I don’t care if you eat vegan, plant-based, keto, zone diet, whole-30, carnivore, etc. If you make the one mistake that I have made a few times in the past week, you too will fail on your diet no matter what your goals are.
My daily eating pattern is as follows: Coffee in the morning, the first meal at around 11 am, snack around 3 or 4 pm, and dinner any time between 6 and 9 pm depending on my coaching schedule or my kids’ activities. So I typically like to eat two bigger meals with a mid-afternoon snack.
The major mistake I sometimes make is STUFFING my face during the mid-afternoon snack. I see it coming and I try to avoid it. But when I get home from work and transition into the nightly activities, I have a habit of eating whatever is in sight. I still stick to vegan foods at this time but many times the foods are not whole foods. Yesterday, for example, I went for some extremely tasty vegan chipotle potato chips. I ate way more than I should have. I felt guilty about it later. I tried to process how I could counteract the bad eating decision by working out harder or longer to outwork the bad diet decision. I also then started to consider what should I cut out of my dinner to make sure I don’t overeat at that meal as well.
There was a lot of psychology involved in the decision to eat the potato chips. The problem began with me rationalizing that I hadn’t eaten that much so far that day so I could go all in. Once I started, I didn’t really limit how much I was going to have as I grabbed the entire bag. Then I began to question every diet decision for the rest of the day! It’s not just eating the chips, it’s everything that follows that decision as well.
How could I have avoided this mess? It’s simple. PLAN.
I know every day when I get home from work, if I have extra time on my hands, I am most likely going to indulge in a bigger snack than I typically would if I were on the go. If I am proactive and know that I have some healthy choices available, I can save the entire day from a lot of mental and physical stress.
Instead of reaching for chips, I could plan to eat more fruits and vegetables, a salad, a smoothie, or other options that are way more satisfying and nourishing than the empty calories of chips. This sounds easy but it’s important to know where to reach for these foods. Having nutritious foods accessible and easy to prepare is also key.
In our house, we try to keep a bowl of fruit stalked on the island in our kitchen which makes it easy to grab an apple, orange, or banana at any time. I will never feel guilty for over-eating fruit.
So I challenge you to think about your day. When do the bad habits creep in? When do you reach for snacks that you know you should avoid? What triggers those bad habits. Once you figure out the pattern, interrupt the pattern with easily prepared, accessible options.
I’d love to hear what your recommendations are to avoid that bad time of day when you may set yourself back. Feel free to leave a comment or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.