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Don’t go it alone…

Posted by on May 10, 2013 in FiM Offers, Living Well

Don’t go it alone…

You’re watching what you eat.  You’ve sought out some guidance to help you get exercising effectively. You may have even gone so far as to start noticing your thoughts, and choosing to focus on what’s positive and productive.  Hooray! Congratulations, you’re taking control of your health.  That’s awesome, and please let me personally celebrate you.  Now, how are you going to stay on track?

You see, I’m a realist, and I know that life happens.  New habits are tested, challenges come up… so how do we keep our health and wellbeing a priority, in those moments when it seems like a big ol’ stinky, nasty chore, just standing in the way of our fun life?

I think the there’s a key for that, tucked nearby… as close as our dearest friends.  When our friends are walking the same road that we are, we’re not struggling to take care of ourselves in spite of the fun our friends want to have together.  Instead, getting active and healthy together becomes a natural part of the fun we all share.

I’ve seen this play out a few times, in my own health journey.  I’ve always been fascinated – sometimes in fun ways, sometimes in rather painful ways, by fitness, food, and wellbeing.  (I don’t think healthy living really comes easy or naturally to anyone raised in our culture).  For a long time now, I’ve known that vigorous exercise is something that my own system needs most days of the week, for my energy levels, weight, and general outlook on life to stay stable.  I do enjoy many forms of exercise, but like most people, for years my workouts were still something on the todo list – just a chore to check off so everything else would keep working okay.  Inevitably stressful times, vacations, or just the general sense of “I don’t wanna” would come up… you know, those times where any extra burden just has to be set down.  Exercise would just have to wait, while I tend to XYZ other catastrophe (or excitement) that was arising that week.  It’s remarkably tricky how, even for a fitness professional, who knows 100% that exercise is critical and probably the last thing we should set aside in stressful times, the mind gets so twisted by stress that self-care can start to look like a luxury we can’t afford. (Or a chore we don’t want to “waste” our vacation time on.)  Often, for me, no amount of knowledge to the contrary would change the way my priorities looked, through my stressed-lenses.  So sometimes, I forced myself to work out anyway, when I just wanted to go be a blob with some friends.  Too often, the workouts just didn’t happen.

A few years ago, I joined a new dance class, and made some really amazing friends during lessons and rehearsals at the studio.  The vigorous exercise that I needed was now something central that my friend group and I shared, through the conditioning work we did to make ourselves better dancers.  Suddenly, instead of exercise being a chore that I had to do instead of playing with my friends, workouts became one of our favorite ways to play, together.  Even vacation time – where I consciously set the todo list aside altogether, had exercise in it.  Workouts happened naturally, out of fun and friendship, instead of obligation.

About a year into these dance studies, I took a 3-day cruise  (my first — a ton of fun!) with one of my dear friends from dance class.  For me a cruise is the ultimate in indulgent, potentially unhealthy decadence — all you can eat and drink, none of the normal daily life routines to keep healthy habits in check — and a great time to “get away from it all”.  We had an amazing time — sure, we ate a little too much, and picked up a little too much sun by the pool, but moving our bodies was such a big part of our lives in common, that we both agreed afterwards our favorite part of the cruise was the tough, the laughter-filled, tough workout we put each other through in the gym overlooking the sea.  Because exercise was something we shared, it was just something we naturally wanted to do together.

It’s the same with food, and with any other healthy habit we’re working to establish.  I’ve often been the loner in my friend group who’s trying to experiment with different ways of eating more healthily, in spite of the gang’s rally cries for pizza night.  Now, several of my closest friends have also taken on exploring healthy food choices, as a curiosity, and a game.  Just like the workouts with my dance group, now, much more often than before, we choose foods that are good for us, because it’s something fun we do together – not in spite of the fact that we’ve gone out to have fun together.  We don’t always make healthy choices, but it sure comes a lot more naturally to do so, when we’re in it together.

So, how can you involve your friends and family in your health journey?  Instead of sitting on the couch chatting at the end of the day, can you reconnect over the sweet jasmine scented air and beautiful spring blooms, on a walk through the neighborhood?  Is there a sport, or a dance class, or a different way of eating that you can get excited and curious about – together?  If you’re the competitive type, how can you rope your friends into a competition around who can get the most workouts in, over the course of a month?  There are a ton of ways to share health with friends, and I’d love to hear some of your ideas.  Please do share in the comments below.

As one more bit of help, to get you friend-supported in your health journey, we’re now offering Tell-a-friend training rewards.  Want someone who understands, to complain with about what a torturer your trainer is?  Want to share those morning stretches you know would make you feel better, as a wake-up game with your spouse?  Want someone walking the same path to brag with about how strong and agile you’re getting?  We’d love to welcome them to our fitness family.  Send them our way, and we’ll thank you with a free session for each new friend who signs up for ongoing training with us!

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Someone special might need this article, please share with love. Get your friends to join you on the healthy train. It’s just so much more fun, and so much easier.
With love and health!

Heidi

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