When hanging out with friends you’re more likely let yourself go, eat more calories, bla bla bla

I’ve seen this kind of heading in papers and magazines so many times and I used to get caught up in it.

Think about the best times you spend with people close to you, friend or family. The ones where your insides hurt from laughing after your Dad gets the charades so wrong or maybe it’s a fairly embarrassing story after one too many glasses of vino.

Well, those special moments aren’t supposed to be about veggies or whether your friends cooking will fit into MyFitnessPal, they’re about being present with the people you love and to be honest doing a whole load of stupid things you may or may not live to regret from rogue photo shoots at 13 to the first time you get drunk and giggle too much with new uni friends. They are about the memories not about the quest for the perfect body or nutritional intake (which btw doesn’t exist anyway).

Whether it’s prosecco and pizza for a girlie Friday night, a Sunday roast with the fam, birthday cake, or infamous chip and dip combo don’t forget to feed your social health because those social experiences and interactions will become times and memories that feed into other aspects of mental and emotional health and I believe can do more to enrich our lives than strictly following rules for optimum health and wellbeing 24/7 ever will be.

Does this mean a night in or being sober is boring – absolutely NOT. Quality time with friends, family and loved ones can be spent just about anywhere or in anyway that feels good for you. Popcorn and a movie or face masks and fajitas still sounds great to me. Equally, “me” time is not selfish and it’s ok to say no too.

 

But ask yourself…

  • Am I avoiding certain social situations because of the food or drink?
  • Am I avoiding certain social situations because it may interfere with my exercise routine?

 

Regardless of what you answer you are not a “bad” person or a bore and the last thing I want this to stir up is guilt or shame. Eating disorders in particular thrive on isolating individuals from social relationships and they can be extremely difficult to battle with. That said, re establishing meaningful relationships can be a good motivation for recovery and may help you reconnect to the other exciting things life has to offer.

However, if you don’t have an active eating disorder but maybe lean towards disordered eating  it might be worth re-assessing priorities. Don’t forget that a Harvard study found social interactions to be the biggest predictor of longevity. Us humans are meant to hang out, it brings us happiness and our health actually benefits from it beyond whether or not you made the food fit your macros.

 

Don’t forget to feed your social health.

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