Sometimes when you’re on a diet it feels impossible to leave the house. Calorie counting, scheduled eating times, dietary restrictions, and portion control are all pretty difficult objectives to prioritize in a public social setting. Moreover, the frequency with which social functions revolve around food and drink and unavailability of truly healthy choices when dining out combine to make maintaining your diet and a social life simultaneously a major chore.
But having weight loss goals and a social life are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to have your cake and eat it too. And by “cake” we of course mean “modestly portioned fruit cup”. Here are some tips and tricks worth keeping a focus on for how to navigate the often difficult waters of staying true to your diet without annoying, alienating, or avoiding your friends in the process.
Tip #1: Plan Ahead
Set yourself up for success before you ever leave the house by planning ahead. It can be incredibly easy to fall off the dieting wagon in the company of friends during the spontaneity of a social setting. It’s a common struggle for dieters: you’re out with a big group of friends, someone suggests grabbing a bite to eat, and next thing you know your arm is moving cheese fries into your mouth despite your otherwise focused dedication to weight loss.
These accidents of dieting in the heat of the social moment are precisely why you need to leave the house with an agenda already in mind. Decide where you’re going, what you’re doing, and what you are able to eat before ever embarking on a social call. Most restaurants have menus and nutritional information available online these days. This makes it possible to position yourself for dieting success before heading out of the house.
Beat your friends to the punch in suggesting a restaurant or activity where you know your weight loss goals will not be compromised.
Tip #2: Know When to Keep Quiet About Your Diet
While your diet is very important to you, you can’t expect that it will be a priority to many others outside of your closest circle of friends. It’s usually not necessary to bring up the fact that you’re on a diet in the company of a social setting. Sometimes it can even be flat-out counterproductive and incite peer pressure from others who lean on food as a crutch.
Your diet is a personal goal and it’s okay to keep it just that: personal. You do not need to justify to anyone else your motivation for wanting to lose weight. As a rule, unless you feel a strong urge to share with someone that you’re dieting, then don’t. You’re never under any obligation to tell others that you are on a diet so unless it seems imperative or beneficial to do so, it’s quite alright to keep quiet.
Tip #3: Be Active with Friends
Being social does not have to be all about sitting down at a bar or restaurant to catch up while munching on fried appetizers. Quite the opposite, it can be a chance to get some exercise and have fun while doing it.
Recreational sports leagues, hiking trails, bike paths, and public parks all offer the opportunity to sweat a little in the company of friends. Build your social life around a physical activity and hanging out with friends can become something that advances your weight loss goals rather than detract from them.
People generally love the idea of joining a recreational softball league or throwing a Frisbee around a park, they’re just waiting for the right invite to do it.
Tip #4: Take Charge as a Social Ringleader
Dieting is all about self-control. Apply this mentality to your social life by grabbing the reigns and taking charge of your social interactions. This helps prevent situations where following someone else’s agenda leads to temptations to break your diet.
It’s much easier to maintain the parameters of your diet when you feel like you are in control at most times. Contact friends and schedule get togethers that jive with your dietary restrictions. For the time being, it’s okay to say no to social invitations in order to stay in control of these engagements by organizing them yourself.
Tip #5: Find an Accountability Partner
Finding an accountability partner can be a marriage of dieting and being social that is beneficial to both objectives. Life’s struggles and challenges are always easier to get through when you can share them with a friend who truly understands what you’re going through.
Whether its a friend who starts on a diet with you or a local support group for people trying to lose weight, having someone to talk to about your diet can meet multiple needs at the same time by providing a social outlet through which to reinforce your determination to lose weight.
A diet accountability partner can be a highly valuable tool towards helping one reach their weight loss goals without sacrificing every form of social interaction in the process.