We don’t live in a controlled lab environment, so why do we place such stringent standards on our eating and exercise behaviors during normal life situations?
We get ourselves so worked up and obsessed over what to eat at a restaurant or on a vacation that we eventually say “screw it, it’s not worth it. I’m going to enjoy myself and start over tomorrow (or Monday, or when you get back).
These one-off situations don’t need to be a source of stress. They’re supposed to be a way for you to relax and enjoy life a little.
So how do you navigate these situations so that you don’t keep back-tracking on your goals?
You Can’t Always Control What You Eat
What you eat isn’t always in your control, and that’s OK. Unless you personally prepare and eat every single meal at home, there are going to be times when what’s being served doesn’t really align with what you’re trying to accomplish.
Here’s the thing though – while you can’t always control what you eat, you can always control how you eat. The good news is how you eat has a much bigger influence on your outcome.
What that means is you always have the final say on how much you eat. You have control over your mindset surrounding food and whether you’re living with an abundance mindset around food or one that creates scarcity.
Stressing over eating a piece of cake and then guilt eating has a much more negative impact on your goals than having an abundance mindset, giving yourself permission to eat the birthday cake, eating it mindfully guilt-free, and stopping before you’re stuffed.
Same situation. Different perspective. Different outcome over time.
There Is No On or Off Plan
The goal is to put the idea of being “on” plan or “off” plan out of our mind.
There is no plan – just eating. And the more consistent you can be with how you eat, the better you’re going to be able to navigate any unusual circumstances.
There will be no daytime or nighttime eating, no weekday or weekend eating, no at-home eating or restaurant dining, no holiday or vacation stuffing vs what you eat at home. There is just the way you eat.
And the more consistent you can become with how you eat and approach your relationship with food, the easier new habits will be formed. Once those habits are in place you can stop stressing over everything you eat and every pound you aren’t losing.
You will maintain a healthy body weight.
So let the meal plan mentality go. Use them as guides – not the be-all-end-alls of your eating. Work on your mindset surrounding food and learn to eat mindfully and stop when you’re 80% full.
Practice these behaviors whether you’re at home or not – in any situation. The more you practice them the more you will trust yourself to navigate any situation, and you’ll be able to enjoy those holidays and vacations without them causing you unneeded stress.