SHARE IN GOOD HABITS TO KEEP FIT BY DINING WITH A FRIEND
Workout with a friend & dine with a friend. Good news – if your friend is a healthy eater you may make better food choices, too! Simply put, we use what others eat as a guide for our own eating behavior. People are prone to mimic the behaviors of others that they want to affiliate with, often without conscious awareness. Simply observing others making lower-calorie food choices increases the likelihood that you’ll make similar choices. More than “monkey see, monkey do,” this reflection of action is with intent and direction.
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Positive messages in your environment work, too. Reading a daily affirmation or reminder about healthy eating can also impact decisions and actions at mealtime. Consider signing up to receive a daily inspirational quote to your phone or email each morning. Subscribe to our blog to be notified of new Living Healthy articles.
So what does that mean if you are a healthy eater, but your meal partner is not? Consider the dining opportunity as your chance to model healthy food choices and intake for him or her. The effect is subtle and can happen over time with repeated occurrences, so no verbal discussion about nutrition or health with your friend is necessary, which may be construed as unwanted “advice” and end up being counter-productive. Just set a good example of eating nutritious foods in appropriate portions, and order first if you are at a restaurant.
If your wider social circle regularly consumes unhealthy foods, don’t conform to the majority! They may unwittingly undermine your intentions to be healthy. Keep in mind that when others ask you to share in their indulgences, they don’t just want you to enjoy that specific food or drink, but may really be looking for your acceptance and approval of their choices by your participation. It generally takes three polite “No, thank you” responses before people quit asking. Your demonstration of self-restraint might be the influence they need to do the same.
This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.