Myth: You can’t stay on track with your health goals and still maintain a fun social life.
Fact: Balancing a healthy life and a healthy social life is actually completely doable — if you’re smart about it.
Hanging out with the crew or taking a much-needed vacation doesn’t have to take a backseat to kale and cardio — nor do you have to sacrifice your health goals to accommodate a little fun in your regular routine. Check out these six tips for maintaining an awesome social life without wrecking your healthy habits.
1. SIP SLOWLY
One of the biggest social saboteurs to your health goals can be found at the bar. Alcohol not only quickly racks up your calorie count, but a Saturday night of too much drinking can also derail the best of intentions for a Sunday a.m. spin class. You don’t have to abstain completely, but if you’re going out with friends, try to limit yourself to one drink. If you want to have a few brews, follow the one-to-one rule: For every alcoholic beverage you have, drink one glass of water. This will help you stick with your normal plans in the morning.
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2. PREP YOUR EATS
Eating healthy is a piece of cake when you have total control over your meals — but not so much when you walk into a party full of indulgent treats. To stay on track without staying home, prepare an eating plan beforehand. Before you go, make sure you’ve fueled with a healthy meal so diet derailers like baked Brie and guac will be less tempting. In a pinch, you can even bring along your own healthy snacks, like almonds or edamame.
3. RETHINK BRUNCH
Saturday morning mimosas with the crew can seem like a tough ritual to give up. And you don’t have to! Just add a healthier spin. Rather than skip the squad time you love so much, swap brunch for a healthier group activity like morning yoga and green juice. All of the social time, none of the guilt.
4. ASK FOR SMALLER PORTIONS
Your fear of fettuccini Alfredo doesn’t have to keep you from checking out that new Italian restaurant. When you go out to eat, you can do damage control by asking for smaller portions since restaurants have a tendency to overserve. If the restaurant doesn’t offer a more manageable lunch-size portion, ask your server to box up half of your meal before they bring your plate to the table.
5. GET YOUR GYM TIME IN EARLY
We’ve all set out with the best of gym intentions only to get derailed by a spontaneous post-work happy hour. To keep you from feeling guilty for either skipping Spinning or ditching your co-workers, commit to being an a.m. gym-goer. That way, no matter what your day throws at you, you can feel good about not forgoing your fitness routine.
6. UP YOUR TRAVEL GAME
Rather than book your beach time at an all-inclusive resort where you’ll laze around, drink all day and get your money’s worth at the buffet, book a vacation that includes activity on the itinerary — think yoga retreats, hiking treks and ski trips. By the time you come in for a hot toddy, you’ll have more than earned it.
Written by Macaela Mackenzie, a writer based in New York City with a passion for all things active. To see Macaela’s latest work, visit macaelamackenzie.com.