5 Questions to Ask When You Cheat on Your Diet
Let’s talk diet, because that is the biggest (and hardest!) part of living a healthy lifestyle, especially if eating clean is new to you. Oftentimes my clients will start training with gusto and excitement, lose 5-7 lbs., fit better into their clothes and then…cheat on their diet and gain back 2 lbs.
When this happens, it’s time to do a little soul searching to figure out when you went off track and why, so we nip this back tracking in the bud.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Cheat On Your Diet
- Was it a lack of preparation? (You were stuck late at work and didn’t have any food with you so you bought fast food.)
- Was it rebellion? (i.e. ” Damn you green beans! I’m eating chocolate because I want to! So there!”)
- Did life interfere? (Things were going great until I had to go to a funeral out of town, my car got a flat tire, I twisted my ankle…)
- Was it social? (i.e. – There was a company dinner I had to attend, my friend got married this weekend, it was my birthday, etc.?)
- Was it emotional? (I just got into a huge fight with my boyfriend and ate a box of ice cream with some cocktails.)
Maybe it was one of these reasons or maybe it was a combination of all five. I can pretty much guarantee that the issue that got you off track this week will pop up again, so it’s best to come up with some strategies now to better prepare you for next time.
Strategies for Dealing With Common Dieting Snafu’s
- Set yourself up for success. Buy a bag of raw almonds and protein powder in the flavor of your choice and keep it at your desk at work for emergency situations. I also keep almonds and a single serve protein packet in my gym bag. This has come in really handy – once a pregnant lady was feeling woozy and I was able to give her some food to settle her stomach.
- Look at your schedule. Time management plays a part here. You have to make time to prep your food. Make it part of your Sunday/Wednesday night routines to food prep for the week. It saves you time and brain damage in the long run. Once you establish this routine it’s easier to follow. Mark it on your calendar.
- You’ve eaten so good all day for four days now and it’s totally not fair that the skinny bitch in accounting keeps eating her chocolate donut in front of you and then leaves it half eaten on her desk all morning! YOU should get the donut not HER! I totally get it. Here’s the thing that you have to tell yourself: Life is not fair, so suck it up. Her metabolism is different than yours, so stop comparing your foods with hers.
- Trick yourself. If my client is craving chips, I tell her to buy a bag of Quest Protein Chips that way she feels like she’s cheating but she’s not. If my client craves chocolate, I tell her to eat two Hershey Kisses before she runs on the treadmill. That way she feels like she’s getting her chocolate and I know the calories will be burned off on the treadmill.
- At some point you will have to face disappointment. When everyone is eating nachos and you can’t you will feel disappointed. But think how good and strong and empowered you will feel if you exercise self-discipline. Now I want you to picture yourself twelve months from now if you haven’t dealt with this rebellion and you weigh exactly the same you do right now. How disappointed will you feel then? Really think about that. You can’t escape disappointment, so deal with it now to give yourself a better future.
- As the saying goes, $#@! happens, so your reason for wanting a healthy lifestyle has to be stronger than your wanting a box of cookies right now. I guarantee that when you want it bad enough nothing will stop you. That’s why you see people missing limbs climb mountains, the single mom of four graduate college and people like Hellen Keller learn to read and write and speak despite being blind and deaf. My mentor from American Grit, Noah Galloway, lost part of his arm and leg in Iraq. He runs Tough Mudders and won 3rd place on Dancing with the Stars! Let these people’s example inspire you to push past your own obstacles, however difficult they may be.
- Food is part of life. This includes eating out at restaurants and going to parties. How I tell my clients to handle restaurants depends on the situation and their goals, but basically boils down to three options: have a cheat meal, bring your own food or make the best choices you can.
- Cheat meal. If your sister is getting married or it’s your anniversary or some similar big event, eat your meal, drink a glass of wine and eat a slice of cake. Just adjust your food intake earlier in the day and make sure to get back on track immediately after. A cheat meal is just that. One (1) meal.
- Bring your own food.
At first I felt weird about doing this, but so many people have food allergies these days most people don’t care if you pack up Tupperware with some chicken, rice and green beans. This guarantees that you will stay on track and also offers up an interesting conversation topic at the church picnic.
- Do your best.
- If you are at a restaurant tell the server to not bring out any bread or chips. If it’s a big group, ask that the bread/chips be placed at the other end of the table.
- Look at the menu. Lots of restaurants put the calories next to items, or at least have healthier options. Order those.
- You can also order like this, “Hi! Can you please have my chicken and vegetables grilled plain with no butter?” (Of course they can.)
- Ask for a box to be delivered with your meal so you can divide it in half, since restaurant portions are notoriously huge.
- If you are getting salad, ask for the dressing to be on the side and dip the tip of your fork into it, that way you get the flavor without dumping all that high-calorie oil over your vegetables
- Order one drink and hold it all night. That way you won’t have to deal with peer pressure. If you are looking for low-cal alcohol, go for vodka.
- Mixed cocktails with the glass dipped in sugar or salt are just asking for weight gain. Avoid these.
- If you like beer go for Michelob Ultra, it’s a lower carb and lower calorie light beer
- Food is for fuel. While there is a social element to food, the primary reason we eat food is to fuel our body. Food is for fuel. Food is not our friend. Food is not there to comfort us because our boss is a jerk or to give us a fun activity when we’re bored, so when you feel the urge to eat after an emotional trigger say aloud, “Food is for fuel, it’s not my friend.”
- Call a friend. If you’re angry or upset call a real friend and talk about the problem. Venting is a wonderful thing.
- Take a walk. Walking helps calm you down and also serves as a great distraction from lingering in your kitchen. As an added bonus, drink water while you’re walking. A lot of times you think you’re hungry when you’re actually thirsty.
Hope that helps! And remember, if you messed up yesterday: That was yesterday. This is today. Get back on track. Now.
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Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!!!
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