It may not often feel like this, but the reality of life is that you have control over most things in your life, including the people in it. You may not be able to change family or the people that you work with, but you CAN impact how you interact with them and how much you gain and/or benefit from those relationships. When you start taking stock of your every day reality, you just might find that your social support these days could use a tad bit of love in order to give yourself the support you deserve. Check out these five signs your social support may need an upgrade and some tips on ‘how-to’!
They heckle you rather than cheer you on
It’s safe to say that we’ve all been out with friends or colleagues and experienced a round of twenty questions when it comes to your food choices, new ‘diet,’ workout program, or _____ (insert any healthy lifestyle change). For starters, how unfortunate that they can’t inquire in an encouraging way and help remind you of your good choices?! This could’ve been a great opportunity for all involved to make some healthy decisions, when instead you are made to feel a fool. If you notice this more than on one or two occurrences with your so-called ‘friends’ or social support system, I’d say it’s time to reevaluate your relationships with those people. It like the old saying, “Friends for a reason, season, or a lifetime.” People serve a distinct purpose in our lives oftentimes, and maybe during this time in your life there are some people that you don’t necessarily need to de-friend, but maybe just politely distance yourself from. As your healthy way of life and eating behaviors become more habitual for you and you gain more confidence, then maybe start to connect more with these friends again.
Tip: Be honest and ask for help. If you are open and genuine with your friends and family with your health and fitness goals and ask for support along the way, they should be supportive of you and realize it’s important to you. Being vocal about your new healthy habits will also hold you more accountable to those changes!
You don’t listen to their advice
Think you’re never guilty of this? Think again. We’ve all sought advice of some kind, and taken some and left others. Maybe it was for good reason. Or maybe it wasn’t the right timing to hear the advice given. Whatever the case, if you find yourself seeking advice, affirmation, etc. from your social support network, yet more often than not decline it, ask yourself, “Why?” Maybe you no longer value that person’s input, or maybe it’s not the info you want to hear. Self-reflection can always do you good, and in this case, if your social support isn’t benefitting you, maybe you need to look elsewhere for support. Do you have colleagues, friends, family or other resources you could turn to for guidance?
Tip: Different people in your life may serve different purposes. You may go to one friend with all your drama, and another for advice with your kids. Make it a priority to engage with many people you know. You may find that each provides support to you in their own way.
You no longer have things in common with them
This actually is not uncommon as we start to switch up our daily lifestyle and focus more on healthy habits. You may start to realize that people you once had more in common with may not be who you’d like to be around frequently now. Your happy hour hangout crew may not seem as appealing, so instead you invest time with after work, work-out buddies! It may even be that you may not feel as close with some of your long-time friends anymore. And you know what, that’s OK! One of the traits of friends and friendships is that they should be supportive, and if you’re noticing that isn’t the case, give yourself permission to grow your support network to include people you do have things in common with and that you can turn to.
Tip: Consider your interests and hobbies and seek out groups in those areas you could join. Are there yoga classes or cycle classes you could try and meet people with similar interests as you?! This can be a really great way to build relationships and include a new fun activity into your repertoire.
Your plan is the same week to week
Having a plan is awesome! Having a plan that doesn’t include variety and progress is not. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to set yourself up for disappointment sooner rather than later, as eventually you’ll hit a plateau. We’re all creatures of habit in some regard, but when you reflect back on your week(s) and cannot pin-point when and/or where you added in new foods, new workouts or new lifestyle activities, it could be a sign that your social support could use a boost! Do you have someone you know who is progressing in their health and fitness that you could turn to for questions and support? Maybe this is a time to branch out and try a new workout class or consider small-group or one-on-one personal training?!
Tip: Be proactive! One of the best pieces of advice that I can give you is to utilize the resources accessible to you. Life Time has endless opportunities available for you in a variety of areas — and our staff members are eager to help you succeed. Check out one of the new cycle classes, swim laps in the pool (and then relax in sauna afterwards) or my new favorite – a BodyWorks deep tissue massage. Not sure the best way to get connected with someone at your club? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help facilitate this for you!
You go to the same few people for advice
Expand your horizons! For starters, if you’re only turning to a small handful of people for support, you would more than likely benefit from adding in a few others to the mix. Hopefully this smaller sub-set of people at least provides some great support and accountability for you, because one person can only do so much. Some of my clients in the past have had their best success when they branched out a bit, maybe even to someone they may not have thought of initially. As life changes, it puts us in different places and frame(s) of mind. It might just be the perfect time for a change-up and a new addition to your support crew.
Tip: Check out social media! There are thousands of apps, groups, guru’s to follow, etc. that are right at your fingertips. While it isn’t face-to-face, interacting on a digital level can often lend a lot of support! I personally get a ton of motivation, energy, and excitement from many of the people I follow on social media. Follow Life Time Weight Loss here: https://www.facebook.com/lifetimeweightloss/?fref=ts for easy access to healthy recipes, fitness info, and the latest news on healthy nutrition!
Which of the five signs above resonate most with you?! Luckily, there are things you can do to help upgrade your social support. What’s your next step to continue making healthy gains?
In health, Becca Hurt, MS, RD - Assistant Program Manager - Life Time Weight Loss
This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.