How to Eat Healthy in Tough Situations

by - 4 min read

How to Eat Healthy in Tough Situations

by The Edge - 4 min read

by The Edge

You want to lose weight, eat right, and get toned. You have the perfect meal plan, and exercise program planned out, but then “life” gets in the way. You go on vacation. You get invited to a friend’s house for dinner. There’s no healthy food at work. And that’s just scratching the surface.

So what do you do? Stick your head in the sand and pretend these difficult logistics don’t exist? Or do you acknowledge them, and work around them? Today I’ll teach you how to work around those logistics; after reading this, there will be no more excuses.

At a Restaurant

Sometimes, I hear someone say, “I just couldn’t eat right, I was eating at a restaurant.” Almost every restaurant you go to has a salad, and meat or fish. There’s no reason to blow your nutrition program just because you’re in a restaurant.

The key, however, is planning. Here is what we tell our clients to do: look at the menu of the restaurant online, preferably after you’ve just eaten (that’s when you’re thinking most logically), and plan ahead of time what you’ll order. Usually, by the time you’re already in the restaurant, it’s too late – you’re hungry, so you’ll look at the best-tasting thing on the menu. And unfortunately, the best-tasting thing usually isn’t the healthiest. The best way to overcome this is to know what you’ll order before you set foot in the restaurant.

On Vacation

Just like the restaurant, just about anywhere you’d go on vacation will have salad and fish or meat, so once again there’s no excuses. Of course, you may want to try some foreign or exotic dishes, that’s understandable. But plan that into your trip. Know exactly which dishes you want to try, and when.

A vacation is no reason to pig out and return home bloated. That’s a classic example of sticking your head in the sand: Your body doesn’t care if you’re eating chocolate cake on vacation or chocolate cake at home. Chocolate cake is still chocolate cake, no matter how you slice it. A peanut allergy doesn’t go away when you’re on vacation; neither does your body’s reaction to any food.

At a Meeting

The key in business meetings, as with the previous two circumstances, is to plan ahead. But there’s an additional element. One tactic you can use is to be the first to order. If you order the healthiest thing on offer, first, everyone will be impressed; and second, more people are likely to follow suit and go for a healthy option, like a salad instead of a cheeseburger.

Visiting Friends

Now, there’s no menu to check online for your friend’s house, so you feel obligated to have what your friend prepared for you. It feels rude not to. But turn it around – say that you’re the host, and you have guests coming over. If a guest told you ahead of time that they’re lactose intolerant, allergic to shellfish, or keep kosher, would you see them as rude or imposing on you? No. You’d understand and want them to enjoy themselves, because you want to be a good host.

The same goes for the friend you’re visiting. If you say you’re trying to lose weight and you ask for their help, they’ll almost certainly go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Not out of a sense of obligation, but because they want to be a good host. So don’t be shy about voicing your weight-loss or healthy-eating goals.

At the Office

There’s nothing but doughnuts, chocolate bars, and cappuccinos at the office. Nothing you can do, right? Wrong.

One thing you can do is get your coworkers on your side. Most people want to be healthy and eat healthy. Ask around, and if enough colleagues tell you they also want to eat healthy, follow it up with a question like, “What do you think about us having more healthy options or vegetables?” Chances are that most will be up for that. Take that idea to your HR department and advise them that a number of your coworkers would welcome healthier food options at work.

If, despite your best efforts, nobody goes along, take matters into your own hands. Buy yourself a vegetable platter and keep it within arms’ reach. Chances are the unhealthy foods are in the cafeteria or at local fast-food restaurants, where you have to go to them. But if the vegetables are more accessible and within reach, you can munch on them without leaving your desk.

At Home

This is the easiest to manage. Who is responsible for what’s in your fridge or in your cupboards? You are (or your spouse is). In either case, get it out of the house. No matter how strong your willpower, and how much you know about eating healthy, there is a fundamental law of nutrition: if it’s in the house, it will get eaten.

“But I keep it there for my kids, they like those foods,” some may protest. Your kids are your responsibility; you control what they eat. If you want healthy kids, keep the bad foods out of the house.

“But they don’t eat anything else,” is the counter. There’s a very simple solution around that: If they’re truly hungry, they’ll eat whatever is available. And if nothing bad is available, they have no choice but to eat the good stuff, even if they don’t like it. Their taste buds will change with enough time, and they’ll grow to like it.

See? Now you’re all out of excuses.

Igor Klibanov | Contributing Writer

Igor Klibanov has been named one of the Top 5 personal trainers in Toronto. He’s written four books on fitness, including Interviews with Personal Trainers and Unlimited Progress, and has done over 250 seminars about exercise and nutrition for some of Canada’s biggest corporations. For more information visit www.fitnesssolutionsplus.ca.

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