Striving for a Healthier Lifestyle? Surround Yourself with Healthy People

It’s been said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. While we often think about healthy living as largely a sum of eating habits and activity level, sometimes we tend to forget about the importance of mental health and surrounding ourselves with healthy, positive people to help us lead healthier lives ourselves.

When I was a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach, we talked a lot about what we refer to as ‘primary food’ – the things that feed you that aren’t food, like relationships, career, physical activity and a social life. Relationships are such a big aspect of health, and they have the power to bring us up or hold us down throughout our lives in such significant ways.

I got to thinking about this topic last weekend, when my husband was doing a Ragnar Relay race. The basic gist is that it’s an overnight event where teams of 12 run 200 miles in a relay race. I woke up on Saturday while he was doing the race, and totally did not feel like doing the yoga session I had planned on starting my day with. But then I thought about Adam. He has been eating, sleeping, and breathing schoolwork for the MBA program he’s in when he’s not working full-time, the man rides his bike to and from work in order to squeeze daily workouts in, and he was running 20 miles in a race in the midst of it all.

And so, I got up, put my yoga clothes on, and headed to my mat for a practice. I told myself to just do it, and while I wasn’t totally feeling it, I’m glad that I pushed myself to practice.

He was my motivation to get up and get going that morning, and I think that we push each other in life in general – whether it’s to workout when we don’t feel like it, encourage each other to better ourselves through education and experiences, or to work hard and take risks in our careers. We both are motivated people, and I think that we rub off on each other in positive ways.

Over the years, I’ve thought a lot about who I spend my time with and how they may be elevating my life or bringing it down. I truly believe in the power of the attitudes and energy of others rubbing off on me. Putting that idea into action, sometimes it’s meant having to take a step back from relationships if they aren’t serving me in a healthy way. One of my favorite quotes is, “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”

This concept is relevant to every single person out there, and I welcome you to ask yourself, Who am I spending the most time with and how are they positively or negatively affecting my life? What kind of person am I drawn to?

I find myself drawn to people that have qualities that I admire, those that enrich my life and broaden my perspectives in some way. It’s also no coincidence that a lot of my friends are also into health & wellness and work in the industry in some capacity. A lot of the time when I meet up with girlfriends, we go for a long walk together, get acai bowls, meet up for a workout, or go to a healthy restaurant for dinner. Surrounding myself with people that too make it a priority to live a fit, healthy lifestyle motivates me – sometimes even subconsciously.

Yum! A shot from a healthy dinner date with my friend Angi last week

I consider myself to be a realistic optimist who tries to always look the bright side of things, so I also try to surround myself with people who have a similar mindset. I am so turned off by negative people that seem to enjoy throwing pity parties, and quite simply, I think life’s too short to surround myself with people that hold onto that kind of defeatist mentality. We can always make the best of it or we can always make the worst of it, and I want to spend my time with people who do the former.

And so, I am of the opinion that if you want to live a healthier life, you’ve got to surround yourself with people who inspire you to do so. Your relationships should motivate you to be a better person, and if they currently don’t, it’s never too late to make a change for the better. The power is within you to live your life to the fullest, make positive decisions, and love the life that you’ve created. How are you going to make it a healthy, happy week?

As a health coach, I work with women to achieve their healthy living goals. I offer a 6-month coaching program + a month-to-month custom meal planning program. Email me at nicole@foodielovesfitness.com to set up a free consultation to learn more.

Readers, share your thoughts on this topic!

10 thoughts on “Striving for a Healthier Lifestyle? Surround Yourself with Healthy People

  1. Cara

    Nicole- It is so great that you and your man push eachother in life in the best way. That race he participated in sounds intense and fun lol Ive never heard of something like that. You are absolutely the company you keep so your point about surrounding yourself with people that inspire you to live the life you want is so key. Its easy to not take inventory of the relationships in your life and how they can be effecting your outcomes but its necessary for growth and success in my opinion.

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  2. David @ Spiced

    What a great post, Nicole! I like that concept that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time around. I guess that would make me someone who likes to curl, eat good food, drink good beer and watch reruns of The Office on Netflix. Haha! Seriously, though, you are spot on with this. I really changed my eating habits when I met Laura, and it led to me losing about 45 pounds. Crazy talk! And we’ve realized that working out in the morning takes two of us. When that alarm goes off at 4:45, it’s usually one of us encouraging the other to get up. If we try to do it solo, then about half the time we end back in bed. Funny how that works, right? Thanks for sharing this one!

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    1. foodielovesfitness Post author

      Wow David, I had no idea that you lost that much weight after you met your wife. That’s amazing! Sounds like she’s inspired you to lead a healthier life, which is awesome… and I’m sure you two have kept inspiring each other ever since, which is exactly what I’m talking about in this post!

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  3. Dawn - Girl Heart Food

    Hubby and I are the best kind of buds. We are always there for each other and have similar interests, including working out, which we often do together. It’s fun to have someone to push you and who is looking out for your best interests šŸ™‚ If I don’t feel like working out and I know that hubby do or vice versa, it’s a great push for each other. It’s like, ‘ok, you’re working out, so I will too, ya know?’ Lots of motivation for each other. Great post, girl!

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  4. Ashley@CookNourishBliss

    This is sooo true! I had a former friend who was ALWAYS so negative and would knock you for trying to make healthy decisions, etc. Once I realized just how bad it was and stopped spending time with her, it was kinda crazy how much of a difference it made. I’m a pretty positive person but man would she drag me down sometimes!!

    Reply
    1. foodielovesfitness Post author

      I totally get what you mean, I’ve had similar situations with friendships. Sometimes it’s hard to break away, but it’s the move that’s best in the end. I’m a positive person too, but the energy of others can really rub off on me – and so I choose to surround myself with people who have energies worth catching! šŸ™‚

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