How to Avoid Cheating on Your Diet
Staying on point with your Nutrition Program can sometimes be a challenge.
This could be because the diet you’ve chosen is very restrictive and doesn’t allow much flexibility. Add one bad day into the mix and you might find yourself reaching for foods not on your green light list. If you feel your diet isn’t the right fit for you, it might be worth reaching out to the professional who is helping you to develop a plan that is more suitable to your current lifestyle and goals.
But even if you are following a more flexible plan, focused on nourishing your body with whole, unprocessed foods in quantities that support your goals, things can still happen that could derail your progress.
3 Common Reasons We Cheat & How to Combat Them:
One of the main reasons we overeat or choose high carb foods in the evenings is we are tired! Our brains run on the glucose found in carbohydrates, and when our brains become tired, we seek out that boost of sugar to perk us up. Lucky for us, we can get our kicks from healthier options and your body will thank you for it.
A few hours after dinner, when those cravings start to kick in, head to the kitchen and make yourself a snack. Try to strike a balance between the fruit that will give you the boost you crave and a bit of fat and protein that will aid in feelings of “fullness” as well as slow the absorption of the glucose into your bloodstream.
It would also be wise to get yourself to bed before the surge of late-night “snacking” begins. You’ll avoid drifting from your plan, but also wake up feeling refreshed from a great sleep!
Birthdays, Christmas, Easter… any family gathering, really, that offers up a host of foods that may not feature on your current Nutrition Program can be a cause for anxiety. BUT! There are ways you can support yourself to stay in alignment with your goals during these times.
Ensure that you are eating healthy, balanced meals all day on the day of the event. This is not a good day to skip breakfast or find yourself too busy to eat lunch. Coming into the holiday meal with a solid day of healthy eating behind you will help give you momentum to continue making aligned choices.
Are you hosting? Create a meal you know will be great for you! Feeding your friends and family a healthy holiday meal is a wonderful gift. No one will leave complaining that you didn’t have dinner rolls, but more importantly you will have stayed the course on your plan and provided a nutritious meal for your loved ones.
Not hosting? Bring along a dish that is prepared as per your Nutrition Plan! Then at least you know you will have something delicious to eat. Not appropriate to bring a dish? Focus on visiting with the people, not on eating the meal. Enjoy the company and the ambiance and when it comes time to eat, do the best you can with what you are given. There’s no harm in leaving a few things on your plate that don’t fit into your plan.
Avoiding alcohol at special events and holidays can also be helpful in staying on track. Many drinks are full of empty calories and once we’ve had a few, we are less likely to feel motivated to stick to our goals.
Going out for dinner with your friends can be a recipe for disaster if you are trying to stay on top of your Nutrition Program. “Sure, we can share an appy”, turns into “I’ll have a beer with dinner” followed closely by, “Can I see the dessert menu?”
When you feel the itch to head out for a date night with your loved ones or pals, consider who you are meeting up with. Studies show that we are more likely to order something that is healthy if our dinner mates are doing so as well. Surrounding yourself with like-minded friends can have so many positive effects on your life, and successfully navigating a dinner out is just one of them.
If you’re heading to a social gathering where there will be snack food out, eat at home before you leave! This way, you will be arriving with a full belly and be less tempted by the treats. Grab yourself a sparkling, flavoured water to keep your hands busy and find a place to connect with your friends away from the food table.
You may also find it valuable to share with your friends and family what your goals are and how this may affect your behaviour i.e. what you eat, time you have available to get together, behaviours you will be avoiding or changing etc. This can feel intimidating to share, but if these people truly care about you, once they understand your choices and hear your goals for yourself they will likely be glad to support you however they can.
Staying the course with your Nutrition Program won’t always be a breeze, but if you are working with the right people, they will know how to support you to make the best choices you can and achieve your goals!
Maggie Bugg is Co-owner of CrossFit Qualicum Beach on Canada’s rugged and beautiful West Coast and is a massive Star Wars fan. With her Undergraduate Degree in Education, Maggie oversees the Kindergarten to Grade 12 programs at her affiliate and is the Head Trainer for the Teens Program. She is also the General Manager of the gym, focusing on cultivating a welcoming, safe, and results-driven environment for both Staff and Members. When not at the gym, you can find her nose in a book or her toes in ballet slippers.