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It’s going to happen, if it hasn’t already.

At some point during the eight weeks of the Whole Life Challenge, you’ll have a social obligation that involves food and drink.

You’re going to face all the temptations you’ve been avoiding.

While it’s tempting to fake an illness and stay home eating steamed broccoli and egg whites, that’s a potential mistake. An important part of the Whole Life Challenge is…the challenge!

These eight weeks are an exercise in learning how to integrate healthy living into every aspect of your life — even parties. The idea is to learn how to have fun and stay healthy.

So go ahead and make plans for social engagements, but follow these four tips first:

  1. Before you go out, think through your socializing strategy and make a plan. It may seem odd, but visualizing helps tremendously. Picture yourself at the party, eating wisely and well. Take time to imagine what that looks and feels like, both during and after the event (maybe especially after).

  2. Drink wisely. Avoid sugary, tropical drinks and instead slowly sip a glass of red wine. Any kind of liquor neat (not chilled and without water, ice, or any other mixer) is far better than a complicated cocktail. If straight-up alcohol isn’t your jam or you’re playing Performance level, add some seltzer to lemon or lime juice. Be aware that tonic water has added sugar, so stick with soda water or seltzer.

  3. At a party, station yourself far away from the food. Many of us eat unconsciously while socializing. You can avoid that trap by getting away from the bowls of chips. If you think there won’t be any healthy snacks or food, bring one of your favorites to share. (You’ll also come across much friendlier than if you hide in the corner eating your single serving out of your Tupperware.)

  4. Slow down, take mindful breaks. Take some time to enjoy your friends and the experience. Remind yourself that the company is what it’s about, not the food. If you are going to have a dessert or a treat, enjoy it. Savor what you’re eating. Keep your thoughts positive — avoid shaming yourself or diving off the “why not eat everything now” cliff.

 

We will all have many opportunities in life where we measure “if the point is worth it.” Sometimes you’ll drink a glass of wine (or two). Sometimes you’ll have a piece of cake and love it.

But by teaching yourself healthy strategies, you’ll get to choose these moments instead of having temptation take over.


Hilary Achauer

Hilary writes for San Diego Magazine and the CrossFit Journal, covers the CrossFit Games, and has written content for UCSD Health Services, the Rady School of Management, National University, the Moores Cancer Center, and Dr. Oz’s Transformation Nation.

Her writing has been featured in an online parenting magazine as well as a number of travel and lifestyle publications. A former children's books editor at Harcourt, Hilary once competed as an amateur boxer, but traded her gloves for barbells and now trains at San Diego Athletics.