Two Lethal Landmines to Avoid: Fast Food & No Food
On some level we know that fast food is bad for us; no news flash there. However, our hectic schedules and sometimes the company we keep can dictate where we wind up at a meal time. For that reason, I highly encourage you to plan ahead and take measures to ensure you don’t wind up in the fast food trap. I know they are trying to have “healthier” options and you don’t have to get the fries or triple cheeseburger, but you might be disappointed to discover the nutritional content of that “healthier” option falls far short of what you could have created for yourself at home.
Almost as bad as throwing “bad food” into our body is putting NO food into our body. While some of us may have acclimated to approaching our eating habits in this way it should be somewhat obvious that it does not promote an optimum state of health for us. We have to have balance in how we approach our daily nutrition, and making a habit of going without meals, or even going an entire day without food will not serve us well.
If you haven’t already guessed, I am suggesting that you incorporate changes to your meal plan to ensure you are able to stick to a viable nutrition regiment each day.
The first rule of your meal plan:
HAVE ONE. Many of us get so busy that we don’t give any attention to our eating and have no plan. A meal PLAN means that you have considered what options you have and what will be best for the day (and even week!) ahead.
The second rule of your meal plan:
plan for 3-6 meals in your day. Opinions vary on whether it is best for your metabolism to stick with the traditional breakfast lunch dinner format or to make a concerted effort to have 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the course of a day. For myself, I make sure to have my standard 3, and typically incorporate an afternoon snack if needed. I have already planned what that afternoon snack can be, and have it at my disposal should the need arise. I am a teacher, and my morning goes nonstop through lunch so I don’t really have an opportunity to stop for a mid morning snack, but I also have not felt the need for one as I use Shakeology for breakfast.
The third (and final) rule of your meal plan:
Do not attempt to make up for today with tomorrow. If you blow your meal plan on Monday, do not create an extra calorie deficit on Tuesday in an effort to make up for it. Monday was blown. It happens; deal with it. Then come back stronger on Tuesday. Identify where you dropped the ball and make improvements until your daily habit match your meal plan and it will start to become automatic.
As I have had my own struggles in creating, implementing, and sticking to a meal plan I wanted to offer some recommendations to the three primary meals in the event that you can relate these experiences. I hope you find them helpful 🙂
Some of us get acclimated to having no breakfast and just go through the morning on coffee. It should come as no shock that this is really not the best idea. Your goal should be on your fitness and health, not simply losing weight or maintaining weight. You have an awesome opportunity in the morning to jump start your metabolism and give your body what it needs. Take advantage of that by PLANNING to have breakfast, however simple it may be.
When I failed to have lunch planned out, serious disaster could result. When this was coupled with failing to eat breakfast, it was even worse. Lunch time would roll around and I would be starving and have nothing in front of me. Solution? I’ll go get something real quick. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if I need food, and I need it fast, I am probably going to wind up with something for lunch that compromises my nutritional goals. It is critical that you plan your lunch the night before. If you are consistent, it won’t take long until you are looking forward to some of the lunches that you find you enjoy the most.
For dinner, I simply had to pay attention to my portion sizes. To be honest, this is largely because I have an awesome wife who plans our family’s meals for the week. She is an amazing cook, and it is an easy thing to have too much of a great dish that is served at dinner. In fact, it took her a little by surprise when I started paying closer attention to my food quanties, and having just one burger instead of two. I would measure the portions of my dinner sides; I started using the measuring spoons to give myself an exact portion of a salad dressing. At the end of the day, I am usually pretty spent, so having the blessing of a meal already prepared tempts me to disengage my brain altogether and just eat. I came to the place where I no longer wanted to “undo” the efforts I had made throughout the day. Again, in time this became more automatic, but it did require a bit of effort at first.
You Can Do It!
Some will face more difficult obstacles than the standard ones I have presented. The bottom line is that if you PLAN, you will have a huge advantage in sticking to your nutritional objectives. For myself, I found a tremendous advantage in using the approach presented to me by a college buddy who got me plugged into a challenge group that helped to give me balance between my exercise, nutrition, and accountability. I’m down 70 lbs so far, and have now entered my best fitness level since high school football. Drop a comment below or email me if you are interested in learning more about this. If I was able to do it, I promise you can too!
If you grew up in a home like mine, there was ample appreciation for what we had and it was unconscionable to allow food to go to waste. Translation? You cleaned your plate, and did not allow food to go into the garbage. While well intention-ed, this approach to eating fails to take into account the possibility of not having a well balanced meal, or have portions in excess of what we actually need. Add to to this the pressure of needing to validate family cooking by going back for seconds, and you have the makings of some potentially bad eating habits.
Of course, in high school this wasn’t such a big deal with football and plenty of activities to counteract the massive calorie intake. However, enter college, and then marriage with that same mentality in place but no exercise to balance it and it can create a bit of an issue. I was able to compound this problem further by looking at every plate put in front of me as a challenge as to whether I could finish it or not. With so many restaurants offering outlandish portions it became extraordinarily unhealthy for me when we would eat out.
As I have recounted in my other posts, the inevitable results of these eating habits landed me at 276 lbs. Fortunately I was introduced to a challenge group from a college buddy and by following the program with Shakeology and Les Mills Combat I am now within striking distance of breaking through the 200 barrier! I now plan that when we go out I may very well eat half my meal and bring the other half home.
This got me to thinking: why do I force feed myself when I know that I’m done with my meal? Then it struck me! I was still using the same eating philosophy from my childhood. I began to actually think through this idea of “Leave nothing to waste!” It occurred to me that just by shoveling what was left into my face does not mean it has benefited my body. Whenever I eat in excess, the bottom line is that it goes to MY waist, which means by eating it the food has gone to waste twice over!
Please know, I am not abdicating that we should get in the habit of throwing food away. I believe that if we reprogram ourselves to learn our bodies better, we can be better prepared to know when we are best served by ordering smaller portions or being ready to take food home. There are those occasions when it doesn’t work to try to bring the food home due to spoilage or distance from home. While it may be aggravating to throw perfectly good food away, what’s worse is if we waste the food twice over and pretend that by eating it we made a good decision. I am learning to listen to my body better. I encourage you to do the same, and when appropriate allow some food to go to waste so that it won’t go to waist 🙂