It's Friday night, you had a long day at work. You skipped lunch and food has been invading your thoughts like a bad dream.
It comes down to good old choices. You inherently have the free liberty to make day to day nutritional choices. Those decisions have consequences regardless if you think about them or not. Everything we eat has a trade off. This means that sometimes the food choices you make could give you substantial energy or possibly make you feel like crap. The choices you make could add to weight gain, weight maintenance or weight loss. The choices you make may ultimately take you down a path of a lower quality of life or they could benefit your health immensely.
The personal conversation of "What am I going to eat and how will it make me feel" needs to happen daily. The hardest part of this question is separating the emotional decision from the physical one. The emotional decision is often times the easiest one, or the decision that speaks to how we feel in that moment. The physical decision can take some problem solving and may require more time. It might be the less exciting one or the least spontaneous choice. But often times it's the choice that will benefit you long term.
These choices could vary but typically look something like this:
Go out to eat or stay in and cook.
Order take out or eat left-overs.
Stop for some fast food or or wait to eat the food you meal prepped.
Eat a three course meal with family and friends or watch portions and say no to some possible favorites.
Stay out late drinking with friends or limit your intake and leave an it earlier than others.
Hang out with friends at happy hour or eat your scheduled snack and get to the gym.
We tend to not weigh those decisions but they accumulate into something negative or positive depending on what we decide. Often times they are the deciding factor if we reach our goals or not.
When your willpower is depleted, you are even more likely to make decisions based on the environment around you. After all, if you’re feeling drained, stressed, or overwhelmed then you’re not going to go through a lot of effort to cook a healthy dinner or fit in a workout. You’ll grab whatever is easiest.
Set yourself up for success with these decisions so you're armed to face them head on.
Here are 5 tips that help me fight off giving into food choices that don't benefit my overall goals.
Have a healthy snack alternative to hold you over on your ride home.
Pace healthier foods in more visible spots in your refrigerator, pantry, and around the kitchen.
Tuck away cookies, treats, and other unhealthy choices down on the lower shelves.
Have your meal already waiting for you in a container so it is easy to grab and less time to wait when you get home.
Plan out a day or two that you will have a treat so it's worked into your week. That way you aren't going over your allotted calories for the day or week and you have something to look forward to instead of feeling guilty about.