Looking after your health and fitness is paramount in getting the most you can out of your life. When you take care of yourself, both your physical and mental wellbeing benefit hugely. What is equally important is supporting friends and family who are trying to improve their health and make better decisions towards their wellbeing. Speaking from personal experience, it is extremely difficult to undertake a lifestyle transformation on your own. When I was on my 25kg weight-loss journey I didn’t have a trainer, a gym membership or anyone to work out with or motivate and encourage me with my training or healthy eating. Although I succeeded in turning my mental and physical health around, it was extremely hard to do it all on my lonesome. If you have friends or family who are trying their best to become a healthier version of themselves, don’t scoff at their efforts. This can be disheartening and discouraging for someone who is already out of their comfort zone trying to make positive changes in their lives. Here are some easy and positive ways to help your friends and family become healthier and happier people:
Photo: Setting off on the journey of a healthier lifestyle can be daunting. Supportive friends and family can make all the difference.
1. Offer to go for a walk, bike ride, hike, round of golf, game of touch or do anything active with them. Having someone to exercise with can help you feel more motivated and comfortable. If you don’t feel like exercising, knowing that you’ll let someone else down (and not just yourself ) gives you that extra push to commit and get it done.
2. If you have knowledge about nutrition, offer to help them with the eating side of things and guide them toward an eating plan that will work with their lifestyle and be an improvement on their current eating style. Trying to negotiate your way through the nutrition minefield and the overload of information online can be daunting and confusing. If you can help a friend or family member with some simple advice or guidelines, that could be an absolute godsend for them.
3. Give compliments and encouragement. If someone looks like they have lost weight, gotten fitter or achieved a health milestone, let them know! Sometimes, when you’re struggling in your health and fitness journey, all you need is a small compliment to pick you up and get you back on track.
4. Offer to join a gym, club, exercise class or sports team with them. Having a social environment to train in really helps with motivation levels. If they aren’t a gym person that is totally fine; there may be a sport they really enjoy but they have felt too shy or self-conscious to join on their own. Team sports are social and positive, and you don’t even realise you’re working out because you’re having so much fun.
5. Organise social activities that support their new lifestyle. It’s no use planning a fish and chips night and making your friend or family member feel guilty for either partaking or not partaking in the fish and chips meal. Instead, organise an activity that will encourage their healthy lifestyle, such as a massive picnic with plenty of salads and healthy foods for everyone to enjoy. Socialising doesn’t have to mean eating unhealthy foods. You can still have fun and enjoy yourselves without creating an awkward atmosphere around someone who is trying to eat healthy with a massive pile of fish and chips in front of them.
It is extremely hard to make changes to your lifestyle to improve your health and fitness. It takes a great amount of dedication and discipline. But the support of friends and family offering to do workouts, sharing nutritional knowledge, offering to join sports teams and organising social activities that support their new lifestyle, can help immensely in their health and fitness journey.