When we think about weight loss or getting in better physical/mental health, so often we don’t even think about the ways our social lives are impacting us.

But seriously, take a second to think about this: When was the last time you binged? Had three too many beers? Blew off a workout? Was it when you were with a group of friends? Influenced to ‘relax’ by a well-meaning loved one? When you were trying to make the best of that Friday night?

Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing bad about indulging, having fun, and enjoying good company. But when your social habits start to negatively impact your health, that’s when you need to take notice.

Whether you’ve started paying attention to little signs here and there, or you’re completely frustrated with the choices you’ve been making lately, here are some little shifts to promote weight loss and a stronger, more confident sense of well-being.

happy group of friends

1. Start meeting for apps over meals.

Okay, I get it. I’m a foodie. I love eating out with friends, I love trying new places, and I love just relaxing after a look workday or weekend with an ice-cold glass of water and a plate full of good food.

But I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes those negative habits are costly (for my health and wallet).

When I go out to eat, I tend to not only overspend but also consume more than I need. I hate lugging to-go boxes for the rest of the night, so I’ll often finish what’s in front of me. (Even if I’m really full.) Or I’ll be tempted to order more rather than split because I’m too hungry going into the meal in the first place.

If you’re like me, the first step is recognizing those little social habit shifts and how you can opt for something like appetizers over big meals, or tea over sugar-filled coffee, or even a walk over spending any money on beverages or food.

2. Don’t feel pressured into that other drink.

Hey, you. Here’s the thing. Drinking isn’t something that should be shamed (within reason, of course). But you don’t have to feel pressured to take part if you don’t want to, either.

Sometimes there’s this big social assumption that drinking on a Friday night is ‘cool.’ But if you’re seriously trying to get in better shape, it might not be in your best interest. And you don’t have to apologize for that.

Whether for personal, physical, health or whatever reason—don’t feel like you need to order that next round of drinks or shot because your friends are. A tiny (but valuable) social habit shift is to remind yourself that you are YOU. And you don’t have to do what anyone else is/isn’t doing.

3. Ditch the inconsistent buddy (and get the right one).

One of the often-overlooked social habit shifts begins with your buddy. I’m talking about the person you take with you to the gym (or try to). Your workout buddy—or lack thereof if he/she is always ditching you.

If this person is unreliable or makes excuses rather than showing up with you and putting in the work, it’s time to ditch them. You need someone who’s going to build you, inspire you, motivate you, and lift you up as you do the same for them.

The true buddy system is about having a partner, not someone you’re fighting against.

4. Find more wholesome activities.

Sometimes we all need a good reality check. If you’re realizing, more and more, that the things you’re doing in your free time are actually self-destructive, then it might be time to make a change.

There are infinitely more things to do than eat out, drink on the weekends, or be lazy (and I’m saying this with my kindest and heartfelt intentions). We all indulge and get gluttonous—and sometimes with our tough schedules, we deserve it! But we can’t obsess or completely fall into this way of living.

Rather than getting drinks every weekend: join a yoga class with friends, go on a walk, do a walking-and-window-shopping trip, hike, scrapbook, cook, have friends over for a movie night with veggie trays and fruit dips, etc.

You don’t have to get stuck in a self-destructive path. Learn what social habit shifts need to happen and don’t fear making them!

Marisa Donnelly

Marisa is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and fitness enthusiast located in Ocean Beach, San Diego. She is the author of the poetry collection, Somewhere On A Highway and founder of Be A Light LLC, a remote writing coaching/tutoring/editing services company.


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