I’ve experienced several situations where the pressure seemed like too much to deal with. I gave in. One of them being the pressure of fitting in and “having fun” like everyone else.
But what I realized is I was the only one that would have to deal with being unhappy with my decision. I was going to be the only one to have to feel sick from eating a food I shouldn’t have eaten. It was me that would have to put in the work to get back on track.
Making a conscious effort to approach social settings mindfully and prepared helps a lot when on a weight loss routine. Weight loss doesn’t leave room for weekly cheats and slip ups when trying to keep it consistent and significant.
So below are five methods I’ve used for improving my self-discipline on a weight loss routine.
The first method I use to improve my self-discipline on a weight loss routine is to be mindful.
Entering a situation with your goals in mind is a HUGE HELP. Reminding yourself how much effort it took to get to this point of your weight loss journey, keeping in mind how well you’ve been doing, and reminding yourself of what it will take to start over are all helpful things to think about when entering a social setting where temptations are lurking.
I remind myself of how difficult it is for me to get back on track after I’ve fallen off. I think about the cravings and binge eating and how sick and out of control it makes me feel.
Basically, I think about all the things I would have thought about after a cheat before the cheat.
Also keep in mind what you’ll like the outcome of the situation to be. How will you like to feel when the party is over? Will you like to feel disappointed in yourself and negative about your decisions? Or will you like to feel accomplished and proud of yourself for the healthy decisions you’ve made?
The second method I like to use is going prepared. I eat or pack something.
Going prepared to a social setting is one of the best ways to protect the body against cravings and the mind against justification.
Eating is definitely important. Avoid going hungry at all cost. I don’t know how often I’ve went to an event hungry and justified my decision to “just eat something” because I was hungry. Going hungry is a huge mistake.
But going with your blood sugar stabilized, and your tummy satisfied, dramatically lowers your chances of craving foods and your mind running a series of thoughts that’ll eventually place your weight efforts on the furthest to the back burners.
Drinking plenty of water is another great way to remain in control. Being thirsty and lacking enough water can also be misinterpreted as hunger and cravings.
Make sure to stay hydrated and drink water when at the gathering. It also helps to drink sparkling water. It is more fulling and makes you feel like you’re drinking more than “just water.” I love water, but hey sparkling water is definitely an awesome stand in.
Another way to go prepared and improve discipline is to bring your own food. This usually only works with family gathers, events that allow packed food, and pot lucks.
Bringing your own food not only makes for great conversation, but it is also a way to keep yourself occupied and feeling included if you’re not quite at that level of not focusing on the food of a social gathering. Make a small plate, nibble, and baby sit your plate for a while.
Going prepared to social gatherings by preparing your body with blood sugar stabilization, hydration and with bringing your own food just in case helps keep the mind strong and you on the right track.
No Wishful Thinking
The third method I learned was to quit wishful thinking.
Wishful thinking got me in trouble often. Wishing I could eat like other people and still lose weight made discipline hard to stick to and eventually I’d cheat anyway.
Think Negatively of All the Things You Know You Shouldn’t Eat
Since going paleo years ago, I’ve learned a lot about highly processed foods, what are put in these foods, and what terrible things these foods have done to the human population as well as the ecosystems of many animals and our environment. There’s nothing really beneficial about these highly processed foods accept for they provide some extremely poor form of nutrition for those in poverty and cause your pleasure receptors to “light up” so to speak. They might taste ok (debatable), but besides that they do nothing and cause more harm than good.
It helps to remind myself of all of this when entering a social gathering or encountering nagging peer pressure. Instead of thinking about the taste of the food and how “good” the food might make me feel at the moment, I keep in mind all the reasons why I’ve stopped eating these “foods” to begin with. They’re not really foods!
Another negative to keep in mind is the blood sugar deregulation that will for sure occur. Then what about how long it might take to get your glucose numbers back in check? Is it really worth that slice of pizza, those cookies your annoying co-worker brought in, or that vodka and cranberry that cute guy offered you from across the bar? I would have had to think hard about the vodka and cranberry, but no. No, it isn’t worth it.
Instead of thinking about what “good” you think will come out of eating that donut or froyo, think about all the bad things that made you walk away from your old habits to begin with.
Don’t Take Peer Pressure Personally
It took you some time to get to this point in your health journey. You didn’t wake up one day knowing all you know about food and the keto lifestyle. So expecting your friends to get it and fall right in line with your lifestyle is a bit much. It is best to not take their request for you to “join in” personally and to just understand they’re simply not there. And maybe never will be.
I used to take the peer pressure so personally that I would actually sacrifice my hard work and goals to make my friends feel comfortable. They would complain about me being too strict and not having fun with them. I actually had one friend convince me to drink with him because we hardly ever spent time with each other like we used to. Because he didn’t understand my mission, nor my change in perspective on food and social settings, he took personally my denial of alcohol. So to make him feel better, I took his ignorance personally and obliged him.
Taking peer pressure personally can guilt you into giving in to make friends feel better and more comfortable. But approaching peer pressure as if it is ignorance helps you see that the problem isn’t yours to fix. You’ve got a mission to stick to and their feelings about what you’re doing isn’t going to hinder that.
Preparing yourself for social settings and arming yourself against peer pressure might take some practice and serious thought, but it is definitely worth the strength gained by surviving. Remaining mindful, going prepared, not wishing I could eat those damaging foods, reminding myself of all the negative things about those foods, and not taking peer pressure personally has helped me get stronger with application. The last party I went to, I ate nothing but keto friendly foods. I was so proud.
Social settings don’t have to be a scary thing when getting into a new healthy routine. Becoming stronger and practicing will power does take time, but by applying any of these 5 pointers regularly to social settings you’re sure to see improvement. Your consistent discipline might be a bit shaky, but with persistence you’re sure to get better. Stick with it.