On Healthy New Years Resolutions

This post was inspired by Greatist‘s article on what to do when people annoyingly undermine your healthy choices.

It’s here, people. The New Year is upon us, which means that it’s time to make some resolutions. Some of will resolve to drink less coffee, others will promise to try harder on their schoolwork. A few of us will commit to spending more time with our families while a couple of us might aim to pass a little less time on Netflix (I’m not saying that’s not one of my resolutions). Whatever your resolution is, I wish you the best in the coming year on your goals!

Let’s be honest here. Many of us are going to commit to eating healthier and getting fit. This might mean eating less pizza, consuming more kale, trying some insane fitness trend (e.g. Crossfit) or signing up for a race (e.g. Tough Mudder, Marathon). I commend you on any of your health goals; all of us could stand to be a little more healthy. I try to eat as healthfully as possible but do slip up when it comes to peanut butter and sweets. I also tend to get a little lazy when it comes to cooking, especially when I’m at school, and often end up eating cereal for dinner instead of a healthier meal because I just don’t feel like cooking. So this year, I’m resolving to eat less peanut butter (lol we all know this won’t last) and to take the time to prepare nutritious meals for myself as frequently as possible. I also want to incorporate more veggies into my breakfast, odd and specific as that may sound.

What’s the hardest part about committing to get healthy? Other than actually acting on your plan, pressure and judgement from others to divert from your plan can be extremely frustrating. Who else knows what it’s like to make a healthy choice when out at a restaurant and to feel judging eyes staring at you and your plate? And then you feel pressure to eat something unhealthy in order to fit in and to avoid the judgement. Or when you choose to get up early to workout rather than laze around and sense judgement from your friends? It seems ridiculous, but getting judged for choosing health is way more common than we think.

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When it comes down to it, no one has the right to judge us for our health or fitness goals. In fact, choosing health is admirable, if you ask me. There is nothing wrong with electing to treat your body well and to care about what goes into it.

So what’s a new years revolver to do when you’re judged for your healthy choices?

Greatist offers a number of suggestions. If you’re at a celebratory meal or party and offered a dish you’d rather not indulge in, say that you’re full and would love to take a plate home. Then you can do what you want with your doggy bag. If you’re being questioned about your slimmer or more fit appearance, say that you’re feeling better than ever and that your doctor or trainer says that there’s nothing to worry about. When in doubt, go ahead and change the subject to something other than your health.

If friends are ordering something unhealthy for lunch or dinner, check out the menu for a healthy alternative and say that you aren’t hungry for something heavier or that you had a heavy lunch. If you’re out for a meal and choose a salad over something less healthy and get flack for it, say that greasy food (or whatever your cuisine of choice is) tends to hurt your stomach and you’d rather stick with something healthier. When someone teases you for working out so much or asks how in the world you enjoy physical activity, suggest that they join you in a fitness class or for a workout! What better way is there to bond than sweating it out in a pilates or spin class together? Head for smoothies or salads afterwards for an opportunity to chat while grabbing a healthy bite.

For our college-age readers, one of the most challenging situations is when alcohol is present. Overconsumption of alcohol is a sure way to derail or delay your fitness goals. So what’s a gal or guy to do when you’re at a bar or party and being offered a drink that you don’t want? Drink water, soda, or juice. The latter two can look like a mixed drink even if there’s no booze in them. When you’re really pressured to drink or have already been bought something, pretend to sip or sip as slowly as possible. Once you’ve got a drink in your hands, others are much less likely to pressure you to drink more. If someone shoves a shot in your face and suggests that you take them together, say that you’ve got to wake up early the next morning and don’t want to drink too much (my personal favorite). Another excuse: you’ve got a lot of work to do this weekend and need to be at the top of your game AKA not hungover. Offer to be the designated driver if a car is needed to arrive at a bar so that you definitely can’t drink and hopefully won’t be pressured to.

In the end, true friends and loving family members should not judge you for your choices. If they’re commenting on your dietary or fit lifestyle, they are probably just concerned for your wellbeing out of love, not jealousy or resentment. But if you do feel judged, remind yourself that the only person to whom you have to validate your choices is yourself. Don’t let others control what goes into your body, how you feel, or how you look. We only live one life and our choices are up to us. Make the choice that’s best for you, whether than means french fries, green beans, an intense lifting session, or a day off from the gym.

Wishing you a happy new year full of joy, laughs, success, and love.

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-G

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