As a hard-working professional, lack of time, consistent travel, and a rushed schedule can sometimes lead to poor eating habits. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. A great deal of research – as well as good ol’ anecdotal evidence from yours truly – suggests that an increase in physical health positively correlates with increased success in your professional endeavors. – By Jess Evora | Photos: JE
Good Physical Health = Active Lifestyle + Healthy Eating
This post is dedicated to explaining how easy it can be to maintain a healthy diet, even if you are constantly on the go.
Imagine this: You’re at home. You’re craving cookies.
You scour your kitchen looking for those cookies, or at this point, any type of sweets. You then remember you don’t keep sweets at home anymore because you’re trying to be healthier.
You realize you’re too lazy to leave the house, so you go snack on a nice, ripe banana (even splurging and eating a second one). You drink a big glass of water to wash it down. You soon realize the craving has gone away.
This is often what an evening at home looks like for me. And it can look like this for you too. If you stay ready.
I am currently in the best shape of my life. Family and friends have asked me what I’m doing to stay on track. I’m not on a diet, and never will go back to one. It’s really simple for me. I’ve simply made healthy eating my lifestyle. Therefore, I’m always ready to quickly combat a craving when it hits. It’s easier than you think!
The biggest key to success for me when it comes to maintaining my healthy eating is to stay ready. I always have a plan to workout 5-6 times a week, and I always have a plan for what I’m going to eat:
If I’m going to meet a friend for dinner: I enjoy a light protein shake (literally just the powder & water) on the way to dinner. This will reduce my hunger, and therefore, my cravings for unhealthy food. I’m more likely to settle on a healthy entree on the menu. There is actually a science to this. Check out my former colleague, Eve Lahijani’s TEDTalk on the subject. Ultimately, however, I try to avoid eating out all together, and prefer meeting friends for drinks. My drink of choice – bottled water.
If I’m going on errands for the day: I always pack water and a couple of snacks – maybe a banana and a handful of almonds. The moment I start to feel hungry, I have these snacks ready to go. This will save me from the hunger cravings that would likely lead to a stop for fast food.
I ALWAYS have healthy snacks in my purse and in my office at work. If I forget my lunch, for example, I have some protein bars in my drawer. If I realize I have to stay late at work, I also have to-go tuna packets to hold me up until I get home for dinner.
I ALWAYS have filtered water on me. I usually carry a reusable gallon jug with me to work, or have it in my car if I’m out for the day. Staying hydrated goes hand-in-hand with healthy eating, so I try my best to drink at least 3/4 gallon of water a day, but preferably 1 full gallon every day since I workout hard on most days. I don’t drink alcoholic beverages, but you most certainly can if you’d like. I believe you’re completely fine if you just keep it to no more than 1 or 2 days a week, and keep your fat intake especially low on the days you do drink because alcohol actually helps your body store fat.
I NEVER keep unhealthy food at home. And I mean NEVER. I know myself. I sometimes have random cravings for bad food, even when I’m not hungry. If I keep unhealthy snacks at home, I can easily go IN on a bag of chips, or eat a full box of cookies in one sitting. As I mentioned earlier in this post, one way to deter this sad event from happening is to simply not have any unhealthy food in my cupboards. I also try not to go to the grocery store on an empty stomach to prevent me from hunger-buying.
- Diversify your diet. Don’t eat the same thing all the time. Keep things interesting. Try new fruits and veggies. Introduce yourself to new food items on at least a bi-weekly basis. Getting bored with your diet can easily lead to bad choices, so keep things interesting.
- Allow yourself to eat unhealthy foods once in a while. Completely cutting it out can ultimately lead to binging if you go too long trying to suppress cravings. Eating tasty food is an important part of living life, and I definitely don’t deprive myself of that joy. Tasty food can be healthy, or it can be unhealthy. I allow for flexibility in my diet, and I believe that’s why it’s been sustainable.
- Don’t beat yourself up over one day of bad eating. I don’t dwell on it. I just put it behind me. I don’t punish myself for the entire week. I’ll just go extra hard in the gym the next day (maybe a longer cardio session), and that’s enough for me to forgive myself – as long as it doesn’t happen too often. As Jackie Monaco said in her quick article about binge recovery, it’s best to brush it off and keep it moving. One day of bad eating will not erase months, or even weeks of healthy choices. Try to think of it that way.
All in all, if you stay ready with healthy snack options, you will most definitely find that you stay on track more often. I hope these tips will help you to do just that.
As the rapper Suga Free said back in 1997:
“If you stay ready, you aint gotta get ready.”
US & OUR CULTURE
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