As a Whole30 coach and consumer I wanted to share with people how to make friendship work when changing up your health. Often times people can feel isolated when they embark on a health journey (especially if our friends are not focused on bettering their health) because our habits start to look different from our friends and we aren’t really sure how to incorporate ourselves anymore when dining out seems to be the primary point of contact. Why does dining out matter? Well, as a culture it’s what we do! Catching up with friends or spending time together typically involves food. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad thing but when I first started changing my habits and health I needed to and wanted to socialize in other ways than with food (considering that the thought of food seems to consume you when you are beginning a new eating program or trying to change a habit). To be honest I am over having subpar salads when going out to eat and have created my best memories with friends not around the table!
Whole30 can drive people to be a little hermit-y. They aren’t sure how to socialize now that their eating plan is so drastic from their friends, the confidence isn’t there to actually call the shots, or they believe that if they can not go to happy hour with their friends then there must not be a whole lot else they can do.
My encouragement to you is this: Lead out and be consistent!
It may be weird at first for you and your friends to do something out of your regular routine and you may get push back but leading out can yield some awesome results for you (you stick to your commitments to bettering your health which could lead to your friends having a deeper support for you because they see the changes you are actively pursuing), your friends (may be inspired to pursue their own health if not already by seeing you still enjoying life and eating in a way that makes you feel your best), and the relationships you share!
1. Hiking – I love hiking with friends! Often times there is not a lot of cell phone service meaning there is not a lot of time for two friends to be hanging out in the same room but not talking thanks to our screens. This leaves lots of room to really dive deeper into your relationship and have some awesome conversations that otherwise wouldn’t happen had distractions not been present. I get to know my friends on a deeper level this way and that is something that will serve me in the future and as our relationship continues to grow! The other great thing about hiking is that anyone can do it! You don’t have to take a rigorous trail. Start easy if your friends are not use to hiking or nervous about their fitness abilities out on a trail.
2. Community Events – People always ask my how I know about a certain event or place to visit and it’s because I enjoy experiencing my community! I am blessed to live in a metropolitan area where there is always something going on. In most cities i’ve tried to find events I am able to hop on the city website and find their calendar for upcoming events. This is everything from art exhibits, parades, festivals, etc.
My technique is the following:
- Go to google
- Type in: Events happening in ________ (your city) this weekend (or I type in tonight/tomorrow/particular month or date depending on when I am looking to attend an event)
- Look at my results!
3. Sports events – What I love about this is kind of a hangout is that people pretty much do what they want when it comes to eating! Some people eat whats there and others don’t but the pressure to eat is lessened versus you and your friends sitting down to eat and not being able to find anything on the menu and then opting out!
I must mention (because it’s happened to me) that emergency food is IMPORTANT during sporting events! If you didn’t eat before going there is a big possibility of being hungry during. I love stashing a chomps in my bag to get me through! Bad things happen when Bree is ravenous!
4. Game Night – Yep. Lame. But also not! A good game night means conversation and laughter! Bringing everyone together and again learning new things about those closest to you! Have everyone bring their favorite game and rotate homes that you host in or shoot play at a local Starbucks! Again, this is neutral territory where people bring snacks and drinks to share but the focus is not on the food! The pressure is off. If there is something compliant to eat awesome or heck bring something yourself but if not that is okay too because the focus is on the games!
5. All things Groupon – I’m known as the queen of Groupon with my friends. I love Groupon because it allows you to try something new at low risk cost! This can be things like painting classes, comedy shows, indoor skydiving, horseback riding, and special community events just to name a few. There have been PLENTY of times where I find things in my community that I never knew existed and my friends and I are able to experience something new together. Typically we end up having a great time and end up going back in the future or the experience was questionable and we get a great laugh out of it!
It has actually become far and few between that I remember spending time with my friends and a particular meal we shared. I remember being together but the details are fuzzy.
Improving my health habits has actually deepened the relationships I have! Some of my favorite memories have come from the thing we are doing rather than the thing we are eating. They are memories I will look back on years from now and be able to share the stories that accompany them.
Make memories. Make them often. Honor yourself. Pursue you. Be grateful for your people!