious; the grumpy spouse who begrudgingly takes on childcare duties while you dash out to spin class, for example. Other times, our saboteurs come as wolves in sheeps clothes. The well-meaning coworker who keeps her candy dish on auto-fill, the girlfriend who can think of no one she’d rather split a brownie sundae with.
No matter who it is dragging you down, your focus needs to be how to stop the cycle. Whether a spouse, friend or even yourself, honest communication is key. Your family and friends may need to be reassured that just because you’ve made the decision to change your body, the love you have for them is not going to change. A host of emotions can arise when someone close to us makes dramatic changes. We may feel insecure about our own lifestyle choices. Sometimes we may feel judged or scrutinized, suddenly inadequate. It’s human nature to compare, and when a loved one transforms, and we haven’t, it’s easy to feel like we’ve been left in the dust. These feelings are valid, so try to be sympathetic towards them. “What about me,” you ask? You don’t have to tell me how much effort comes along with making these kinds of changes. Making it to the gym, packing up your meals, and the dishes- oh, the dishes! By the end of the day it’s been a part-time job juggling all of these things, and you are spent. But a lot of what we’re able to do, depends on the strength of our team, so don’t neglect them! This is a time where a touch of gratitude, and a dash of humility will get you a long way. You are the one who switched the game up, so show your appreciation in any way you can. Gush over your spouse’s attempt at laundry, pre-pay your bestie’s next manicure. Reinforce that while you are spending more time away from them, they’re always on your mind.
Maybe the issue isn’t so much the time spent away from your nearest and dearest, but how that quality time is spent when you’re with them. If you’ve been someone’s standing Friday night Happy-Hour date since the Clinton administration, and suddenly a bar is a danger-zone, resentments are bound to happen. Leave a little wiggle room in your meal plan so you can still go out and have some fun. I’m not suggesting that you sacrifice yourself, just that you be flexible enough that you don’t isolate yourself from those you love. With a little finesse, you can compromise just enough to accomplish your goals without hurting feelings.
Regardless of your specific scenario, the thing to remember here is that you hold the power. We teach people how to treat us, so if you’re firm in your resolve, even the most steadfast saboteurs will have to get on board.
Erin stays busy pursuing her own fitness goals, and helping to educate and inspire those she loves to live healthier lives. A hair stylist by trade, she manages a salon, and is chipping away at a degree, ultimately in dietetics and kinesiology. She lives in South Florida with her husband and a “pound puppy” named Pedro.