I maintain a fairly regimented diet. Sure, I have my cheat moments, but I do a nice job of sticking to my goals. When I do cheat, my snacks generally become part of daily meal plan. When people around me ask for tips, one of my common responses is to tell them to beware of bad influences.
Many people have bad influences. If you do, then you’re not alone. It’s a common problem for people on a regime to eat healthier and get more exercise. Some of the discouraging people may be someone you least expect. Oftentimes, all you have to do is dissociate with them. This is especially important if you’re someone who finds it difficult to stay motivated. Severing ties with them is wise to help yourself stay focused. But that’s not an option with people who are close to you or when you live in the same house with them. So you need to find ways to help yourself stay on track in spite of them. Some people become a bad influence just because their bad habits tend to rub off on you. Others become a bad influence as part of an orchestrated attempt to sabotage your progress. Not everyone you call “friend” is interested in seeing you succeed. Here are a few tips that you may find useful in helping you stray from the temptation of the bad influences :
1. Find ways to motivate and inspire yourself. If your family member or house mate isn’t supportive, try having a talk with them soliciting their help and support. If the talk with them ends up being useless, then you’ll have to support yourself.
2. Next, find people who can help and motivate you. Exercise classes at the gym or a community center is a great place to meet like-minded people who serve as a source of inspiration for one another. You can also find a good body of supportive people online. Sometimes strangers can be more helpful than people in your circle.
3. If you’re someone who has trouble staying on your plan, find a support group where others with the same problem get together and share tips and strategies. Support groups can help you identify problem areas and perhaps even target triggers that always knock you off the wagon (i.e., stress at work, fight with your significant other, anxiety brought on by a sick parent, etc). Once you can clearly see your triggers, you’re in a better position to stop them before you falter.
4. When it comes to your housemates, keep separate grocery lists. If they want to eat unhealthy, there’s nothing you can do to stop them. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat it with them. Let them eat their Fritos, donuts, and bucket of Popeye’s chicken.
5. After dinner, when that other person lays on the couch and calls out for you to relax with them, go for your walk or hop on the treadmill or do a few sets of jumping jacks before you do. Just because it’s your spouse or your sibling or parent or roommate or whomever, that doesn’t mean you have to do exactly what they are doing.
I know it’s easy to fall off the wagon. Believe me I’ve fallen a few times. But don’t stay off too long before you get back on. The longer you stay off that wagon, the more difficult it will be for you to get back up on it. Stay with it and always have a plan A and a plan B and a plan C…because there will always be someone or something to try and derail your plans. Stick with it, by any means necessary. Like Larry the Cable Guy says, “Git er done!”