So before you read the headline and think I'm either unrealistic, militant, a moron or all three, read on.
I'm not asking you to never eat a chip again, never touch alcohol again and never touch another Haribo (I know I could never fully say "bye" to my friend Mr.Haribo).
What I AM saying is there is ALWAYS a choice. So when people say: "I know I'm going to eat badly this week because of...." then that's fine. But that's your choice.
Make the choice: Do you want to carry on optimising your training 100%? Or do you want a beer? Do you want to continue to make steady progress in reward for all of your hard work? Or, do you want some chips?
Neither is necessarily the "wrong" answer. But don't tell me how badly you want to lose weight the day before you eat a tub of Ben and Jerry's because you had organised to go the cinema so it was inevitable.
Obviously there will be times where you turn to the dark side and eat something from the less desirable list. But, use a little forward planning, know when these are and then avoid other easier and less appealing slip ups.
For instance, you're heading out for a meal with your partner and you're looking forward to a drink before hand and probably pudding after. Fine, but knowing this is coming you can't just grab some breakfast on the way to work which ends up being a croissant and a coffee, grab a sandwich and a bottle of coke at lunch and then some sweets for an afternoon pick-up. If you're booking in some slip-ups, you need to be flawless before and after.
Here's some ways to spot these hurdles and some choices you can make. Do them all and you're a far better person than me. Avoid the majority and you're likely to be doing better than you are now:
"I have to go out for dinner"
That's fine and no one would expect you to stay in and never venture out for food. There's usually a varied menu at most places you visit and, if you really want to focus on your food choices, you can ask for a tweaked version of the listed meal. For instance, if you're at an establishment that seems to believe chips are an essential addition to any meal, then simply ask them to trade the chips for additional vegetables. No one will blink twice at the request and you won't even be faced with the temptation of chips on your plate. Of course, there will be some restaurants that you deliberately visit for an unhealthy food option such as a pizza place or your favourite burger and beer combo. But... if that's the case be sure to consider that as a treat to yourself and not a "go-to" dinner. Also, be sure to make sure your food before this meal is outstanding. If you can, try to exercise that day. Exercise has been heavily linked with improving decision making around food choices.
"I was in and out of meetings all day"
This is a common one and often an excuse for "grabbing a sandwich on the go". Instead, why not prep your food the night before and eat it in instalments between meeting. You must get 5 minutes surely? Another idea is to have a casein protein shake just before your meeting. It will keep you fuelled and alert through longer meetings and also supply protein to your body over a prolonguied period. Finally, if it's not a bit Captain Keeno, why not make healthy protein snacks? 1) Your boss will love you, 2) You can eat healthy snacks throughout and not be forced into picking at junk.
"I don't have time for breakfast in the mornings"
Simple. Wake up earlier. Breakfast doesn't need to take hours to create. You can make and eat a nutritious breakfast such as scrambled eggs with mushrooms and turkey (my favourite) in a matter of minutes. There's no excuse! If you're tired in the mornings then go to bed earlier. Or, just stop moaning, get up and make your breakfast while you're tired and get on with it. You want to be in better physical shape? But not as much as 15 minutes more sleep? You obviously don't want it that badly.
"I don't have time to prepare my lunch"
Prepare it the night before. Either cook extra dinner and put that aside for lunch the next day or just take the time to prepare your lunch before you settle down for the evening. You DO have time, it's just a case of identifying the time and addressing the issue in advance. Remember: Tupperware is your friend!
"I don't get home from work until late"
Your problem is similar. The solution is: preparation. While you're happy to wait a few minutes for your microwave meal to cook or for your take away to be heated and delivered this time could easily be spent cooking a quick meal such as grilling some basic meat that you had ready to use. It's perfectly manageable; it's just a case of if you can be bothered or not.
"They only serve junk food"
If you know that you're heading somewhere with poor food options, perhaps even your workplace, then you'll need to prepare your own food. The easiest option is to take left overs from last nights dinner. Failing that, you'll need to find 5 minutes either the night before or in the morning to throw together something to take with you.
"I had to take clients out"
Often people will use client entertainment as a green light to let lose with food and drink. While you don't want to make people feel uneasy or appear boring and unable to let your hair down, ask yourself: would they ACTUALLY care if I didn't drink? If you can avoid mid-week drinking or drinking for the sake of it on a regular basis this will have a huge impact on body composition and dietary choices. If you think you might be pressured into drinking why not drive and use that as your excuse for not drinking? They're unlikely to put pressure on you throughout the evening to drink then. Just as above, if it genuinely is unavoidable, take this into consideration with your food and exercise regime in the time before and after your client night out.
"I'm flying that day so can't control my food options"
This one is tricky but again, if you REALLY don't want to let things slip you have choices. many long-haul flights won't allow you to take food produce into another country. However, if you eat the food in the air they won't mind. This means that you can prepare all of the food you want and eat on-board. Alternatively, make sure you're fuelled pre-flight by eating ahead of time and even having a casein proteins hake or bar on flight or just before hand for high quality, slow releasing nutrients.
"My family won't eat healthy things if I cook it for them"
Firstly, if they're children, yes they will. Children learn from their environment and only understand from experience. If you don't make a big fuss about it and even try to make interesting meals with fresh produce then they can be enjoyable and the children won't think anything of it. If the problem (child) is a little older or your partner is the issue then either try to cook something a little more diverse (millions of options online) or cook separate meals. Don't suffer failure as a result of someone else's narrow mindedness.
As I said, you're unlikly to stick to all of these examples in your life but, be aware of them before they arise and plan around them where possible rather than accepting them and falling at the first hurdle. All it takes is a little foresight and a hell of a lot of will power... That's all!