What if I Am the Only One?!

It’s tough being the only person you know that wants to level up your life.

We all have friends, family, and coworkers in our lives who think they’re doing us a favor by telling us to “relax, you’re taking this too seriously,” or “come on, just one won’t hurt.”  They think they have our best interests at heart…but they don’t realize they’re not exactly helping.

Recently, I told you how to get in shape…and one of the most important aspects of that is support.  These are the four types of people that can either be incredibly supportive or unknowingly destructive in your quest for a better existence.

If they’re not helping the cause, here’s how to deal with them.  Game on!

Co-workers

You see these people more often than probably anybody else in your life

For 8-10 hours a day, you share the same building, desk, and lunch room.  Because of that, your interactions with them almost play out like a high school drama complete with cliques, secrets, gossip, and *gasp* peer pressure!

When a co-worker brings in three dozen donuts from Dunkin D’s, he’s embarrassed if he’s the only person eating them…so he wanders around your office, finding other people to help him power through.  If he gets to your desk and you politely decline, you might even hear something like “oh come on! It’s just a donut!” or “psssh, really?  You can’t even eat one donut?”

These are generally the same people who make fun of you for bringing in your own salad and chicken when they’re stuffing their face with McDonalds/Arby’s/Whatever.  If you happen to be a nerd in IT, then this might play out 2-3 times per day as people make runs to the nearest drive-through.

I can remember in my two previous jobs hundreds of instances where my dietary choices (both snacks and meals) were jokingly mocked by my co-workers.

Why?  If your coworkers are unhealthy and uninterested in getting healthy, then the thought of somebody in their office making great life changes, exercising, and adjusting their diet might make them feel inadequate.  Rather than watch you succeed and then feel bad about themselves, they’d rather keep the status quo and drag you down with them.

It’s time to suck it up, and keep your eyes on the prize.  Build a thicker skin.  For the first few weeks, I’m sure you’re going to get lots of funny looks when you bring in your own meals.  You might get made fun of slightly for turning down muffins, candy, cake, donuts, bagels, and whatever else is brought in.  However, as you start to transform, the “why don’t you eat this with us?” comments will start to switch to “wow, did you lose weight?,” then, “how did you do it?” and eventually, “Can you help me?”

The beginning is going to be rough…Be proud to stand out in your office.

If you are in an office of people who ARE interested in getting healthy, try to flip peer pressure into something positive:

  • Find a workout buddy to stay accountable during the day
  • Start a weight loss competition at work – everybody throw in $50 bucks, winners take all
  • Form a running club
  • Have one day a week you all cook a healthy meal together (with everybody pitching in of course)

Friends

I think this is an issue most Nerd Fitness rebels know far too well.

We’re generally part of a group of friends that likes to eat pizza, drink beer, and play The Old Republic/Halo/Modern Warfare 3/D&D for eight hours at a time.  These are people that we’ve grown up with, formed a tight bond with over many years, and do everything with, both in real life and online.

However, you recently had an epiphany and decided you want to get healthy.

The problem is, the rest of your friends probably have absolutely NO interest in doing so. 

When you say “I’m going running,” they’ll say “dude, we need a 4th for this raid” or “screw that, hop on Xbox live!”  When you say “I’m hungry,” they’ll say “how many pizzas do we need?” or “who’s driving to Taco Bell?”

Ruh roh.  These are your buddies!  The guys/gals you hang out with after work on weekends!  Because they might be lazy and unmotivated…it’s WAY easier for them to drag you back down to their level rather than watch you take off and dominate life.  As they say, “misery loves company” – well so do overweight, out of shape, unmotivated people.

Fortunately, there is hope.  You have a few options here…some you’ll like and probably some you won’t like:

  • Get them interested – this is usually a pretty tough sell.  Let them know that you’re trying to live a healthier life and that you’d like their support.  Or, like with your coworkers, start some sort of bet/challenge to keep people interested.  Money is always a great motivator.
  • Go it alone - accept the snide comments, the rude remarks, and go about your business.  They might make fun of you for exercising or running, but who gives a crap?  That’s what friends are for!  To insult you and toughen you up (which is true as long as you look at it like that).
  • Find some new friends - this one is brutal, I know.  And I’m not saying abandon your old group of friends completely, unless they’re truly miserable and really sabotaging your efforts.  It is said you are an average of the five people you associate most with – why not associate with people that you admire and make you want to be a better person?  Find folks who are smarter, stronger, faster, and more successful than you and learn from them.  If you can’t find them in your town, why not find them online?

Family

As the old saying goes, “You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.”

Wait, that’s not the one.

“You can’t pick your family.”

There we go!  You are born into a family – your mom is your mom and your dad is your dad…and you’ve inherited whatever eating habits and lifestyle habits they have.  I get quite a few emails from readers who have out of shape or unhealthy families and are struggling to break free of that mold.

Let’s be honest: nobody wants to be told they’re out of shape or unhealthy.  Although I don’t have any children, I have to imagine it would be even harder to hear those words coming out of my child’s mouth.

Maybe you’re part of an unhealthy, close-knit family…and you want to change your life.

What can you do?  It’s time to channel your inner Captain America.  As productivity guru Leo Babauta will tell you: “You can’t motivate others to do things. The best you can hope for is to inspire them with your actions.”

This is all a change in your frame of mind – rather than thinking “aw man, nobody in my family is healthy and I’m going it alone.”  Instead, it’s “I have an opportunity to change the fate of my family and my family’s future generations.  It starts with me.”  Kind of cool, huh?

Be strong in your convictions - “thanks Dad, but I need to go for a run this afternoon.”  “Hey mom, can I help cook dinner tonight? it’s going to be a healthier option because I’m changing my life.”  Similar to situations with your coworkers, although they might not initially ask for help, after you transform yourself, you might start to get a few emails “hey, your father and I are trying to drop a few pounds, any tips?”

Don’t force them to change – that will absolutely backfire.  Instead, be strong in your stance and set a shining example for others to follow.  Once you start to succeed, you might just inspire change in those you love.

Significant Other

This one is the toughest of them all, and the one I get the most emails about.

You are interested in getting in shape or losing weight, but there are a few problems… The person you’re dating:

  • Is different than you – they can eat whatever they want and not gain weight and don’t see why you can’t do the same.
  • Doesn’t want to get healthy -“can’t we do ________ instead?” “let’s go out to dinner at ____________.”  This person loves spending time with you, but doesn’t have any interest in getting healthy…
  • Doesn’t want YOU to get healthy - heard this before? “but honey, I love you what you look like now, and I’ll love you no matter what!” Oftentimes your significant other doesn’t have the motivation to change and/or doesn’t want to be left behind, so it’s easier to appeal to your emotions rather than make a change himself/herself.

These situations suck. 

But there is hope yet, my friend!

  • Unhealthy spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend?  Find an activity that you two enjoy doing together (besides that OTHER activity).  Hiking, frisbee, yoga, swing dancing, whatever!  Find something that you two enjoy, and find a way to do it a regular basis.  Once you start acting healthy, it’s easier to start thinking healthy and in turn, eating healthy.
  • Offer to cook!  Maybe you don’t do the cooking normally, and the meals are always unhealthy…or you always go out to eat.  It’s time to grow up and learn how to cook a decent meal!  A romantic healthy dinner by candle light is totally gonna score you major points.
  • Let them know why you’re doing it. If you’re dating somebody that says “why change? I love you how you are!” Let them know that you’re not doing it for him/her…you’re doing it for YOU (even if you are kind of doing it for them too).   Explain you want to live a better life, and the support of your significant other would mean the world to you.

Dating somebody who doesn’t have the same healthy values as you is difficult, but not a deal breaker – it’s on you to lead the charge with kick-ass results.  If I were a gambling man (WHICH I TOTALLY AM), I’d bet that your positive changes and improved outlook on life will have a positive effect on your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend.  Don’t insult them for their choices or force them to improve…just be awesome, and they will follow.

How do you deal with it?

The above is just one humble man’s opinion on how to deal with these four tricky scenarios.

I’d love to hear how YOU deal with it.  How do you manage a group of unhealthy friends?  Have you had success in the workplace despite being surrounded by overweight negative nancy’s?  How did you and your significant other get on the same page for healthy living?

Please leave a comment and share your knowledge with the Rebellion – I bet your success could inspire success in your fellow rebels.

The world needs you.

-Steve

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  • Laurence

    ugh my girlfriend and I are both interested in getting healthy its just she believes in conventional wisdom and i dont so im more like the donut guy at the office ! “come on have eggs and bacon they’re actually healthier than that horrible cereal your eating ” 

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  • Luke

    Brilliant, anciano! I have a family that can definitely be unhealthy at times, so this was a great article for me to read….. Now let’s see if it works P:

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  • Guest

    Love this article!! This seems to be a constant battle in my life. And I would like to share this on my blog too…

    I have influenced some of my friends to make changes, but not the friends who I (used to) see often. Those closest to me, tell me I need to lighten up, and I am starting to believe them… I do a lot of the “right” things on a consistent basis but am scared of the slippery slope of the fun/bad things. Especially since I have been gaining weight and/or body fat up from my “perfect body” achievement 6 months ago.

    How to eliminate guilt? How to find a balance? Or how to run with a crowd as nutty as myself? I did an NPC bikini competition, but decided its not for me. Especially since it put me on an even more extreme path and feelings of guilt and self deprivation on so many levels. Now I am thinking a cross-fit might be a good community to get into. The gym isn’t exactly a place to “make friends” especially bc I am not taking the classes, they are not challenging enough for me. SOS.

  • Rachel Massey

    Love this article!! This seems to be a constant battle in my life. And I would like to share this on my blog too…

    I have influenced some of my friends to make changes, but not the friends who I (used to) see often. Those closest to me, tell me I need to lighten up, and I am starting to believe them… I do a lot of the “right” things on a consistent basis but am scared of the slippery slope of the fun/bad things. Especially since I have been gaining weight and/or body fat up from my “perfect body” achievement 6 months ago.

    How do you eliminate guilt? How do you find a balance? Or how do you find a crowd as nutty as yourself? I did an NPC bikini competition, but decided its not for me. Especially since it put me on an even more extreme path and feelings of guilt and self deprivation on so many levels. Now I am thinking a cross-fit might be a good community to get into. The gym isn’t exactly a place to “make friends” especially bc I am not taking the classes, they are not challenging enough for me. SOS.

  • Beth Mastick

    when I joined nerd fitness and took on the whole30 for my challenge, I called a family meeting. My 11 yo son and hubby. I told them what I was taking on and why and shared my excitement. I explained that getting healthy would help me have more energy and be happier so I would be available for more activities and easier to live with. I reassured them that I did not expect them to take on the changes, and that I was requesting their support in specific ways. I will still buy the cookies, but you wait till I leave the dinner table to have dessert. I wont buy any other sweets but hubby can and keep them in his office or the extra freezer. I will cook Paleo but I will supplement their food with things like potatoes or their type of salad dressing and condiments. And of course they are welcome to share all healthy new foods that I prepare.

    I continue to share openly about my journey-when its hard, when I feel proud of myself, all about my nerdsupport folks (love you guys!) and I point out whenever I participate in activities that I didn’t used to be able to do! Now they are my cheering section and they’re willing to “try anything once” My husband thanked me for making a commitment to my health and my son comments on how hard I’m working. Last night my son put his head on my lap and said” I can tell you’re more fit”I said thank you. He said it wasn’t a compliment he just meant that I’m not as “comfortable” as I was. It was the sweetest complaint I’ve ever received. It helps that I told him my superhero is Supermom able to play at a moments notice!

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