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Lose the Freshman 15: The Buddy System

 

Before embarking on a mission to lose my freshman fifteen (officially, anyway, with the help of SELF and Her Campus), if there was one thing I knew for certain, it was the importance of having a support system. And by support system, I mean having someone to rant and rave to who knows what you’re going through so you can stop boring your friends with all your talk of health and fitness. I mean, my friends love me, but I’m pretty sure that love would wear thin if I updated them on my every fitness up and down.

Luckily, on top of keeping a fitness and health themed Tumblr (another post for another day), I now have the other totally BAMF Freshman 15 bloggers for motivation and inspiration. I may or may not be a little addicted to the message thread the seven of us have going on Facebook.

But why wouldn’t I be? I get great tips:

Nicole Echeverria: note: the latte flavored [Zico] tastes MUCH BETTER if you add a packet of Equal 0 calorie sweetener, over ice like an iced coffee
Hayley Britt: Yum! Also they are great with whey protein and cocoa powder blended!

Mood lifters:

Danielle Copeland: I love how you can look amazing and still have way more weight then you’d like. Like I looked at your pictures and I thought all of you had to be lying for your numbers cause you were so gorgeous

Even better tips:

Morgan Johnson: kissing burns 6.4 calories a minute!

Goal-making:

Lindsey Murray: Lets just all get “#lf15” tattooed on our backs. BRANDED FO LIFE

And most importantly, a sense of community: 

Morgan Johnson: weight loss besties 4 lyfe

But enough humblebragging about my new fitness friends. Here are some tips for finding and crafting your own support system:

Do find people with similar goals. It’s no brainer that everyone has different goals in mind when it comes to their bodies. Some want to slim down, some want to get definition. Some want to fit into a certain dress size, others want to run a certain speed mile. Like I’ve said a million times, every body is different, but having similar goals can be a great boost for brainstorming ways to get there. Similarly, you might have the same speed bumps on the way there, and there’s no better way to improve suffering than knowing there’s someone right there with you. 

Do get online. There’s no better place to find a more concentrated source of inspiration and motivation. Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, DietBet, MyFitnessPal, Fitocracy…the list goes on. All have vast weight loss communities where you can make friends, embark on community challenges and build yourself a fitness army that will keep you going. There are even studies about it!

Don’t constantly pester your friends to join you. As cool as it would be to have all your best friends with you every step of the way, chances are, if they don’t want to join you, attempting to convince them otherwise isn’t going to help your cause. Try too hard and they might mistake your desire for support for a less-than-subtle hint that they need to hit the gym. And that’s just not nice. 

But do tell your friends what you’re doing. Just because your friends might not be joining you at the gym or going to a Zumba class with you doesn’t mean they can’t be a good source of support. By letting them know about your goals, they can keep you accountable through encouragement. Don’t be afraid to ask for their help! Your friends care about you—they won’t mind nudging you in the direction of your running shoes every once and awhile. 

Most importantly, do know what is triggering for you. All of the above said, it’s important to know your limits and not to let anyone else—not even your support system—define them. If surrounding yourself with the workout-obsessed will lead you to push yourself too far, seek out a more low-key group. If a never-ending barrage of weight-lifting GIFs, pictures of hot athletes, and tough-love quotes on your Dash or Pinboard is going to make you feel inadequate instead of inspired, be more selective about who you follow and know when to click off. If anything that was supposed to be encouraging winds up making you feel uncomfortable or upset in anyway, don’t be afraid to try something new. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. 

 

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Anna Borges

Northwestern '14

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