Let me begin this post by sending out tidal waves of gratitude to my friends who serve as part-time photographers, boyfriend who acts as my personal trainer, and family who reminds me that you definitely have to add egg to 99% lean ground turkey if you want an edible meatball. My gal pals ran by my side in my first 5k, my bae spots me on leg day, and my mom whipped me up a personal ramekin of gluten and dairy free mac and cheese for the holidays. I am really, truly blessed with an incredible support system. From the bottom of my heart, y’all are the real MVPs.
I believe that, through the ultimate act of self love, my health and fitness journey has allowed me to be a better version of all the roles I play: from friend, to girlfriend, to daughter, and everything in between. Sure, a few of my preferences have shifted (read: once a Friday-night bar hopper now a Friday-nigtht produce aisle hopper), but change is at the root of all progress, and my healthy habits have only proven to provide me with endless opportunity.
Navigating social gatherings as a #fittie can seem challenging, especially when a looming misperception exists that a healthy lifestyle is synonymous limitation or sacrifice. And to that I say bluntly, “Oh, hell no!” All those good – and potentially greasy – things that come with social gatherings and your goals are not mutually exclusive. That’s right, girl, you can have your #SquadGoals and #SquatGoals, too. In fact, in a balanced life, you gotta have both. In my opinion, health must refer to total wellness; that is, emotional, mental, physical, and social well-being.
Here’s what I’ve learned from being the token fit-friend:
- No Judgement Zone. I encourage you to be honest with your closest friends and family about your health and fitness journey, your goals, and your choices. Don’t be afraid to say, “Allow me to reintroduce myself, I’m Alex and my health is extremely important to me.” Presenting your peers with the opportunity to fully understand your lifestyle will allow them to serve a more supportive role. You might even be surprised to discover a yogi-buddy or running partner you never knew you had! Remember, just as you can ask your loved ones for their unconditional support, you should extend the same to them. Always lift each other up and encourage each other, free of judgement.
- Engage Your Pals. Got a group text and nowhere to be? Round up the squad for a fun fit-friendly activity that supports your goals. Get in your LISS with a hike or HIIT at the trampoline park (seriously, so fun and SO SORE). From beach volleyball to skiing the slopes, your options are endless from coast to coast. Top it off with a tasty trip to your fave FroYo shop, you deserve it!
- B.Y.O. If your girls-night-in involves pizza with a side of pampering, but a gooey, greasy slice isn’t on your personal menu – don’t pass! Instead, B.Y.O.Dinner to the party. Show off your kitchen skills and share something important to you by prepping enough for your ladies to taste. And hey, if you decide you want that slice after all, go for it girl. (Tip: this is the perfect time to opt for a Craving Compromise! My fave thing to pack is a wheat wrap with all the nutritious fixins)
- Plan It Out. The gangs all here… and they came bearing temptations. Defend yourself by entering into social settings with a solid plan and a full belly. Whether it’s sweets, grease, or bubbly, determine a plan for how you’d like to treat yo’self that works for you. Stick to the plan and enjoy it, sister! (Tip: Prior to a Saturday night of booze with your buddies, work a well rounded, nutritional meal into your plan and fight off cravings for late-night eats. Alternate alcoholic beverages with water and you’ll be up and at the gym in no time.)