THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL SUPPORT

Having the support of friend and family has been shown to be such an important factor throughout your health and fitness journey.  Being surrounded by people who  eat badly, drink excessively, smoke and don’t value exercise and fitness, makes your health and fitness journey more challenging, particularly in the early phases, when you are more vulnerable to peer pressure and giving in to temptation.

What to do?

Turning your back on friendships is never first choice.  I personally have some amazing friends who don’t value their health (at least not to the extent that I do).  Some I would describe as physical very unhealthy, but they’re good people, and great friends that I wouldn’t want to lose.   My advice to overcome the pressures imposed on you by friends who don’t share your desire to change and become healthy:-

  1. SPEAK TO THEM:   

Be open about your decision to embark on a healthy lifestyle, your reasons, your goals, what changes you will need to make, and how they can support you. They will likely appreciate your honesty and want to support you.  If they don’t respect you enough to take you seriously, or they’re not interested, or you feel you can’t speak to them, perhaps they’re not such great friends, and you need to make the decision to spend less time with them, or distance yourself completely.   Chances are, good friends will listen, they may need time to adjust, but they will in time accept the changes, support you the best way they know how and even make lifestyle changes, themselves.

  1. MAKE NEW FRIENDS:  

Make friends with people in the same boat as you through  for example, Sleekgeek.    Share your experiences, go to park runs, join a gym, join a hiking club or start your own activity with friends you meet.   The more time you spend with like-minded people to support you, to celebrate your victories and pick you up when you’re down, the greater your chances of success.    This is particularly important if you find that you are not receiving the support you need from old friends and family.

The important thing to know is that you are not alone and with a bit of effort, you can surround yourself with all the love and support you need to succeed.