No matter where or how you live, you are surrounded by two things in life:

1. Food
2. People

In the last post, I talked about how you can design your environment so you can eat healthily with less effort.

In this post, I will tackle the second part which is vastly responsible for the way we live our life – The people.

You might have heard that you are the average of five people you spend the most time with. This theory also holds true for how healthy you are.

In a study [1],  it was found that presence of an overweight person may lead you to make unhealthy choices. To make better choices, be aware of the influence these people have on food choice.

In another study [2], it was found that even the presence of an overweight waiter may lead you to make a poor food choice. If you’re going to a restaurant with overweight people, you can look up the menu on the internet beforehand and choose your meal which you know is good for you. If you set limits and stick to it, you will feel proud and more in control of your life.

If you’re the one responsible for your family’s meals, adding more vegetables to the meals will not only make the meals healthier and more enjoyable, but it will also make you seem more attentive and loving [3].

As the main chef of the family, one may prepare too much food for the family as a sign of affection [4]. But it may cause more money and food waste. Over-preparation can also lead to overconsumption and even obesity.

Keeping a dinner ritual also helps in maintaining a healthy weight [5]. So, keep the TV off and encourage conversation during dinner and your family will benefit. If you’re not the one cooking for your family, share this article with your family so you all can live a healthier life.

Along with your family, your social circle may also determine how healthily you eat. We are constantly affected by the behavior and presence of other people. We act according to how we think others perceive us. Our behavior is affected by values, personality, and perception of people around you.

Make sure you surround yourself with like-minded people who have similar goals as you. It’s harder said than done but if you’re serious about your health, let’s create a healthier social environment around you.

When you will switch to a healthier lifestyle, people in your life may not accept you. They might have an image of your older version which they like. But, if they truly want the best for you, they will eventually learn to accept the new you.

You should not worry about the ones who don’t because they will only want to drag you down to their level. They are not bad people. They are just different. They may not realize the importance of living a healthy life or they may have other values which are more important to them. Either way, your job is to accept them as they are and ask them to do the same.

Make it clear how important it is for you to make the change if your friends or family who don’t seem to understand. In the beginning, they might take it as a joke but if you keep teaching them about your changed priorities, they will either accept you or leave you. Either way is good for you.

Social support is crucial. So ask them to support you even if they don’t want to make the change. Tell them that you’re doing it for yourself. They might even tell you what you’re doing is pointless as they might have failed before. They will try to pass on their wisdom but you don’t have to accept every advice you get.

They may want the “old you” (who does not care about health) back but it’s not your concern to please these people. It’s their problem, not yours. It’s best to have empathy towards these people. Tell them you understand and don’t want to hurt or insult them. Tell them you love them and encourage them to join you. If they don’t, don’t force them. it’s their choice.

Let them make decisions for their own lives and respect them as they are. But ask them to respect you in return. If they don’t respect you, you can set clear boundaries or if possible, you can get rid of them.

You don’t have to ditch all your friends but understand how you’re friends are affecting you. Don’t focus on the friends who can’t support you. Focus on the ones who are supporting you and find new ones who will amplify your goals.

When you have friends who support you, you don’t have to worry about the ones who don’t. You will notice that as you focus on the right people, more of them will attract in your life and others will fade away from your life.

If you can, find three types of people in your life:

1. Who eat healthier than you (Role Models)

These are your role models. Take inspiration and get influenced by these people. They don’t have to be your friends. You can find virtual influencers online by following blogs or YouTube channels.

If you’re more affected by talking to people, you can also find a coach to keep you accountable and give support.

2. Who have similar goals as you (Accountability Partners)

These are the people who will support you and keep you accountable by taking the journey along with you.

3. Who are less healthy than you but want to make changes (Mentee)

These are usually your close friends or your family members. You can share your experience with them and if they join you, you’ll have a better social environment around you.

Lead by example to inspire your friends and family. Encourage them but don’t force them to change. You can only hope they will join you and live a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes, they might not join you in the beginning, but they may join you once they are ready to make the change.

Be brave, be positive. Gather the courage to make the best out of the difficult social situations you will face. Be who you want to be. Don’t get peer pressured into living a “normal” life. Remember the reason you’re doing it for and share your reason with your friends to let them know how serious you are.

Good luck.

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