The Importance of Food & Friends

“Belay On”

We had a double date at the rock climbing gym today. So grateful for friends who are up for fun activities like this! Today reminded me of a few things on my health/fitness journey.

1.) If you want be healthier/fitter – find your people. It’s hard to eat better if the people you hang out with only want to drink beer and eat pizza. I’m not saying to ditch those friends – but maybe add some health minded individuals to your awesome posse 😉

2.) Find ways to celebrate and enjoy life with more than just food. I think that (especially here in the Midwest)….it seems that most every occasion comes with overly sweet and or processed foods. “Let’s celebrate with cupcakes (I just did this). Let’s take the stress out with our favorite food. Let’s go to our favorite restaurant for date night. Lets go hang out with friends and grab drinks and appetizers. The kids won their soccer game, ice cream for all! It’s national donut day! It’s pie day! It’s time for Girl Scout cookies!! Let’s celebrate every holiday with more sugar and calories than your body knows what to do with…after all, it is a celebration!!” It’s not like it happens every day….but doesn’t it…? At least happen…most days? And if not most…then at least I think we can all admit that it is very common. And if it’s so darn common is it really even special at that point…or is it possibly just another excuse for being glutinous?

When you really think about how many birthdays or themed office carry-ins there are to try to keep a “positive morale,” I think that what you will realize is that they are anything but few and far between. Especially during winter. We’re bored…and eating is easy to do.

These situations were HARD for me when I first started trying to make healthier choices in my life. (they still aren’t always easy) At first I just didn’t trust myself around all of the foods I was trying to avoid…so I spent a good amount of time avoiding certain friends and situations. That got BORINGand lonely. So eventually I decided that I was just going to do things that didn’t involve food. Once I started doing that…I started to realize how much more fun I was having. That when the hangout or meet-up or get together is about human connection instead of just food…it’s more satisfying. When you go kayaking or rock climbing or run a mud race with friends…you feel good physically and it’s a hell of a bonding experience. Then I compared those feelings to the “eating” outings that were the ONLY outings I went on before. When it was about the eating you EAT. And I realized I didn’t usually feel very good after eating so much or after eating the types of foods that we were usually eating. I didn’t feel like doing anything fun after that. I felt like sleeping it off. Or I spent extra time in the bathroom after. And that lead me to come to the conclusion that all of this “celebratory” eating…was actually preventing me from the things that actually brought me the most joy. It was just a quick fix for a need for enjoyment that in retrospect…made me feel pretty shitty. So what was so joyous about that? Nothing.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love food, and I love trying new foods.

We go on food adventures in search of new and amazing foods. I still do celebrate with food sometimes. It just looks different in my life now. Not every celebration needs to happen with food. I choose when it’s worth it and when it just isn’t. I also make sure to book outings with friends and family where the people and the activities are the star of the show. That way…if food is a part of the adventure, its just food. And we just eat. Taking off some of the pressure that may make you feel the need to EAT. It’s actually a lot of fun thinking of and going on new adventures. It keeps me more connected with people, constantly learning and growing AND I feel and look good while doing it.

“Sometimes I wonder if I wouldn’t of re-evaluated my relationship with food – if I ever would’ve realized how many adventures are out there waiting to be had!”

Life is out there and it has a whole hell of a lot more to offer than just food!

Would I have this incredible and curious zest for life or would I still just be eating for fun? How many events, celebrations or feelings do you have that revolve around food? Is it really an occasional party or has it become pretty common? When I think these thoughts, I always recite a line from one of my favorite songs from The Postal Service, “I know that it isn’t a party, if it happens everyday.” – It just isn’t special anymore. I like it to be special 🙂

Need some ideas of things to do that aren’t food related? I’ve made a list of some of my favorites below:

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Rock Climbing
  • Breakout Games (there are a few in Dayton)
  • Yoga
  • Dancing
  • Bike Rides
  • Game Nights
  • Take a class! (one of my personal favorite ways to meet new people and have an adventure) Dayton offers Improv classes, story-telling classes, exercise classes, art classes, dance classes and SO many more!
  • Coffee w/friends (skip the food)
  • Go see a show or performance

There are SO many more! What are your favorite non-food related activities that you like or would like to engage in?

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