Updated: Sep 5, 2019
Right now, you are within arm's reach of processed, sugary foods.
Common culprits include your kitchen pantry, your tea room at work, the platform of the train station, the petrol station, the check out at the grocery store. Add to that catered seminars at work, lunch dates and another birthday - cue the cake.
If there's people, there's food on demand.
The problem? More often than not, the food that's available is the kind of food that your body doesn't want or need. It's highly processed, housed in plastic and easily consumable. This kind of food is 'calorie dense and nutrient poor' - it crams ample calories into just a couple of bites but doesn't offer the body the nutrients it needs.
Here's the reality. If your priority is to look and feel better, there will be many times that you will need to resist temptation and say no to food that's there, ready for you to eat. It's inescapable.
The trick is to be ready for this. Your best intentions will quickly unravel if you can't look at that chocolate bar, packet of biscuits or slice of cake and say, 'No, thanks.'
Break the habit. Just say no.
There's no reason why you should eat unhealthy food just because it's there.
If you are offered a processed food or sugary treat that you didn't plan to eat, the best way to stay on track is to just say no.
'No thanks, I'm not hungry. I've just eaten. I'm fine, thanks.' You don't need to explain yourself.
It can feel uncomfortable to say no, especially in front of your peers. You may need to accept that you will probably be the odd one out.
But it's up to you whether this is a problem or not. If you tell yourself that you can't refuse a slice of cake for your friend's birthday, or that you will have to eat the catered lunch at a seminar because you can't reach for your BYO meal, you will convince yourself that it's a fact. Really, it's a story that you construct. You need to flip your perception. It will take some practice. But after a while, it won't bother you nearly as much to be the odd one out, if at all.
The irony is that most of the time your friend, family member or co-worker doesn't actually care if you eat the cake or don't eat the cake. But you do.
Don't let assumptions about what others may or may not think set you off track. If you have set a goal to alter your body composition and you put in the work day after day to reach it, then respect your body, stand up for your goal and take control!
But can I ever say yes?
Absolutely. Don't be that fitness fanatic who automatically says no, and then rants all about how terribly unhealthy that food is for you. You need to be able to chill out a bit and enjoy your life.
It's how you eat consistently that matters, day in and day out.
You should enjoy delicious foods that don't strictly fit 'the plan' on occasion. It's not a one off feast, dinner with friends or family celebration that will derail your results - it's the little, mindless treats for no reason that tend to be the culprit.
If you find it difficult to resist treats, it can help to say 'yes' deliberately. If it really is a special occasion, then factor this into your week. This way, you can decide what moments and foods really matter to you and enjoy them.