Every now and again we find ourselves in situations where eating healthy is not easy and sometimes just plain difficult! Thinking back to before my weight loss there was never a moment where I thought about what I was eating. I would eat any and everything I wanted to without a moment of pause for what I was actually putting into my body. If it tasted good and I wanted it I would just eat it.
When I went into weight loss mode and in my early days of maintenance I would obsess about food. My biggest concerns always came down to calories and making sure I was within my set range. I did eat healthy with a main focus on fruits, veggies, and various proteins. However I would also eat a lot more processed foods because it was easy for me to identity their calories and that way I was making sure everything I was eating was fitting into my calorie budget for the day. If I found myself in a situation where there was not a healthy food option or I was not able to see the calories on something I would panic. How was I going to be able to eat if I did not know how many calories something had?!?!
This may sound silly to some, but when food and how you are nourishing your body is all you think about for a while it is hard to not be able to control the situation. Well at least for me. After being in weight maintenance for long enough now I have learned how to work through these situations and the things to look out for in order to make sure I am doing the best I can for my body.
This past week I found myself in a few situations where eating healthy was not as easy as I would have wanted. I was in Arkansas for work and typically I never have a problem eating healthy here as I have a rental car and can go to my favorite Arkansas spots like Panera or grab some things at the grocery store. This week however I was out for our big shareholders meeting and therefore most of the meals there were provided for us.
I am not going to lie and say I have come so far that being in a room with a bunch of un-healthy food does not still make me panic because it totally still does! However now I take a step back, breathe, and have learned to just do the best I can and know I will be back to my normal routine in a couple of days. I thought it might be good to share a couple of my tips for navigating through these type of food situations and what works for me.
Breakfast is by far the easiest one to normally figure out. Most hotels offer oatmeal, fresh fruit, yogurt, or eggs as a healthy option. If you stick to eating these foods you will probably end up feeling full, satisfied, and will not have consumed too many calories. The high calorie foods are going to be the bagels, muffins, fruit juices, sausages, bacon, and waffles. For myself I started each morning off with a big bowl of fruit and either yogurt or an egg white omelet with veggies to get some protein in.
It was lunch and dinner where healthier options were really more limited. Most of the events had a lot of processed or fried foods and main dishes based with bread or pasta. Now of course I did have to end up eating some of these things, but I tried to limit how much I consumed of them and tried to help off set calories where I could. My first go to is always to fill up as much as I can on veggies, lean protein, and fruit. This way you are getting fuller first on the healthier foods and will then hopefully eat less of the higher calories items later. Dairy and condiments can have a lot of hidden calories in them so if I could I choose to get my sandwich or burger without the cheese, avoided mayo and creamy salad dressings, and passed on anything fried. In order to help me escape the dessert table I would just eat a mint or a piece of dark chocolate after dinner. That way I was ending my meal with a little something, but was not indulging every night. Of course I did end up having a cookie one night because sometimes you just need to have a cookie. I know some of these things seem minimal, but over time it is these little things that really do add up. Small changes will eventually lead to big changes if you keep at them for long enough.