Excuses, excuses. Don’t let them get in the way of eating healthy.
Here are seven ways to overcome common excuses many people make to overindulge.
- It’s a holiday (or the weekend or date night). Life has lots of special occasions — and weekends! Indulging a bit on holidays is OK, but you don’t want to make that a repetitive behavior. It helps a whole lot if you plan ahead. For example, if you’re going to an all-you-can eat holiday buffet, start with a small salad at home so you’re not starving when you go down the buffet line. Making holiday cookies? Why not make them festive and healthier this year? Try using oatmeal, fruits and nuts as main ingredients, and cutting the sugar in half.
- I’m down in the dumps (or stressed to the max). You blew a work deadline, had a flat tire or left your wallet at the grocery store. Comfort food is calling you, maybe even yelling to you. Life stresses, such as employment or caring for a sick relative, also can cause you to overeat — even when you’re not hungry. Instead of overindulging, try a distraction like taking a brisk walk, taking a few deep breaths or meditating. These tips can help you manage your stress, too.
- I already blew it for the day. I had a candy bar from the vending machine. Nobody’s perfect. Focus on what you can do next, not on what you did last. Plan ahead to eat healthy when in the office or on the run. Keep handy snacks, such as a portable piece of fruit (think apple, banana or orange), unsalted nuts and baggies of air-popped popcorn, that you can keep in your desk or grab on your way out the door.
- Someone brought doughnuts (or cake or pizza) to the office. It’s OK to pass on the unhealthy freebies. If you do indulge, have a couple of small mouthfuls and then find a way to get in some extra physical activity like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- I don’t have time to eat healthy. Look for small pockets of time to do something healthy for yourself — even if it’s while you’re doing something else. Try cutting fruit or vegetables while you’re watching the morning news on TV. This can be today’s snacks or for tonight’s salad. Maybe throw together an easy slow cooker recipe while you’re talking to your best friend on the phone.
- It’s hard to find healthier choices when eating out. Restaurants can be challenging, but dining out doesn’t mean you have to ditch your healthy ways. Look online for the restaurant menu ahead of time to identify good choices. Ask for healthy substitutions and sauces/dressing on the side. Try sharing portions with your dining companion or saving half for another meal.
- I’ll start being healthy tomorrow (next month, after the holidays). Why wait? Start now. Take one small step at a time. Building upon these small steps creates lasting healthier habits. You’ll be amazed at what you can do — one bite at a time!