Did you know that in the U.S., 68.5% of American adults are overweight, and 34.9% are considered obese? In the last twenty years or so, obesity rates have been steadily on the rise, which, not surprisingly, coincided with the increase in processed, nutrient-lacking, chemical-laden food-like substances. Staying healthy today comes with a whole slew of challenges, both from a financial and personal standpoint. Luckily, though, many stores offer fruits and vegetables at wholesale or discounted rates, especially if they have produce that they plan on throwing away after hours. You can also find great deals at farmer’s markets and local co-ops.
However, what if no one around you shares the same goals of living a healthier lifestyle? Humans naturally want to do what those around them are doing, and don’t like to stray from the norm, for the most part. People bond over meals, and if one person eats differently than the others at the table, that can lead to them feeling left out and isolated from the group. So, how can you keep up a healthy lifestyle when other people around you don’t seem to care?
Here are 5 tips to stay healthy when people around you aren’t:
1. Try to find a support group or workout buddies in your area.
According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, people tend to lose more weight when they workout with friends or family. In the study, two-thirds of participants who enrolled in a weight loss program with friends kept the weight off six months later, while only a quarter of those who signed up on their own achieved the same results. You can check out local Facebook or Meetup groups in order to find people in your area who share your goals, or, you can try hassling your friends to get off the couch and get active with you.
Support matters when you want to change your lifestyle, and you need to surround yourself with those who will get you closer to where you want to be.
2. Focus on your own goals, and let others live their lives as they choose.
When cutting out junk food and making the commitment to exercise more, it can be tempting to push that lifestyle on others because you want them to feel as good as you do! However, they have to make that decision on their own to leave unhealthy habits behind and join you on your journey to better health. If you live in the same house with people who don’t take care of their health, just put all your energy into living the best way you can, and be the example for others. Once they see how vibrant and happy you are from nourishing your body and mind, they might open up and be ready to learn new information.
3. Offer to cook or make salads for your friends/family some nights.
A great way to stay on the healthy train is to prepare meals for other people who you share space with. Not only will this ensure that you eat healthful, wholesome foods, but others will have a nutritious meal, too. Plus, putting together a dinner as a family makes a great bonding experience that will benefit everyone involved. Not to mention, if you have leftovers, that’s one less meal you have to make, which means no one can use the “But I just don’t have time to make healthy food” excuse.
4. Go to restaurants that offer healthy options.
Going out with friends can really challenge one’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle. However, if you pick a restaurant that offers some healthier options on the menu, you can still enjoy your time with friends while sticking to your guns about eating better. People make eating healthy more complicated than it needs to be sometimes; as long as you do what makes you feel good, and make the best effort to honor your lifestyle choices, then you have it pretty well figured out. Your friends might try to pressure you into indulging in unhealthy foods (which you can and should do in moderation), but just remember what ultimately makes you feel best, and feel confident in your choice even if you’re standing alone.
Just because you have salad on your plate while they have steak and potatoes, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time and enjoy their company.
5. Contribute to the grocery bill each week so you can have healthier food options (and maybe encourage others to eat healthy foods, too).
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This probably applies mostly to teenagers and young adults who still live with their families, but even if you don’t control the weekly food budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t offer some say in the matter. You could set aside some of your money to contribute to the grocery bill each week, or if you can, buy your own groceries entirely. This way, you can keep up your healthy lifestyle without others complaining about the costs of healthier foods.