The answer to that question, my friends, is "yes, so here’s the latest in the 11 Laws of Nutrition, a series designed to get you thinking about what, why and how you eat. Hopefully, itll inspire you to take all the hard work and commitment you use on the exercise mat and transfer it to the placemat. Here is law No. 9. (And, in case you missed the others, here are No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 , No. 6, No. 7, No. 8 and No.9)
Have you ever attended a holiday meal with the forgone conclusion that you were going to eat yourself sick? Have you ever flown to sunny St. Somewhere with the knowledge that youd be seeing the sites though a sugar-spiked haze? Have you ever let your grumbling tummy allow you to succumb to the call of the candy aisle at the gas station?
If your answer to all of these questions is no, you can color me impressed. You are a true nutritional badass. But if you answered yes to any of these — or just shrugged and declined to comment — I pass no judgment. Eating right in such situations is a first-class challenge. But Im here to tell you this: Youre tougher than you think, especially if you walk into situations like these equipped with my next Law of Nutrition: Vision.
Vision means you keep your eye on the prize, even in difficult situations, and adapt your healthy diet on the fly instead of surrendering to junk food.
Vision goes hand in hand with Consistency and Variety. The combination of the three works together as a triad that creates a platform for success. Consistency means you commit to eating what you need to succeed. Variety allows you to shift your diet when those needs change. Vision combines the two. When youre in a jam, it allows you to use Consistency as a beacon and Variety as a tool to adapt quickly.
Think outside the box. Ask yourself, How do you eat healthy foods in tricky situations? Sometimes, the answer is obvious. At those holiday dinners, simply eat less and choose wisely. That succotash might not be perfect, but its better for you than the garlic mashed potatoes. Ask for turkey breast instead of thigh. Walk away from the dinner roll bowl. And just because Uncle Mort goes back for thirds doesnt mean you have to. If youre feeling a little peer pressure to pork out, again, use your Vision. First, look at the possible future 20 minutes from now, when youre sitting on the couch, pants unbuttoned, feeling bloating and gross. Then, look at an alternate future 20 years from now, where youre looking and feeling great (better than poor Uncle Mort!) because you spent a lifetime eating right under pressure.
Other situations are a little more complicated. Cross-country driving, for example. Theres just no need to see our beautiful land while snacking on truck stop fodder. Before you head out, have the vision to pack a cooler filled with strawberries, blueberries, hummus, carrot sticks, veggie sandwiches on whole grain bread and bottled water. Youll never be that far from a grocery store, so make a point of restocking whenever you see one, whether youre running low or not.
If you do end up at a truck stop, experiencing hunger pangs with nothing but garbage around you, use Vision for a little self-check. Ask yourself if you really need that hot dog. Do you think you can survive for another 20 minutes on a bottle of water until you get to a place that sells decent food? It depends on how badly you want it. And when I say it, Im not talking about processed, nitrite-packed tubes of mystery meat that have been sitting in a heater for two days. When I say it, I mean your desire to achieve, to strive, to be the healthiest you that you can be.
In other words, your desire to turn your Vision into Reality.