Hitch Fit Living Magazine Volume 8 - September/October 2016 - Page 27

When you decide to embark on a healthier lifestyle, you may fail to consider all of the obstacles that hinder your success. We primarily focus on actions within our control such as resisting unhealthy foods, making sure to exercise regularly and getting enough sleep. It is often the case, nevertheless, that factors outside ourselves can be just as derailing. Without careful preparation these roadblocks can be risk factors for falling off the proverbial wagon. Upon meeting a new client, I always ask “What does your social support system look like? How supportive are your family, children, significant other, co-workers, friends, etc.?” Generally, I find that most people are surrounded by others who want them to be the healthiest version of themselves possible. A problem arises when their support becomes more than lip service and also begins to impact their lives. If you live with a significant other or have children it may be challenging to find foods that are both healthy and acceptable to your family. Additionally, it may be difficult to arrange for childcare during the times you’d like to work with your personal trainer or go to the gym. Put yourself in the shoes of your family members. What would make them more apt to support you in your healthier lifestyle? If you have a significant other, ask them to join you. Couples training sessions are not only more cost effective, but can improve program adherence through increased accountability. If you have children, ask them to go grocery shopping with you. Educate them on what constitutes a well-balanced, healthy diet and enlist their help when making selections. Co-workers can be great sources of encouragement or potential obstacles for your goals. Do you work in an office environment where food is always present or eating out every day is the norm? It may be difficult to turn down the daily invitation to go out for lunch and you may feel that you are hurting coworker’s feelings by rejecting their offers. Alternately, there may be a potluck lunch where you bypass most of the food because you know it isn’t in line with what you should be eating. Having the courage to explain you are on the path to a healthier lifestyle and want to stay true to your goals can often be the shining example others need to make a change in their own lives. Your strength is contagious. If others are inspired to start making better decisions on their own, it can make your workplace a much more positive environment. Finally, consider your group of friends. What do you usually do for fun? Do you go to bars and drink, dine out regularly or sit around playing video games? When reflecting on how you socialize there are both dietary and activity considerations. If you find that most of your time with friends is spent eating and/or drinking, that can be a huge roadblock for you. The usual hangout spots may be a no-go. Going out two or three times a week to get pizza and beer with your buddies is a non-starter for getting healthier. Similarly, sitting around for hours staring at a TV while you play XBOX is not going to help you lose weight. Examine how you spend time with friends. Try to steer your activities away being food/drink centric. Find a local park to go hiking on the weekend. Volunteer together at a non-profit. Take a fitness class together. Spend a few moments examining your current social network. How can you make those supports stronger? How can you build your circle of supporters? By planning accordingly and finding encouragement from those around you, the likelihood of attaining your fitness and health goals will be dramatically increased. James Townsend is a Hitch Fit Transformation at our downtown Kansas City location. Contact him for one on one personal training at jamesfitnessllc@gmail.com