With fall unofficially here, it’s off with the bikini and on with the sweaters, jackets, jeans, boots, parkas, hats, gloves and well, perhaps a few pounds. It’s a natural instinct to battle the cold of winter months with a buildup of “reserves,” but few of us actually spend our days in the elements hunting and gathering anymore…unless you count the survival test of a sale at Barney’s, where safety resides in numbers and sharpened elbows.
And like a mad dash for the Michael Kors with your friends running defense, staying on track with a diet of healthy food choices can often be helped, or hindered by the people around us.
So, if you want to keep or GET the bikini body under that wool sweater, consider enlisting the help of friends and move your Friday night from the Cheesecake Factory to sushi. When the night progresses from sake to cocktails and that pizza at 2am sounds like a great idea, your willpower to make a better diet decision may lose resolve with the smells of pepperoni and friends munching on slices around you. So make a pact, shake hands and follow these suggestions for the Bikini Body Club, where friends don’t let friends order late-night Chinese.
Honest Eating: Food choices are personal, and the last thing you want to feel is any judgment about what you eat. The truth is that most of us could improve our diets for the better, but often our choices are driven by emotions and habits. Stress eating or grabbing the usual muffin with that Starbucks coffee is sometimes unconscious and just part of our day, so the first step is to be honest with what you’re eating.
Some people use a food diary to write down everything they eat. WebMD has a great guideline for this. It’s amazing what you can learn about your diet when you have it in front of you in black and white. You might not want to write down that whole bag of M&M’s, but that’s part of honest eating…if you write it down, you become accountable to that choice and most importantly, to yourself. You may decide that an apple or handful of almonds would look a lot better on your diary…and you’ll feel rewarded several hours later when you don’t have a sugar crash.
Support Not Sabotage: Diets are personal. But if you make a decision to change your food choices, your friends can be the best support or the worst influence. It’s just as unsupportive when your skinny girlfriend comments on the calorie content of that Caesar Salad you just ordered with chicken, as when your night out ends with a ride home that stops at White Castle. When you’re focused on improving your diet, you need friends that openly support your better food choices. This doesn’t mean your pals need to be on your diet, but it does mean that they shouldn’t push you to join in on that tostada, when you decided to order the cilantro chicken. And if you don’t want to try the dessert, or if one bite is enough, you shouldn’t be admonished for putting down the spoon. Yes, some friends want you to eat unhealthy foods with them because it makes them feel better.
These diet Frenemies need to decide to be supportive of you, or should be avoided at meal times. Check out these helpful tips on handling friends while on your diet. Limiting your temptations to stray from your diet and surrounding yourself with friends who want to help you may mean avoiding some restaurants or social scenes. Check out Yelp for recommendations on restaurants in your area that offer menus you can feel good about, and take charge of your next girl’s night out in Bikini Body style.
Better in Twos: A supportive friend group is so important in sticking with a diet plan, but a step above that is a pal who actually commits to a diet plan with you. Being accountable to yourself with a diet diary is a great foundation for then sharing in an experience with a friend that can both be challenging and life-transforming.
When you both choose a healthy diet plan to follow, you can share in the whole process—from diet preparation, such as grocery shopping, cooking or “purging the pantry,” to discussing which flavor of Greek yogurt has been your go-to snack and how the leftover beet salad saved you from a late-night urge for pot-sticker take-out. You can help steer each other toward better menu options or fabulous restaurant discoveries and support each other through the tough times of food cravings and habit-breaking.
It feels great to talk about the life experience of a new diet, and a friend who’s going through the same may be one of the best ears to hear all about it. Don’t be afraid to talk about breaking the diet (pssst…everyone falls off the bus and into the chocolate river once in a while, it’s okay!), and forgive yourself, or your bud, for doing so. Turn to your friend for help getting back on track by getting together for a delicious meal of poached salmon and asparagus. And, remember to be supportive of each other and avoid competition.
Dieting is NOT about losing weight, it’s about being healthy, and rapid weight loss is not a healthy strategy. Make sure the spirit of your friendship and diet goals are rooted in health, as that’s the real beauty in any bikini!
-Star Varga of GetUrMojo & VegaStar Productions
Star Varga is the Director of Business & Community Development at GetUrMojo and the Producer at VegaStar Productions. GetUrMojo is a growing community-driven organization that’s founded in the primary belief that mojo is a necessary part of life. Job ruts, career changes, relocation or just the same old routine wear away at mojo.
GetUrMojo is a community dedicated to Rediscovering Passion, Growing from Giving, Getting Inspired and Shaking the Routine through quarterly events, activities and workshops that bring great minds together at fun events for healthy and invigorating refills of mojo.
Girl Talk Time: Do you find these tips helpful? Do you have a diet buddy? Share here!