There’s a restaurant on every block, pastries in the break room, cookies in the cabinets and friends offering treats that are oh so delicious! Tempting, right? But also terribly distracting when you consider your health and fitness goals. How can you make good decisions when you’re surrounded by temptation? Deal with negative influences and toxic people in these seven ways.
1. Stay away from irresistible temptations.
Gummy bears are my favorite snack. I love them so much that they are banned from my house. I treat myself on special occasions like when I visit Gatlinburg, a town that is home to a delicious candy kitchen. I indulge on gummy bears when I’m gone and I don’t when I’m home. Not all cravings are powerful enough to warrant a full ban from your home, but some foods can be easy to overeat. Accept your limitations. Are there any foods you need to evict? This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy that food on special occasions. Just get them out of your cabinets.
2. Pack a healthy snack in your pocket or purse.
It’s not a lack of knowledge that causes poor eating decisions but rather a lack of preparation. You should have a healthy snack in your possession at all times. That could be a piece of fruit; a handful of carrots; or a bag that contains a serving of any nut. Consider this your EMERGENCY snack that you crack open if you experience cravings, hunger, or low energy during your day. You’ll satisfy your appetite without making the mistake of buying a sugary snack that just leaves you feeling more exhausted than you were in the first place.
3. Eat a fulfilling breakfast before you go to work.
Starting your day with a healthy breakfast will make it less tempting to snack on things you shouldn’t. One of my clients told me she was having hunger pangs within three hours of eating breakfast. I asked her to add a bowl of oatmeal, which helped her make it to her lunch hour without a problem. Protein and fiber take longer to digest in your body than simple carbs and sugar. That’s why oatmeal and eggs will probably satisfy your appetite longer than cereal or pancakes. Eat at least one quality source of protein and fiber before you go to work.
4. Have lunch on a park bench.
It can be hard to make healthy decisions in restaurants. Portion sizes are outrageous, nutritional facts aren’t guaranteed to be accurate, and it is just plain expensive. Besides, wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy your lunch in a more peaceful place? Pack a lunch that includes a fruit, vegetable, protein, and fiber. Take it to a park and sit on a bench or blanket by the river. If that’s not possible and your break-room is a tempting place, you could even just eat it in your car while enjoying a podcast or audiobook.
5. Get your family invested in a healthier lifestyle.
Your partner might protest when pasta loses its position as a dinner favorite. Your children might be picky eaters who are almost impossible to please. No matter how difficult it might be, you have to get your family involved if you want to sustain a plan for healthy living. Making healthy decisions will otherwise become so inconvenient that you won’t see the point in trying. Take your children grocery shopping. Ask them to choose a dessert to have with dinner. Show your partner a big list of recipes. Ask them to choose their favorites and help with meal preparation.
6. Explain why your goal is important to people who tempt you.
What looks like a lack of support is often nothing more than a lack of understanding. If you get looks of surprise for ordering a chicken salad and glass of water, don’t assume your friends are judging you. They might just be puzzled by your new behavior (especially if you typically order pizza and beer). Don’t make a big fuss about it. Say something like, “I know this might be a bit different but I need to make some changes. This isn’t easy so I could really use your support!”
7. Avoid encounters with people who are negative influences.
Some co-workers will present you with a pastry every day, no matter how many times you politely decline. Some family members will try to convince you that you’re getting “too skinny,” even though that’s clearly not the case. Some friends will refuse to support you, no matter what you try. Avoid these people as much as you can. Spend your time with people who challenge you to grow. Find the positive influences in your life and embrace them.
About the Author
Daniel Wallen is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of the Wallen Way. He is a personal trainer, Lifehack contributor, and author of, “The Busy Woman’s Guide to Getting Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous.”