I see it all the time: women whose husbands/friends/families/co-workers are unhappy with their lifestyle change.
We never go for margaritas anymore!
You used to make the best fried chicken.
Why don't you want to have a piece of cake?
Are you ever going to skip the gym and come to brunch?
It can be really frustrating to feel unsupported in such a difficult change of habits, but it's important to remember one simple fact:
It's your life, not theirs.
You need to understand just how valuable you are, and that you deserve to dedicate time to yourself so that you can continue to be the strong, badass woman you are.
You are entitled to eat or not eat whatever you choose.
You are entitled to exercise.
You are entitled to feel good about yourself.
You are entitled to time spent focusing just on yourself.
But how do you handle those people who just don't seem to get it? I've got a few tips.
1. Talk to them
Sometimes we forget to look at things from someone else's perspective. It's quite possible that your Saturday night margarita buddy isn't thinking about this new health and fitness journey that you're on and is wondering if the reason that you're no longer going out is because you're upset with them. Maybe your significant other is thinking that you're not making their favorite foods for them because you're daydreaming of someone else.
To us, this sounds ridiculous, but people don't always have the clarity to see things for what they are and often cloud their judgment with irrational thoughts and fears.
Have a conversation with the person making you feel unsupported and make sure that they understand what you're doing and why. You'd be surprised what a little communication can do.
2. Include them
You might skip brunch every week in favor of a #SundaySweat session, but that doesn't mean you need to leave your friends behind! Invite them to your workout and make them feel included. You might think they'll say no, but it's always worth extending the invitation. Maybe there's a cool new class that you can all check out together, then grab a nice healthy lunch after.
3. Attend (differently)
Just because the office is going out for drinks after work doesn't mean you need to be excluded. If you have the time (and if you want to, because remember, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do!), go and sip on a seltzer with a splash of cranberry or a vodka in club soda. Just because you're not partaking in the food or drinks doesn't mean that you can't attend. You'd be surprised at how much fun it is to just be around the people that you like, even when you're not indulging. It's not the food that makes a good time, it's the people.
4. Relay your intentions
Some people think that because you're changing your lifestyle, you'll want them to change theirs. Reassure your friends by letting them know that you're not interested in changing what they eat or how often they workout, you're just working on your own habits.
It can be difficult to not feel judged when spending time with someone who takes better care of themselves than you do (we've all been there!), so let your friends know that you're not Judge Judy, you're just staying the course for your own wellbeing.
5. Break it off
I know this sounds harsh, but hear me out.
I'm not suggesting that you break off communication with every person in your life who gives you a weird look for ordering a vegetarian salad on Taco night. Some people will simply never understand how good it feels to take care of yourself and will always think you're being too strict.
However, if you've got a friend or significant other who really begrudges you this self-care... you might want to consider saying goodbye.
Maybe it doesn't seem like a big deal right now...
He's just upset that I'm not as available now that I'm at the gym more often.
She only wants to party like we used to.
They miss my famous double chocolate cake!
...but what happens when it does become a big deal?
I was going to take the new job, but I turned it down because he didn't want me to be gone for so many hours.
I haven't had time to write my papers because my friend keeps having parties and she gets mad when I don't come.
I should have lost more weight this week, but I didn't because my friends asked for chocolate cake and they felt weird that I wasn't having any.
Yes, there are miscommunications and misunderstandings between people, but there are also relationships in which the other person does not want you to grow or change.
If you've tried everything to get the support and understanding that you're looking for from your friends or significant other, it might be time to move forward and seek out those who will be cheering you on no matter what.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that every moment you spend with someone who is tearing you down, is a moment you're losing with someone who would be building you up.
Having a husband who supports me, pushes me, cheers me on and sacrifices things for me is the greatest part of my life. He knows how important it is for me to feel good, look good and stay strong, and he wouldn't ask me to give that up for anything. You deserve that, so don't settle for anything less.
Happy first anniversary, Simon!
Thank you for believing in me.