Maintaining exercise and healthy eating habits isn’t always simple. When you first start a fitness regime, you may well be sticking to your meal plan, drinking plenty of water, working out regularly, and getting at least eight hours sleep a night.
But then your best friend’s birthday comes along, you spend the night drinking champagne, end it with junk food, wake up feeling fragile... and miss your Zumba class. It happens - but there are methods you can put in place to make sure your social life isn’t compromised by your gym life - and vice versa.
You don’t need to cancel all your plans in order to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle - all it takes is some clever planning. If you’re on a victorious goat-hitting week and your friends throw an impromptu invitation for a cheese and wine night your way - you’re going to decline. But do this more than once and you’ll soon burn out and start to feel isolated. Instead, plan get-togethers in advance, so you know when you’re going to have a ‘cheat night’ and actually enjoy it.
Invite your family/friends to work out with you
If you can’t beat them, join them. Bring your sister to an aqua aerobics class, take your best friend for a jog around the park - as well as spending quality time together doing something different, you’ll also be improving your own workout game.
Learn to say no
Don’t want to go out? Say no. Don’t want to drink at that work party? Say no. It’s one of the simplest words to say - but it’s actually quite hard when it comes down to actually saying it. You know your body, your limits, and what you can take on in order to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Stop feeling guilty
Be it food guilt, alcohol guilt, or post-holiday guilt, continually feeling guilty about enjoyable aspects of your life can eventually accumulate to stress - and the stress hormone, cortisol, can actually play a role in weight gain. It does this by sending your body into a fight-or-flight response. Your body thinks you’ve used calories to deal with your stress (even though you haven’t), in turn giving you the urge to replenish these ‘calories’ by overeating. If you do go to that party or have that indulgent dinner date with a loved one, enjoy it.
Take a ‘helicopter’ view
By taking a step out of your everyday schedule and viewing your life in ‘helicopter view’, you can bring all of the things you want to do into balance. If you want to go to the gym five times a week, see your friends and family regularly, and focus on your career, this Wheel of Life tool can help.
Look at the areas of life that are important to you: this could be your physical wellbeing, learning a new language, seeing your niece at the weekend, and write then down on your life wheel. Assess each area, looking at the amount of attention you’re currently devoting to each and compare that to your ideal level. Once you have a visual of your fitness and life, working out the balance becomes much easier.