We often find that people who work in office environments struggle to improve their nutrition the most.
This might seem odd; the majority of offices and similar work environments are in busy built-up areas surrounded by loads of supermarkets and cafes offering good, basic nutrition. Some might say the prevalence of cafes and shops on every corner is part of the problem – food, and food marketing, is everywhere. But we’re firm believers if you want to stick to your diet, you can.
So why do people in office environments struggle so much?
In my opinion this is largely down to their friends and colleagues. It’s not intentional…ok, well sometimes it is…
Time for some role play.
Sarah is trying to lose weight. She has been overweight for a while but now she’s made the decision to try and improve her health, her confidence and her figure. She’s really enjoying the process, however, as we all know, sticking to a nutrition protocol can be difficult – but she’s determined and doing her best.
Over the last few years, Sarah has built up a good social circle of people around her at work. In the past, she went out for lunch with colleagues every day but now they go without her as she eats her meal (prepped in advance to avoid temptation!) at her desk. But they often bring her a ‘little treat’ back to the office with them.
Sarah’s friends know she’s trying to lose weight. They also know that a fudge donut probably won’t help her lose weight at all – so why did they buy it?
Is it because they don’t like Sarah and they want her to fail? Are they jealous of her motivation? Or were they just being thoughtful and didn’t want her feeling left out?
It could be a little bit of those, but I think it’s got more to do with a much more basic, almost ‘animal’, trait.
Most groups are built on individuals having similar traits (have a think about your social circles and the similarities you all have). Sarah met her colleagues while she was overweight. This is the person they know: overweight Sarah. Not lean, healthy, motivated Sarah. Sarah’s friends aren’t being malicious and wanting her to fail. However, they are being destructive towards her goals – the simple reason for this is that they, consciously or subconsciously, want her to stay the same so she doesn’t impact or become destructive on the established social group.
If you are in a similar position to Sarah, here are our top five tips to deal with it without offending your friends or becoming an outsider to the group:
- Enrol them into your lifestyle. There’s nothing more motivating than a gym buddy and it gives you a chance to share your new-found passion for a healthy lifestyle with your closest friends.
- Make sure your friends understand why you’re doing it and how good it makes you feel. Once they realise what they’re doing is undermining this feeling and hard work, they will be much more inclined to help, rather than hinder. Without being demanding, show them how they can help you – and don’t be afraid to show them the results too!
- Tie your ‘cheat meals’ into social events – make the most of being able to eat a little more freely when you’re with your friends and this removes the pressure to fit your lifestyle around a group of other people. Alternatively, try to be the one to organise social gatherings and then you have more control over where you meet (and more importantly, where you eat!). In Sarah’s case, when her friends go out for lunch, she could still go with them but maybe she could choose a venue which suits her nutrition? Or she could go and just have a snack/drink which does fit her nutrition, and then she won’t feel like she’s missed out or cheated on all her hard work.
- Say thank you. If your friends and family have been supportive, remember to say thank you and tell them how much their support is helping you achieve something you’ve always wanted to do. This will maintain their encouragement for your new lifestyle way beyond the usual ‘I can’t hear another word about how much Sarah loves the gym’ comments.
- Keep your chin up. Sometimes you will be surprised at how people react to your new nutrition, training or lifestyle. It can be unpredictable, hurtful and demotivating. DON’T GIVE UP. Either they will come around to it and be supportive, or they weren’t a good friend in the first place.
If you would like to introduce a friend to Pioneer Performance, we’re offering a £50 voucher for you and a friend when they access our 1-2-1 personal training services. Contact us today to speak to one of our trainers.