What To Do When Real Life Gets In the Way of Real Food
Have you ever gone to bed Sunday night with hopes that this week will be your week? You will be able to eat healthy all week because you planned ahead and meal prepped and nothing could stop you, right? All good intentions. All pizza pushed to the side. All real food. ALL.THE.TIME. Here we go.
SCRRREEEEEEEECCCCCCH. Real life slams on the breaks.
The week sets in, and wouldn’t you know it, real life smacks you in the face. Emotions run high when your boss tells you he’s moving up a deadline, and your kid is sick, and the roads are icy and your dog is dragging his behind on the ground. Real life ain’t too easy. So you look at that salad you so desperately wanted to work and you toss it to the side for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a slice of pizza.
You have immediate regret, but at the same time, zero energy to give to anyone or anything. So, you let the week win and give in to the pizza, nachos, ice cream, and beer.
Does this sound familiar?
It is so easy to look at our social media feeds and think, “hm, if I do what they do, maybe I too will look like that”. Well, first of all, let’s stop basing our hopes and dreams on someone else’s Facebook highlight reel, ok? Once we can get past that I think we might be able to have a breakthrough. We are more than what we put on our plates, but we must put good food on our plates to be more than we are.
Wow, that was deep. But bear with me.
I have been helping my gym run a nutrition & lifestyle challenge recently and while challenges work for some and not for others; I encourage all of my athletes to strive for progress, not perfection. That is what I want you to remember today. Progress NOT perfection.
Working with them has given me some time to reflect not just on their journey but my own. I’m one of those people that bite off more than they can chew AND THEN SOME. If I can do a little I must be able to do a lot. So, when that happens (which is often) I too struggle with the real food life and figured now would be a good time for you all to benefit from my musings.
As a dietitian, my life revolves around food. So one would think that eating healthy all the time is a no brainer. Well, kind of. However, the past few months have been nothing but crazy. From a new job to a new pup, to coaching, too many trips and travel and holidays, and everything in between, it has not been easy.
However, I prioritize food and eating. I will literally wear the same clothes forever if it means I get to treat myself to a sushi dinner date with my husband. It is how we choose to spend our hard earned money, and that is A-Okay with me.
That being said. I am not perfect. I have deadlines and people (also a dog) relying on me. So sometimes it’s gluten free pizza, sometimes it’s Whole Foods Salad bar and sometimes it’s a meat stick, carrots, and hummus, and sometimes it’s just bedtime. It’s not perfect, but for me, it progresses. It’s feeding myself while advancing our career and our life.
How to Eat Real Food in Real Life
So, now that I’ve given you my sob story. Why not give you what I recommend for making real food work in your real life? I use these tactics to help make real food work in my real life.
1.Plan for the unknown. You know nothing plays out like you think it will. Embrace that and don’t stress when your boss buys you pizza when you had planned on your salad from home. (If you have an allergy/intolerance, this is a different story) Or when you get stuck on a train for 3 hours longer than planned and have to skip out on dinner completely (good thing you packed snacks), you just roll with it.
2.Forgive yourself ahead of time. You are not perfect, and that’s what makes you, well, you! Don’t give yourself the green light to eat like an idiot but should something come up and you have a bowl of ice cream, forgive and move forward.
3.Find new go-to. Why do you always feel bad about getting pizza or Taco Bell when you know there are other options? Seek them out. Maybe there’s that new food delivery you wanted to try or that new fast casual joint? Yes, they are scary at first but try them out and make them your new go-to.
4.Make sleep the priority. Yes. I brought up sleep. When you get enough sleep, you have way more control of what you eat. Not just because you are awake for a shorter time but you have had time to relax, recover and get ready for the day. Decisions seem easier and temptations become less of a problem. And sometimes, when you get stuck on a 3 hour delayed train and it’s now 11 pm you just go to bed and you eat in the morning, it will be okay.
5.Have a list of hard no. While I don’t want you to restrict yourself all the time. Sometimes it’s good to just have a list of “no, I won’t have that food” instead of “well I guess I shouldn’t have that food” so that when caught in a frenzy or a pickle you can think straight and eat foods you won’t feel bad inside and out about what you ate. For me, those foods include gluten-anything, most fast food, Doritos and the like and most processed foods like Twinkies, cookies, etc. They are a hard no.
Until next week!