• Pay it Forward: Encourage Others

    Adopting a healthier lifestyle can be a challenge if your family and friends aren’t on board. It can come as a shock to many of those who are trying to improve their health that not all of your loved ones may fully support you or encourage you. Whether you've had a hard time finding support or been showered with it, now is the time to return the favor to someone else facing the challenge.

    Helping others is an intoxicating feeling. The support system you can build with your family and friends will boost your confidence and increase the chances of success long term. If you’d like to start involving your favorite people in your new lifestyle, hoping some of it might rub off, try out these 10 tips:

    1. Make Grocery Shopping a Family Affair: You can help support healthy eating among your family by bringing them with you when you go grocery shopping. Allow everyone to help with meal planning. Focus on healthy meals but remember that overly strict diets can be very off-putting to family members who aren’t ready to jump on the health bandwagon.
    2. Plan Family Events around Exercise: Rather than making family day about board games or a movie, take your loved ones outside for a bike ride, tennis, hike, or just a stroll in the park. Once you get out and start moving, everyone will start feeling energized. Allowing each family member to choose an activity for the group on family days gives children responsibility and ensures everyone is having fun.
    3. Adopt a Dog: Dogs can really encourage families to be more active. If you have the time and money to care for a dog, consider adopting a pooch. Walking or jogging can seem boring when you’re by yourself. Dogs encourage you to exercise more and have fun.
    4. Play with Your Kids: If you have children, you might find yourself sitting on the park bench while they run around and play. Rather than sitting on the sidelines, get out there and play with them. It's great for your relationship, gets you moving, and encourages children to stay active themselves.
    5. Take Walks After Dinner: Coordinating walks during the day can be nearly impossible for some friends and family. Schedule a walk after dinner in the early night for your family and neighborhood friends. Not only will it be cooler out but walking after dinner is great for digestion. In fact, many people find that light exercise later on in the day helps them sleep better at night.
    6. Go on Picnics: Plan picnics with family and friends rather than going to a restaurant or diner. Walking out to the location and back to the car is a great way to sneak in exercise. When you’re out in nature, you’re less likely to overeat since your brain is more distracted by the location, other people, and the activities going on around you.
    7. Ask Coworkers to Walk with You on Break: Sitting in an office all day can really take a toll on your health. When you are able to take breaks, get up from your desk and go for a walk. Encourage coworkers to walk with you. You’ll find that many people who normally don’t take the initiative to go on a walk won’t turn down an invitation from a friend.
    8. Bring Healthy Snacks to Share at the Office: If you have a fairly close-knit office, bring healthy snacks for your coworkers to partake in. Rather than bringing cookies, try veggie snack trays or homemade treats. You can even include a few recipe cards for people who want to make it themselves. This is a great way to create community and promote healthier eating without being forceful.
    9. Encourage Active Employee Functions: Speak with coworkers and higher-ups about planning employee functions that revolve around an activity. A softball game is a classic, fun event that employees can either watch or get involved in. A group picnic afterwards is another incentive and a great way to bond.
    10. Share Your Success and Support Others: Don’t be afraid to share your success with family and friends. For example, if a coworker inquires about your new figure or a meal you brought, use this as a time to bring up your own changes and always let them know if they want more information, you’d be happy to help.
    The Bottom Line Involving friends and family in your new lifestyle is inspiring and encouraging for everyone.

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