How to Stay Healthy in Social Situations

January 27, 2014

Staying Healthy in Social SituationsMany social situations revolve around food: celebrations, eating out, sporting events. We use food as a way to reconnect with the people we care about. It’s important to have a strong support system, especially while losing weight. However, frequently turning to food in social situations is a slippery slope that can send your weight loss plan in the wrong direction. Don’t let it get the best of you. You can take control of any situation with a few simple tips.

Spread the word! Make sure your friends and family know about your weight loss journey. Share your plan and let them know how they can help. A good support system is the key to success on a medical weight loss plan. If a member of your support team knows you can’t resist chicken fingers, for example, he or she probably won’t suggest catching up at a restaurant where you are more likely to be tempted.

Ask for a to-go box when you order. If you’re dining out with friends, ask for a to-go box when you order and immediately pack up half your meal. Most restaurant portions are huge, so putting half of it out of site from the get-go can save you hundreds of unwanted calories. Plus, you won’t have to worry about cooking the next day because you’ll have leftovers!

Socialize with healthy people. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found obesity can be contagious. Researchers studied the social networks of 12,067 people over 32 years. The results were shocking: A person’s chances of becoming obese increased by 57 percent if a friend became obese, 40 percent if a sibling became obese, and 37 percent if a spouse became obese. However, healthy habits can be contagious too. Make an effort to spend time with friends and family who inspire you to reach your weight loss goals.

Suggest a gym date. Reconnecting with friends doesn’t have to revolve around food. Suggest a healthy activity like walking or experiment with a new exercise class like spinning or Zumba. Studies show physical activity is more enjoyable with co-workers, your spouse, or friends. Plus, working out with a buddy will keep you accountable and help you stick with an exercise routine.

Eat before you go. If you arrive at a restaurant or party starving, your eyes may become bigger than your stomach and tempt you to order or eat more food than you really need. Eat a small, healthy snack to curb cravings before you arrive. Carrots and hummus, a piece of fruit, or a serving of almonds will help keep your head level when it comes time to select your meal.

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