Staying thin or losing weight might seem like a chore when it comes to maintaining your social relationships. After all, it’s not easy to plan a social life around exercise and meal planning. But if you play your cards right, social relationships can have a positive effect on your weight, rather than making you put on unnecessary pounds.
The Downsides of Social Relationships
Thinking about the activities you do with your friends might make you realize why it’s so hard to stick to your diet; so many social activities revolve around food and drink! If your friends’ way of socializing tends to be dinner and drinks, you could be chowing down on hundreds of extra calories every time you go out. Cutting yourself out of these activities can lead to being edged out of the group, so it’s not an easy choice to just skip dinners out.
Marital relationships can also be bad for your weight. Women who are either married or in serious relationships tend to steadily put on weight through the life of the relationship. Single women have a much easier time maintaining a steady weight for years at a time. When you spend most of your time with your husband or boyfriend, it’s easy to fall into the trap of eating too much takeout, not watching your portion sizes and eating in front of the television.
Benefits of Social Relationships
If you have a friend or friends who have the same weight-conscious goals that you have, your social relationships could actually be good for your weight. Going out with friends who are also trying to maintain or lose weight keeps you accountable; it’s easy to rationalize or lie about how many glasses of champagne you have when it’s just you, but a close friend won’t let you get away so easily. Just knowing that someone is watching how much you eat and drink can be enough to curb overeating or drinking to excess.
Some activities are just better when they’re social; exercise is one of them. Having a gym buddy or even a gym group makes healthy weight maintenance a lot more fun. Exercising together can also strengthen your personal relationships.
Using Relationships to Help Your Weight
Instead of worrying about overindulging when you’re out with your friends, follow a few tips to maintain your diet when you go out.
When you go out to dinner with friends, eat a small, healthy meal at home before you go. It will take the edge off your hunger and you can eat a small appetizer or salad at dinner to fill you up. This can keep you from munching on deep-fried snacks all night. Before you begin drinking, eat a healthy snack. Alcohol can cause cravings, and heading them off by eating first can save you lots of calories.
Social relationships can have a negative effect on your weight, but having a weight loss partner and gym buddies makes weight loss and maintenance easier. Find friends who have similar weight loss goals and you’ll have better relationships and a healthier body.