So you've started down the path to better health and weight. You have the best of intentions. You're cruising along and eating great food, getting lots of exercise, and totally enjoying how it makes you feel more energetic...
And then... BAM! You find yourself at a catered office party featuring buckets of chicken wings and tubs of potato salad.
This, my friends, is just one of the unavoidable road bumps that stand between you and your healthy destination.
Luckily, we can spot the road bumps ahead of time and have a plan of action for avoiding them.
1) Office food
You and I both know that we only need to go one cubicle in any direction to be confronted by a cornucopia of sugar, fat and salt. In fact, as I write this, the candy bowl in the office directly behind me beckons.
What to do? Keep healthy snacks at your desk. If fact, if you keep healthy foods that you like close by you are less likely to need to wander around the office, looking for the 3 o'clock pick-me-up.
2) Dining out
I love restaurants. The trick is to know how to order the best of what they have, enjoy yourself and not regret every bite when you leave.
Focus on what you are really there for. If it's dinner, skip over the appetizers and focus on selecting a main course. Choose wisely. Fish is great. Whole wheat pasta is also good. Of course, be sure to make your plate heavy on the veggies.
Always focus on the whole foods on the menu and be sure to know and avoid the overly processed items.
If it's lunch, request the lunch portion of the menu even if you don't see it advertised and add as many greens as possible.
I know there's that dessert menu -- or worse yet, the dessert CART! -- that's going to come around at the end of the meal. Hey, if that's what you crave, it's perfectly fine to give in every now and then. Just be sure to make that the exception rather than the rule.
If you've taken precautions to make healthy choices for your main meal, then dessert shouldn't a problem.
3) No time for exercise
It's the mother of all excuses. But face it, everyone has time. We all like to think we don't but when we look at our schedules chances are good we have made time for TV, for shopping, for carpools, for nights out, for meetings and for errands...
You've made time for all your other priorities. Now you need to make time for fitness. If we do not make time for fitness, we will need to make time for illness.
Start small and walk three times a day for 15 minutes at a shot. Build from there. You won't regret it.
4) Eating on the run
Fast food is king in our on-the-go society. We are the product (or maybe the victim) of eating for convenience. While we are all guilty of gobbling as we go, there are some steps we can take to make better choices.
If fast food is your only option, make the healthiest choices possible. Go grilled instead of fried, and hold the sauces and the cheese. Also, pad your meal with as many veggies as you can. Limit the soda and, as much as it may hurt, just say NO to fries.
On occasion, fast food is acceptable at best. But next time you eat it take a minute and think about how you really feel while you are tasting and chewing it, and then after you eat it. Can you honestly say you enjoyed it?
5) Food shopping on an empty stomach
Food shopping... what a great sport, huh? Unless you are enjoying delicious home-delivered Diet-to-Go meals, you probably have to hop in your car from time to time and trek to the supermarket.
Okay, so let's treat shopping like a sport and go prepared. If you know ahead of time you will be out and about for the day, pack a small cooler and keep in the car stocked with water, nuts, fruit and maybe a snack bar or two.
That way, when you go food shopping on the way home, you won't be ravenous and overload your cart with poor choices that sounded so appealing at the time.
Also, be sure to make a list and stick to it!
Until next time, be well!
Alicia is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer and a Weight & Lifestyle Management consultant. The owner of Evolution Total Wellness in New York is also the author of "Oscar & Otis, Fat Fighters." For more information, visit www.linkedin.com/in/evolutiontotalwellness.