By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci
One of the things I hear all the time is “I could eat healthier, but __________.” Fill in the blank with an upcoming wedding, travel plans, work event, or a number of other excuses for why healthy eating just won’t work out right now. I’m not one to say you should never indulge, but if you are really serious about your health goals or you have a specific health condition that can be healed through dietary changes, it can be a good idea to learn how to live (at least for a little while) without the “trigger foods.” On the Be Well Cleanse, in order to give your body a serious detox and investigate which foods are helping or harming you, we cut foods out like gluten, sugar and dairy for 2 full weeks – no exceptions, no bending the rules, no excuses.
When you’re making this kind of commitment to your health, you’ll want some ideas in your toolbox for how to face the more “difficult” eating situations. Most of the time, it just requires a shift in mindset. You always, always have the option to not put something in your mouth! How badly do you really want to feel better? The choice is yours.
Here are some tips for sticking to a healthy eating plan anywhere, no matter what:
Out to Dinner
No matter what kind of restaurant you are at, you can focus on protein, vegetables and healthy fats (think avocado, olive oil) while avoiding the bread basket, pasta, desserts and alcohol. Every restaurant has some type of salad or soup option. You can’t always control whether or not everything is organic or what kind of oil it’s cooked in, but you can certainly do your best with the choices you’re given!
A Dinner Party at Someone’s House
Bring something to the party! Call the person throwing the party and let them know you’re on a specific eating plan and that you’d love to bring a dish to share with everyone. If you’re afraid of being rude or hurting someone’s feelings, don’t you think it’s more rude to yourself to break your commitment? Ok, I understand there are times when you want to eat your grandmother’s famous custard and not offend her. But how often is that really the case? Most of the time you really do have the ability to figure out a powerful plan of action.
Prepare. Bring healthy snacks with you on the plane, and map out some health food stores or healthy restaurants in the area where you’ll be traveling to. A piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, some shake packets and a blender bottle, a bottle of water – these are all great on-the-go options. A bag of chia seeds can be a great companion to add to beverages to make them more filling. Once you’ve arrived at your destination and you’re out at restaurants, see the above “out to dinner” section for how to proceed.
A Wedding or Event
Eat something filling before you go — I suggest something with enough protein and fat to keep you satisfied for awhile (eggs or other protein with avocado, a filling smoothie, etc). That way once you’re at the event you’ll be able to enjoy what you choose to enjoy without feeling like you “have to” eat everything that’s there. As far as the alcohol? I’ve gone to plenty of weddings where I didn’t feel like drinking, and I drank seltzer with lemon and lime all night and danced my little heart out anyway. Usually, nobody notices whether or not you’re drinking unless you make a big deal out of it. If you really feel like you “can’t have fun without alcohol,” well…it could be a fun experiment. :)
A Work Event
When you’re out at a work event or entertaining clients, you can still stick to your guns about what you want to eat and drink. As I mentioned before, eat a little something before you go so you’re not diving into the bread basket or the dessert plate. As far as the alcohol goes there are plenty of reasons people choose not to drink – medications, pregnancy, training for an athletic event, being on a cleanse, simply choosing not to drink, doctor’s orders, etc — use whatever reasoning makes you feel comfortable and relaxed, and stand firm in whatever decision you make! Nobody makes it weird unless you make it weird.
When it comes to observing religious holidays, each person should really decide for themselves what foods to partake in. If it’s not a religious reason, though, I’m a huge fan of making lots of your own healthier holiday dishes! Check out all of these incredible recipes and delicious sweets you can make without gluten, dairy or refined sugar. The options are endless, so create new traditions and bring your own holiday cheer to any celebration – you might just inspire others with your delicious, healthy treats.
For many, going on vacation is the time to completely let loose — but you can certainly unwind and relax without veering completely off course and having to do damage control later! One of the cool things about going on vacation is getting to try fresh, local foods from whatever region you’re traveling to. If you treat vacation food the same way you’d treat going out to a regular restaurant (focusing on the healthiest and most nourishing options possible), you’ll feel your best and have more energy to really enjoy your vacation. Get some exercise in daily and pack some healthy snacks to have handy in your hotel room.
The bottom line here is that we can all choose what we put into our bodies. Realistically, we can’t be prepared 100% of the time, and that’s understandable. But if you keep finding yourself making excuses about why you can’t be healthier, you’re continuously complaining about it, and it’s affecting your overall sense of well being, it’s time to take charge!
What other situations have you found yourself in where it’s difficult to be healthy, and what solutions have worked for you?