Guest Post: Finding the Balance

By the time you read this post, I will be gone.

Seriously. I won’t be in Boston. I’ll be gallivanting somewhere in Paris, probably eating snails and cheese and washing it down with some champagne. No big deal. Life is tough sometimes.

I’m so happy that my friend Katy from Running Makes Me! was able to write a guest post for my lil’ old blog here. Katy is a runner and fellow Weight Watcher who’s found the keys to success for finding the right balance between living a healthy, active lifestyle while living in the Windy City. This is something I still struggle with, so I found her tips helpful and her story inspiring! I know you’ll love what you read!

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Hello all! Special thanks to Tiffany for asking me to fill in on a guest post.

My name is Katy, and I blog over at RunningMakesMe.wordpress.com. I am 33 years old, and I live in Chicago. I have lost 65lbs since March 2011, when I joined Weight Watchers at work. I started running with the Couch to 5k program in May 2011, and I have run in 17 road races in the past year, including 5ks, 8ks, 10ks, and half marathons.

Running and exercise has been a big part of my weight loss journey, but so has my social life. As a young(ish) single woman in a really fun city, I wanted to make sure that all the choices and changes I have made in my life are positive and sustainable. I don’t want to start a sentence with “Well, the first time I lost weight I….” I want this time to be my time! And that’s going to take dedication and smart choices.

Here are a few pointers for having an active social life while still being successful in pursuing your healthy lifestyle.

BE SOCIAL!

The picture below is from the first month that I started Weight Watchers. I was apprehensive about going out. I wanted to have control of everything I ate and drank. I would get anxious about socializing… until I realized that, by nature, I am a social person. I love spending time with friends, and if I gave that up, I would not be the same person!

Share your journey with your friends. Talk about your choices if you need to, but if you feel yourself getting defensive, maybe it’s time for a more serious chat with your friends! Be vocal about your needs and your goals!

FIND NEW ACTIVITIES!

If you find that a lot of the social events you attend are at bars, restaurants, or parties, it may be time to change up your routine. Instead of a bar night, have friends over to your house! Meeting a friend for dinner? You could suggest taking a walk instead or going for a walk afterwards in lieu of dessert.

You could even find an organized walking or running event that you and your friends can get involved with. Here in Chicago, runners really like their beer, so I got a friend to sign up for the Beer and Burgers 5k with me. We were able to walk our 3.1 miles, and enjoy our (one) beer at the finish line! Keep an eye out for opportunities to mix things up a little bit.

USE YOUR CALENDAR!

Write down all your upcoming events, appointments, meetings, dates, parties and concerts, and plan your meals and day-to-day eating accordingly. If you have three meals out in a week, use two of those to stay on plan. Stick with the lighter dishes and/or workout a little extra that week. Finding the right balance is difficult, but it really does help to see your full week in advance.

This picture is from a Dave Matthews Band concert. I had been planning on this concert for months! This photo was taken about four months in to my weight loss journey, and I was down 25 lbs. You might notice that, aside from the beer, I also have fruit! Learning balance and success includes making wise choices while also being social.

Keep in mind that, while you might have a lot of events going on (like weekend brunches, drinks with the girls, movie night with your significant other, etc.), it doesn’t necessarily mean that every outing has to be a celebration. Splurge wisely on things that will be worth it! And be sure to actually splurge because, if you don’t, you’ll leave feeling unsatisfied and having eaten more calories or Points than you intended.

BE SPONTANEOUS…

Don’t let your weight loss goals keep you in the house! It’s easy to stay at home where you can control your environment, but think about all the fun you’re missing! Fun doesn’t have to mean drinking but, even if it does, remember that moderation is key. Even if there’s one day where you go a little overboard, this journey isn’t about one day. It’s about changing your life. Every day is a chance for a new experience and a clean slate.

… BUT KEEP CONTROL!

Remember that having social engagements and outings aren’t an excuse to “cheat”. By planning ahead, you can prepare yourself for success at as many events as possible. Choose lighter options when they’re available; drink water in between your cocktails; eat dinner before you go out; and remember to relax and have fun!

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Katy is a runner and social butterfly who blogs over at Running Makes Me!. If you’d like to learn more about Katy and follow her life and happenings while living life in Chicago, please check out her blog!
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