In this post, I will share my tips for how to stay on track with your diet and lifestyle when you are out there in the real world.
In theory, eating healthy seems pretty straightforward. But as we all know, there are many things that can get in your way that have the potential to throw you off! Who is with me!
1. Gaining support from friends, family and community
It can be tough to stay on track and stay motivated without support of family, friends and community.
Do your best to encourage and motivate the people close to you to join you in this journey to better health. Try and frame it in a way where they can clearly see what’s in it for them. For example, maybe they’d like to lose weight, clear up their skin, improve their digestion, sleep better, get in better shape or save money by not eating out so much. Or maybe they want to feel closer to you and spend more time with you.
If you can involve them in goal setting and making these lifestyle changes, they are more likely to jump on board. Nobody likes to feel FOMO (fear of missing out). Even if they don’t jump on board right away, once they start seeing the positive changes you are making, they may feel more motivated to take part.
If you have kids, try to make these changes fun and involve them in the kitchen or by getting out and doing something fun and active together.
2. How to stay on track when eating out at restaurants
If you know you’re going to be eating out, try to look at the menu ahead of time and decide on a healthier option. Also, don’t be scared to ask the server for tweaks to any dish to make it align better with your health goals. I do this all the time, and trust me they are used to it!
If this feels nerve-racking, try to use humour with your server and say something like “you’re going to need a pen and paper for this! haha”
One of my favourites is ordering a burger without the bun and then a side salad or if you want a small treat, ask for half fries and half salad.
If you want to have a drink, try ordering a vodka soda with lime as a healthier alternative to beer or sugary drinks.
3. How to stay on track when going to or hosting social events
If you get invited out or are hosting and are nervous about all the temptation, make sure to bring your own “approved” dishes and then only eat off those dishes. I do this quite a bit and sometimes I’ll even try and “healthify” dishes so that I still feel like I’m getting a treat and not feeling too deprived. Some examples of this are homemade bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers, deviled eggs, keto desserts, or dairy free cheese spreads and healthy high fiber crackers.
Another tip is to tell people ahead of time that you are avoiding certain foods. Often times people will try to accommodate these changes and if not, even the act of saying it out loud to someone can often prevent you from sneaking in some non approved foods.
Another idea is to make it a community effort and plan an evening where you and your friends get together and you all bring healthy prepared food. That way you don’t have to avoid anything!
There is also always the option of eating ahead of time and then just showing up and visiting. This approach can be slightly awkward sometimes though, but usually only if its a sit down meal type of event!
4. How to stay on track when traveling
Travelling is a tough one for me. I have to admit that I’ve tried many times to eat healthy on trips and it always ends up with me eating loads of garbage!
I haven’t totally gotten this one in the bag, but some things I have done that did help are looking at google maps ahead of meals for healthy restaurants and filtering by highest rated & distance to where you are. This can help build excitement around trying new restaurants, and especially ones that are very highly rated. The best results I’ve gotten from doing this are when I type in search keywords such as “vegan” or “gluten free”. If restaurants offer vegan and gluten-free options, you can bet that they also offer many other healthy dishes even if you aren’t vegan or gluten-free. I’ve even tried using “paleo” as a search term and you’d be shocked how many restaurants are popping up these days (think Toronto and Vancouver!)
Another tip of course is renting an air B&B or hotel suite and cooking your own food.
Bringing healthy snacks with you on travelling days can also help prevent you from eating junk food in the airport or on the plane. These days there are so many packaged (but mostly natural and minimally processed) snacks to choose from.
No matter what the challenge, please be kind to yourself if you slip up. There are going to be times when you crack and eat something you shouldn’t have. It happens to the best of us, and it is not something you can totally avoid.
But instead of beating yourself up and criticizing yourself, next time try to be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Perfectionism is a dangerous game and let’s be real, ain’t nobody perfect!
Tara Klippert is a Registered Health and Nutrition Counselor and holds a diploma in Holistic Nutrition and Health Coaching. Tara helps people clear up cystic acne, balance hormones and blood sugar + improve anxiety and gut health NATURALLY with food.