Balancing social and challenge life
Starting a fitness/weight challenge can be incredibly daunting. In particular, many people fear that they will need to sacrifice their social life, and eating foods they enjoy. Going out may seem like a bad idea, as we come face to face with peer pressure and temptation. While completing a challenge does require some sacrifice (they don’t call it a challenge for nothing!), it doesn’t mean you have to give up everything. In fact, it is quite important to maintain a balance between completing your goals and having a social life, as this new way of living needs to be sustainable long term.
We have four top tips to assist you with balancing your social life and challenge goals:
Make sure you plan ahead
Ask yourself how many times are you going out this next week? The answer is what will determine your approach. If you’re out several times a week, it might be time to reconsider whether this eating routine is fitting in with your health goals. If you’re out 3 times this week, you may take a stricter approach on 2 occasions and indulge slightly on the third. If it’s a one-off occasion, you can afford a little indulgence- within reason of course! In fact, a little indulgence throughout a challenge may actually help. For some people, cutting out certain palatable foods can be detrimental because when you deny yourself something, you end up wanting it even more!
Use the 90/10 rule
A good way to approach your social life is using the 90/10 rule (i.e. eating by the book 90% of the time, and flexible 10% of the time). For example, if you typically eat three main meals and three snacks each day, this amounts to 21 main meals and 21 snacks per week. Therefore the 90/10 rule allows you to have two main meals and two snack/alcoholic drink indulgences per week.
Eat mindfully and enjoy
Make sure you give yourself permission to enjoy the occasional treat! Eat slowly and mindfully to get maximum enjoyment and satisfaction from a smaller amount. That way, you get all the enjoyment, without needing to go overboard (i.e. the ‘all or nothing’ approach). Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are comfortably full.
Choose what you really want to eat/drink, what you’ll enjoy the most, and leave out any extras. If you really want to have a pasta, then perhaps skip the alcohol and bread that go along with it. If you want to eat without restriction on a Saturday night out with friends (within reason!), make sure you have a clean week of eating, and hit the gym a few times. If you want to have a few drinks after work on a Friday, make sure you supply healthy office snacks, and stay away from the chips! It’s all about finding that balance!