We are all capable of being the most organised, disciplined, educated and pure when it comes to our diet and exercise habits but what happens when something throws a spanner in the works of your healthy regime? Life as a young 20-30 something can present a myriad of curve balls when it comes to staying on track. Below are a few common problems I have personally experienced.
Competing Interest #1 – You’re trying to refrain from booze but a good friend needs you and is desperate to chat over a bottle of wine
A friend of mine wrote to me recently with this problem. This is a tricky situation – how can you navigate around it while still being a good friend but not sounding holier-than-thou with your newfound booze-free purity? Alcohol is our nectar, our social lubricant and something we all gather around with anticipation. Turning down a tipple can be very difficult, even for the most stoic of us.
In my experience, people tend to react very negatively when you tell them you are not drinking for a certain period of time. Whether it’s taken as an insult when they reflect on their own drinking behaviour, or whether people feel it is less socially acceptable to drink alone in a party of only two, these attitudes make it very difficult to stick to your ground. In this situation however, the answer is simple: suggest to meet for a coffee instead, or even better, invite your friend out for a long walk or run. Not only will you be out in the fresh air, pounding the pavement, but you can chat all your worries away at the same time. Another added bonus is that you save on both calories and money in one hit! If your friend is a true one, he or she will respect your decision not to drink. If not, move on and find another friend to hang out with.
Competing Interest #2 – You’re getting slammed at work and haven’t had time for a workout in over 2 weeks
This is an age-old dilemma. Unless you are prepared to wake up at 5.00am to hit the gym (which, let’s face it, many of us aren’t), fitting in exercise around hectic work schedules can be nigh impossible.
Depending on how flexible your workplace is, there are several options you could take here. The most obvious is using your lunch break to exercise. This doesn’t have to be a marathon run – simply switch your heels to running shoes and walk around your work neighbourhood for an hour (or as long as your lunch permits). If you have time, instead of walking, hit the gym. Look up gyms or gym classes in your workplace area and go along. You could also try a new yoga or pilates class in your area. Getting your work friends involved too makes it a social event. Burning calories in the middle of the day will clear your head, boost your post-lunch metabolism and crank up your productivity for the afternoon.
If exercising in your lunch break simply isn’t an option (and neither is starting work early and leaving a bit earlier) approach your boss about signing up your workplace to a charity fun run or other exercise event. Explain how exercise boosts morale and encourages staff members to bond and therefore aids in productivity. Training for the event will bring countless opportunities to exercise during work hours and may even bring out the competitive side of your co-workers.
Failing that – make your weekend workouts count. Get outside and enjoy long runs or sign up for as many gym classes you can. Exercise can slide nicely into your social life too if you allow it, so ramp up these occasions to catch up with friends.
Has anyone else experienced any competing interests where your health and fitness priorities are compromised? Flick me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to offer some solutions.