Planning to Eat Healthy Meals, Cheat Meals, and Treats

In my last Meal Planning Newsletter and blog post, I asked,

“What’s one thing you struggle with right now to eat healthy?”

One of the responses was:

“Resisting the first temptation of the day – today it was a croissant and I failed to resist it?! Unfortunately I know today is going to be a bad day – a big lunch with my wife, my best mate and his wife, and then a curry dinner this evening. Today is a write off!”

Croissant for Breakfast

Croissant for Breakfast (Photo credit: Accidental Hedonist)

This is a wonderful and typical message. It applies to me, to you my reader, and to everyone else.

The challenge with temptation is that if the ‘object of your desire’ is immediate and in your proximity you (and by you I also mean me) will probably give in and partake.

The #1 solution to making healthy eating choices –

Remove all unwanted foods from your home

Unwanted foods are the ones you determine are bad for you, based on your health and fitness goals.

In this case, if it’s croissants, don’t bring them home. Don’t buy them with your groceries. If they are a treat, then just buy one at the pasty shop and enjoy it there. Make it a date with a friend or your wife to have coffee and a pastry at your favourite café.

Make your cheat meals fun, instead of gobbling down a croissant first thing in the morning, knowing  in advance that you will feel guilty, and then feeling like bloody hell for having given in when you didn’t really want to in the first place (or did you?).

The #2 solution – Preparation

Have prepared, healthy meals ready to go, or in the case of your morning, have eggs in your fridge and cook them for breakfast.

A healthy breakfast could be a three egg omelette with spinach, a slice or two of cheese, some salsa and a tablespoon of guacamole on the side. Now that’s a satisfying, tasty and healthier start to your day.

Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater

We should and we need to cheat. However, if you can start your day with a healthy meal, it makes it easier to continue to eat healthy and make better choices for the remainder of your day.

Why? The croissant on its own will spike your blood sugar, telling your body to store the calories as fat.

As soon as your blood sugar levels drop — and they will drop much harder and faster after eating only a croissant — you will crave something to eat. In this state, physiologically, your body wants you to consume carbs, in other words sugars, to bring your insulin levels back to normal.

That’s the vicious cycle. Instead, if you ate the healthy omelette, your insulin levels will rise only slightly and they will not crash long after digestion.

With a more balanced blood sugar level it is easier to make a healthy food choice, because you know you’re hungry but you’re not starving or craving a quick fix. Over-hunger wrecks healthy choices.

Plan in order not to fail, or plan to cheat

Finally, if you know you are going to a social event that may throw your ‘diet’ out of whack, make a choice and plan your meals the day or night before.

Have healthy meal options ready to eat prior to the event where you might not be able to eat well, because you don’t know what will be served. Or chose to eat well during the day, so that you can have your cheat meal at the event and enjoy it.

It’s not about deprivation, rather it’s about choice: you can control whether you want to have the croissant at home or not — to eat it or not — or to have only healthy food at home 90% of the time so that you can make easier choices without having to feel guilt.

“You don’t eliminate a bad habit, you replace it.”

– James Clear [Source]

Want to break free of some of your old habits? James Clear has a free eBook, Transform Your Habits, that makes it easy. Seriously easy. No giving up. No suffering. Instead he offers useful and immediately actionable suggestions to make positive and lasting change easy.habits-book-300

You still have to do the work, but habit formation is easiest when you make small but measurable changes, managed and implemented over time, designed to improve your life and health.

With small, easier to action steps, you will get lasting, positive outcomes more easily than making a massive change all at once.

It’s a wrap (or is it a croissant?)

Please allow me to ask you again,

“What’s one thing you struggle with right now to keep healthy?”

Would you do me a favour and fill out your response in the comment’s box below?

Eat well to be well.
~Darren

© 2013 Darren Stehle. All Rights Reserved.

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