I have a really great group of friends here in Madrid. We took to each other like family within days of meeting one another and now, as some of them are preparing to return to the states, I can’t imagine my life without them. They are some of the most intelligent, creative, hilarious, and unique people I have ever met.
One of our favorite activities to do here is to lounge in the park and botellón. Botellón for Spain is like pre-gaming for the States with the only differences being the lack of any actual game. Basically it’s just a bunch of people, lounging in a park or open area, listening to music and drinking alcohol. Generally this is a night-time activity, but my friends don’t discriminate against the earlier hours of the day. We will botellón anytime, anywhere.
Recently, during one of our many afternoons in the parl, I noticed something that probably no one else in my group of friends would have ever picked up on. After a round of drinks had been poured and dispersed, the group raised their glasses and said their cheers to one another. In my normal fashion, I was without drink. I raised my empty hand, mimicking a drink, and said my cheers right there with them as my friends pretended to clink their glass with mine. To us, our friendship, and to this amazing life we are living together!
What was so memorable about that second in time was that no one even questioned me when I raised my empty hand. There was no ‘Where is your drink?’ or ‘How come you aren’t drinking?‘ My friends just know. They know about my healthy lifestyle and that I choose to not drink alcohol for the most part. They know that my workout is a top priority in my day even if that means joining them in public with my gym clothes on. They know that I don’t eat certain foods purely by choice. And you know what? They are ok with it. In fact, they are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever met. To be honest, I don’t know how they can manage to be seen with me when I show up wearing spandex and my hair looks like I’ve been electrocuted. Not to mention I smell. Good friends, I tell you.
When I originally switched my eating habits, I was faced with a lot of challenges socially. A lot of my friends didn’t understand why I didn’t want to eat certain foods. Many of them would even try to make an argument about it. If you have at all changed the way you eat, surely you have heard at least one person say, ‘C’mon! It’s just one bite’ or ‘It’s not going to kill you.’ And for the most part, they are right. One bite is not a big deal. One meal will not kill you. It won’t even undo all of the progress you’ve made.
But that’s not the point. That person, just by even trying to convince you of something, is not being 100% supportive of your goals. And that is something that can definitely make this process toward a healthier life extremely difficult and grueling when it really shouldn’t be.
Now don’t get crazy and go ditch all your friends. That’s a bad idea. They won’t like it. You won’t like it. And you definitely won’t like it when you have reached all of your goals but you are sitting at home on a Saturday night, all alone with no one to show off your hot body to. (Because that’s our ultimate goal, right? Showing off our hot bod to as many people as possible …..or is that just me….?)
As you are changing your lifestyle and prioritizing health and wellness, TELL EVERYONE! Tell your mom, your dad, your boyfriend, your lover, your boss, your annoying neighbor that you hate, and even your children. Tell everyone.
Not everyone will be 100% on board, and that’s OK. Your kids will probably tell you that they hate you and that you are the worst parent everrrrrrr for making them eat broccoli. Some friends might get a bit jealous when you are starting to look super hot and want you to order the mozzarella sticks with them. Colleagues will want you eat that piece of cake for so-and-so’s office birthday party. You will face judgement and adversity. But I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a support group around you pushing you to be the best of yourself. These people will be vital in your long-term success. Find that group of people, big or small, that won’t question your habits or pour you a gin and tonic at your next botellón against your wishes. You want to surround yourself with the people who will clink glasses and cheers to you even if you aren’t holding a drink in your hand. To us, our friendship, and to this amazing life we are living together!
My support group extends much further than Madrid. I am lucky enough to have support sent to me from all over the world. A special thank you to everyone who continues to push me to be the best version of myself! Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish any of my goals.
Stay tuned for Part 4 of the Your Best Body series!