Nashville has a ton of amazing food, drinks, bars, sporting events, and, of course, concerts.
It's easy to get pulled into going out, eating out, a lot. Especially if you're a recent transplant from California or New York or Illinois or Michigan (or DC, in my case), you've been in lock down, you want to meet people and make new friends.
All of this means it can be tough to maintain a body weight in which you feel comfortable and confident.
First of all, that's completely normal. And, frankly, it's OK to have your weight fluctuate a little bit if you're going through life changes like a big move or a new job. Give yourself some grace.
Once that grace period is over and you've heard enough of Friends in Low Places and Wagon Wheel at the Honky Tonks (lets be real though, it never really gets old), it's time to get to work.
Here are some tips for surviving Nashville's assault on your waist line.
Find a supportive community
Being new to town can be an isolating experience. Lonely people tend to not make healthy decisions. Find a solid crew of people. Whether that's joining a church, a civic organization, a gym like Orange Theory, F-45 or Crossfit (I don't necessarily agree with those training methodologies but they are darn good communities), a local litter pick up group, or a facebook group of similar interests. I recently joined a Jeep facebook group so I can go cruising and have a common connection with others. Having common connections make you feel less isolated. Less isolated = better decisions.
When you have a positive supportive community, it's easier to find things to do outside of dinner, drinks, and honky tonks. It's totally fine to have friends that do those things, but just try to diversify your friend portfolio.
Explore the local nature
Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee area have a ton to offer when it comes to local nature. Within 2 hours there are something like 25 state parks, tons of local parks, nature trails, and at least 10 hikes that lead to waterfalls. Being in nature helps reduce stress (whether you feel it or not), hiking on uneven surfaces is great stress for your joints, taking a dip in a waterfall pool is a great way to shock your nervous system and reduce stress. Get out there and enjoy some nature!
Set purposeful throttles on your behavior
When I first moved to Nashville, the city had a 10 pm mandate for bars closing. While I thought it was a bummer, it actually was kind of nice because I literally had nowhere else to go besides home after the bars closed. That meant I got home, drank water, ate some food, relaxed for a bit, then went to bed, awakening the next morning feeling refreshed from A) having a good time the night before, but also B) getting a full night's sleep. Now that the bars don't close till 3, going out has some serious consequences if you stay out that late.
If you find yourself going out and staying out later than you'd like, think about some reasons WHY you'd want to get home before you hear Boot Scoot'n Boogey for the 5th time.
In basic human psychology, it is best to replace a behavior with something you're MORE excited about in the future, so that the thing you're missing out on NOW doesn't seem like you're really missing out that bad.
Plan an early-ish get together or workout with friends.
Sign up to volunteer at church or another local civic organization.
Plan to go fishing the next morning!
Another trick is to incentivize good behavior. Here are some ways to help you NOT stay out late.
Make a pact with a friend that if you don't send a selfie in front of your oven clock before midnight, then you owe that friend a substantial amount of money (something that would really hurt, like $300 or $500). If you don't then you owe the money. And if you don't pay, you aren't really friends with that person, you're just selfish and need to reevaluate some things in your life.
See if your bank can turn off your debit card at a certain time so you can't spend more money and can't order an Uber or Lyft. This makes staying out extremely hard.
Pay yourself for staying in. If you stay in one weekend and don't spend a crap ton of money on ubers, dinners, beers, shots for the random bachelorette party from Oregon, drunk food, and hung over food, then reward yourself by putting half of what you would have spent (based on previous weekends) in a special account that will go to a really kick ass vacation or a new TV or some home workout equipment.
Get into a rhythm and routine
After you've soaked up a lot of the night life, made some friends, and feel comfortable, get yourself into a rhythm and establish some routines.
With rhythms and routines based on your goals, work schedule, and life situation, you'll start to feel really good as you make progress in all those areas. And once you know what REALLY GOOD feels like, the desire to go out will feel LESS GOOD and thus less desirable. Here are some ideas for rhythms and routines.
Sleep -- getting a good night's rest is fundamental to functioning well in the rest of your life (as well as recovering from your workouts to maximize your GAINZ). To figure out your sleep routine, do some reverse engineering. If you start work at 8:30, your day is really busy and you don't have a chance to get a workout in after work because (insert reason), then you need to get your workout in before work. So maybe you need to get up at 6.
In order to get up at 6 with a solid night's rest, you need to BE ASLEEP by 10. Not in bed by 10, but ASLEEP by ten. That means starting your SLEEP ROUTINE by 915-930. I have a bit of a ritual. I will write out some thoughts on the day, my schedule, top to-dos for the next day, and asking God for help in offering my gifts to the world the next day. This helps provide clarity of the day and certainty for the next day, puts things in perspective, and also signals to my body that SLEEP IS COMING. I also take the following supplements,
magnesium-zinc-calcium pills from Whole Foods (magnesium and zinc help calm the body/brain down),
fish oil (omega 3s are awesome but taste like crap so I take it at night to avoid the nasty fish burps),
5mg of melatonin or a sleep supplement if I'm not feeling really exhausted. If you're looking for a sleep supplement, I recommend one with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)—a neurotransmitter that helps calm brain activity.
This evening routine has been really helpful to me. Hopefully you find one that works for you too!
Workout Routine is super important too. Take an assessment of your schedule and how your body operates (personally, I've found that the best time for me to workout is sometime between 10 and 2 pm). Figure out the best schedule for you and stick to it. When you get out of that rhythm, you'll feel like you're missing out on something.
Eating Routine will help you feel great throughout your week. Essential to this routine, like the other routines, is an assessment. Take a few weeks to track EVERYTHING you consume. Just doing this will help you see just how much frivolous stuff you eat. It never feels like its that much in the moment, but when you write it down and objectively look at the amount, you think... hmmmm yeah maybe I could peel back on the cereal at night.
Once you've done your assessment, you'll then have an idea of how to eat better through the week. To eat better, ya gotta plan. Planning is meal prepping. There are several ways to meal prep. You can buy a ton of food and make a habit of meal prepping on certain days. Or you can buy pre-made macro-specific meals. Either way, having that routine will help you avoid the temptation of "dang I'd love to have pizza tonight" when you have a fridge full of food at home.
Set up a routine for your meals as well. Eat meals at certain benchmarks through your day. Breakfast AFTER your workout. Lunch AFTER you complete XYZ task for work. Dinner BEFORE you go for an evening walk. Tying your meal to a task helps your body regulate hormones that improve digestion, nutrient uptake, and actual hunger signals.
With your food routines in place, this will help you stay focused on your nutrition goals -- eat a certain way to maintain confidence and energy; lose weight; put on weight -- whatever your goals may be!
Hire someone to help you
If these self-regulation tips don't work, then it's time to call a spade a spade and recognize that you need some outside help. That's where coaches like me come in to play. Hiring a coach helps in the following ways:
Advice and Shared Experiences -- coaches have either achieved things themselves or have helped others achieve what you want, so hopefully they've got advice for you to help achieve your goals.
Financial commitment -- if you spend a significant amount of money on a coach, you are committed in a way that changes the game. When you're making a serious investment, it'll be harder to throw away progress for a night out on the town.
Objective accountability -- a good coach isn't your mom and won't tell you "you're doing great honey" as you smash your 3rd Taco Bell crunch wrap supreme at 2 in the afternoon that you had uber eats to you because your hangover won't let you get off the couch and you're binge watching whatever show on Netflix. Hopefully your coach will help you figure out why this happened, empathize with your situation, tell you they expect better, and how to avoid that in the future.
Thank you for making it through this long read. Hopefully you got something from it! What have you found to be helpful in your move to Nashville?
If you are looking for coaching, I'd love to chat about helping you reach your goals.