Is Your Healthy Lifestyle Causing You to Outgrow Certain Friendships?
So you have decided to embark on achieving some health and wellness goals, which likely includes overhauling your diet and increasing your physical fitness activity level. Great! You tell your friends and family about your plan. You receive encouragement and support.
Usually this works out just fine, and people start noticing how great you are beginning to look and feel, as the improved you emerges. You may even start to look YOUNGER.
You might take up a new hobby, or learn a new sport or activity that you have always wanted to learn, but you don’t have existing friends who share your interest in learning the same activity.
That’s perfectly okay, because your new self will suddenly become noticeable to another group of people who relate to the new you! But what happens when a friend or relative likes the old you better? They want to go out for drinks and don’t want you ordering a non alcoholic drink; what about that plate of nachos drowning in cheese and sour cream?
The worst of all is when, you emerge as the new you, fit, happy, confident and that one friend you shared the all you can eat buffet with during happy hour cocktails is suddenly feeling left in the dust and may even call your healthy pursuit a narcissistic obsession.
Commitment to a healthy lifestyle can certainly impact friendships and relationships. It is natural for people to bond over shared interests and activities, and if one person in a friendship is committed to a healthy lifestyle involving fitness and a healthy diet, while the other person is not, it may create a divide between them which is rooted in fear of change, and triggers inadequacy in the friend who doesn’t want the relationship, or person, to change.
This may even happen with couples. I have experienced this myself. Sometimes in relationships this may equate to starting out fit and growing overweight over time as your new partner who is not athletic seems to want to fatten you up (this happened to me once, years ago).
I started out on my own shopping at Victoria’s Secret and somehow ended up being gifted with flannel pajamas from Costco, up 15lbs, and realizing I diminished my health and external appearance to make someone else feel secure in our relationship. I gave up my gym membership and stopped working out in order to keep evenings open for this person since I worked all day in an office. I no longer recognized myself.
If the friend who is not committed to a healthy lifestyle feels judged or left out because they are not interested in fitness or healthy eating, they may begin to distance themselves from their friend who is. Alternatively, if the friend who is committed to a healthy lifestyle feels like their efforts are not respected or supported by their friend, they may also start to withdraw from the friendship.
However, it is important to note that friendships are complex and multifaceted, and commitment to a healthy lifestyle is just one factor that can impact the sustainability of a friendship. There are many other factors such as shared values, personalities, and life circumstances that also contribute to the strength and longevity of a friendship. Ultimately, the sustainability of a friendship will depend on how well both friends communicate, understand and support each other.
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