Advice

My new year’s resolve to get healthier is being sabotaged by my boyfriend and gal pals

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I really let myself go during COVID and I’m ready to do something about it. With the new year here, I’m committed to getting in shape and eating better, and trying to be a happier overall person. I want to find meaningful ways to spend my time and find fun ways to be active. But this change feels overwhelming.

I’ve never been much of a cook and my boyfriend and I — we live together — order in a lot. COVID just made that even easier with all the delivery options. We started dating right when COVID started, and to be honest, I think one thing that attracted me to him was that he felt safe and nonthreatening in that he isn’t super athletic like my last boyfriend was. He’s very handsome but slightly overweight, and he’s never been much for the gym or other sporty stuff. Similarly, I have a couple close friends, but our big social activities were always meeting for cocktails. We’d talk about taking a cooking or yoga class or going for a walk, but it never happened.

As the new year approached, my friends and boyfriend also talked about wanting to get fit and be healthier but now that it’s January, nothing’s changed. I’ve already had a couple calls from the gals to meet at the bar — I declined — and my boyfriend has “surprised me” with takeout every night.

I want to do better but I don’t know where to start or how to do it with my closest peeps apparently being bad influences. Advice?

Wanda says:

Ultimately we are all captains of our own ships and it’s certainly more challenging when you feel taken hostage on a giant vessel that’s chugging full speed ahead into churning waters of bad choices. The quickest way to point your life in the right direction is to grab the oars and take charge — despite the wishes of your crew.

[I gained weight during COVID, but my best friend got healthier. All she talks about anymore is diet and exercise.]

But crews do matter. Surrounding yourself with others who aren’t making companionable and supportive choices could definitely harm your shot at success. So first, as tough as it may be, it’s time to honestly analyze your relationship.

Your boyfriend may have been Mr. Right when the glum doldrums of COVID were descending and you needed a couch buddy for endless days of Netflix binging and DoorDash deliveries. But given your current wishes, hopes, dream and would-be direction, he may not be Mr. Right Now. When you picture the life you want — an active and healthy life — does he fit into that picture? Could he? Only you and he know whether that’s possible, and after all this time together, he deserves to be invited into the conversation.

As for your gal pals, take some ownership. So they’re inviting you out to the bars? Counteroffer with an invite to afternoon coffee or tea, a woodsy walk on one of Anchorage’s trails, or even a dinner party at your house where you work your way through new — healthy — recipes while catching up over a glass of red wine. You can’t rely on them to read your mind and should do your part to turn the tide.

Wayne says:

A new year, a new, healthier approach to life — good for you!

I think you’ve already learned the first, and hardest, lesson about change: It’s really freakin’ hard. And the kind of transformative lifestyle changes you’re trying to make against the challenging backdrops of a pandemic, partying gal pals, and flaky boyfriend make these changes especially difficult. Not impossible, but tougher than having a team of supporters, workout buddies and COVID-free gyms and studios.

But remember and appreciate this: This is about you, not your boyfriend or friends. That means you have to do the work, make the tough choices, block out the distractions, hold yourself accountable, and even motivate and find inspiration yourself. If you really want this, you cannot use external forces as excuses not to get your work in or lose sight of your goals. Gym closed? Work out using YouTube or take a long walk outside. Bar night with the girls? Order water and Diet Coke — zero calories, carbs and sugar! Takeout with the boyfriend? Tell him you’ve circled the healthy options on the menus.

Getting started is always the hardest part. After a while, working out, eating right and resting well will become a routine and a normal part of your life instead of tough tasks. Takes a while to get there, but once you’re in a groove, you’ll rock it. I bet you’ll even inspire the others in your life who are on the fence. Good luck.

[Our friend crew takes a ski vacation every year and it’s always awesome, except for one thing — and that is ‘Carl’]

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