Mission Impossible? How to Escape Crappy Food, Dodge Eating Out & Tip Toe Around A Cheat Meal
That family reunion dinner, the birthday cake, that chance for a few cheat meals, taking those clients out to lunch, or that nice friend that owes you dinner and offers to wine and dine you at Burger King. What do they all have in common?
These are all those sweat building, heart pounding situations where you seem to find yourself without any healthy options to eat, but your stomach is like a ticking time bomb about to explode.
How do you do it?!?!
You can eat the crappy food and satisfy your acquaintances, but your stomach will be filled with toxic food that will set you back days on your health goal. But if you don’t eat or make some picky order you could be ridiculed or bludgeoned with a butter knife by your angry grandma for letting her down. This seems like a tougher decision than Tom Cruise diving out of a window in the Burj Khalifa.
What do you do?….What do you do?
Dropping Some Verbal Kung Fu On Those that Oppose Your Health
Ok well calm down and don’t get your undies in a bun. When faced with a challenging situation you can’t freak out. Stay calm or this operation could go south in a hurry. This one meal won’t be life and death unless someone dropped a cyanide pill in there. Sometimes the first step to take is to help family and friends realize this meal isn’t life or death as well.
So what are some tactics you can take with people you are eating with that allows you to eat healthy without getting your head knocked off?
Be open with them about it. Tell them that you have a diet you are doing and explain some reasons why you are doing it. It obviously depends on how comfortable you feel around that person. The more comfortable, the more you can share. Be open, honest, and confident. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about doing what is right. People won’t attack you if you are confident and passionate about what you are doing.
Make fun of yourself. I like to say with a grin, “I am doing this cause I am fat.” Whether I am or not, it seems to work. Often people feel uncomfortable about you eating healthy because it reminds them that they are not. They probably feel uncomfortable about what they are eating in front of you because they know it is an issue for them too. I have noticed this quite a bit with dates. Self-deprecation can go a long way in life to help others put down their guard around you.
Make something up. Any good spy is good at stretching the truth. I know it probably sounds like I am suggesting that you lie, but sometimes it is actually easier in this situation to “stretch the truth” a little. Often some hyperbole can shut down this conversation very quickly. Mention you have digestive problems with dairy or insulin problems with grains and sugars. You can say you have allergic reactions even. It is all true. Sugar, grains, and dairy are toxic and cause for allergy-like symptoms to happen: bloated stomach and hips, poor digestion, congestion, and much more.
Let me reiterate: don’t get bugged when the family member or friend has hurt feelings because you won’t eat their food. Don’t get frustrated when they make fun of you. They just don’t understand.
Even sometimes explaining it to them, won’t matter much. Have patience with them, but stay strong to your values. Think of it like them trying to hand you a cigarette in the 1940’s before we ever knew about the health issues of tobacco. We are in a similar historical stage, but it is with certain foods like sugar and flour instead of cigarettes.
The bottom line is that if these people are your true friends or really care about you, then they will respect your choices. In the end you have to remember that this is YOUR body. It isn’t their body. It’s Know MY Body, not Know Grandma’s Body.
You have to deal with the disease and sickness that comes its way. You are the one that will have strong or tepid self-esteem based on your body, not them. They may empathize when you are struggling with diabetes, heart disease or something else caused by your obesity, but they can’t solve the problem for you. They may feel sad that you are overweight and are struggling to get into a relationship, but they aren’t going to provide you a drink of self-confidence or make that attractive person like you.
In the end only you decide what goes down your mouth. Only you will make the final call on how you look and feel.
Holding a Dangerous Weapon: Cheat Meals
Just like how you can overeat healthy food, like fruit and nuts, you can also get away with junk food by limiting your portions and the amount of times you have them.
99% of the time you want to avoid crappy foods that can destroy your health relationship you are building. This is one of the situations where I have to say the “1%” is ok folks. A cheat meal once a week is fine.
There is a lot of debate on how many of these you can have in a week. Some say one, others say two, and I have heard people like Tim Ferriss (Four Hour Body) and Bill Phillips (Body for Life) say if you do it right you can have a whole cheat day. It can be as confusing as trying to figure out what the crap was happening in the first Mission: Impossible or why John Woo decided it would be epic to throw in random doves flying through the air in the second installment.
A lot will depend on your body type and also what your goals are. I think that for most of you looking to lose fat the safe bet is one meal of pure crap a week. This means anything. Now I know we talked about fidelity with food, but this is the one way that it is different than a human long-lasting relationship. One cheat meal a week likely won’t set off a time bomb (unless you start consistently binging).
There are a lot of benefits of cheat meals. Probably the biggest is the mental break it gives you after all of the hard work you have put in. The best cheat meals are those where you don’t over do it. If you go for sweets, look for those that are lower in sugar. Go for solids instead of liquids. Go for clean cheat meals like fruit that are high in insoluble fiber and still help you get your fix for fructose. These are just some cheat meal ideas. In the end do what makes you happy, but make sure to get back on the wagon.
One Weekly Slip-up
Not only is it positive to mix it up a bit physically with your meals, but it also helps psychologically. Often feeling restricted to eat only certain foods can cause a person to snap like they have a device implanted in their brain. Next thing you know it’s binge time. Giving yourself that freedom for a meal or two a week will be a huge benefit for you mentally as much as physically so you don’t feel so constrained.
Think of it like you are constantly at war (that might not be hard for some of you) and you get about 20-40 battles (or meals) a week. If you win all but one or two battles, that is a great winning percentage. You will take the war in no time. Your body will obviously be going in the right direction with that type of productive eating. Also there is something nice about being able to look really good and eating some junk food in front of other people. It becomes mind boggling to them and they ask, “How can she eat that and look so good!?!?”
Escaping to Eat Out
So the common conclusion after reading about the types of foods you can eat and what a meal should consist of, is that you can never eat out again. That is a yellow propaganda lie. You can go to fast food places, restaurants, and out to BBQ’s with friends. You just have to be very smart about it.
There is usually a section on the menu intended just for people eating healthy. Now the definition of “health” for health companies compared to what you and I know it to be may be miles apart. Companies tend to focus a lot on the number of calories and not necessarily what the calories are. Again focus on meals centered around animal protein, vegetables, and healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and avocados. Also fruit can be something worth mixing in as well.
One of the first things you have to do is always ask questions. Find out what is on the meal. Explain to them what you can and can’t eat at a high level. Is it grass-fed? Is it processed or fresh? Is it breaded? What kind of sauce comes with it? This will help them figure out what you want.
You can’t get embarrassed or feel like you are putting them out. Chances are high someone came to them with a similar request before. Remember…this is their job to help you and you are the person paying the money. Again this is your body, not their body.
Some of the biggest hidden killers are toppings and oils that aren’t filling, but are empty calories with a net negative benefit.
Some examples are:
- fat dressings, butter, margarine, tropical oils (not coconut), butter sauce and other cheese and cream sauces
- stuffed, fried, batter-dipped, basted, or marinated or with any of the stuff above.
- croutons, bacon bits, and other flour toppings on salads.
Stick to herbs, spices, and oils like olive, palm, coconut, and avocado. Also vinaigrettes or vinegar are good choices. Look for protein and carbs that are broiled, grilled, baked, steamed, and roasted. Often portions are huge when you eat out. Don’t be afraid to box half of your meal and live to fight another day if you aren’t hungry.
Choose places with fresh food. I would recommend eating at places where food isn’t processed. The least amount of steps the animal takes from the ground to your plate, the better.
Ask about how their food is prepared. The closer you can have the food looking like it did when it was living, the better off you will be with getting the nutrients your body needs. This means less fast food and more sit down restaurants. This also means a lot more grocery shopping and less restaurants.
This also means limiting frozen meals like Healthy Choice and Smart Ones. They may be easy to prepare, but we are talking about processed food with high levels of sodium and a lot of the nutrients pulled out. As someone once mentioned, shop along the outside of the grocery store where you get fresh meat, produce, etc.
Eating out can be a dangerous situation. While it isn’t Mission: Impossible, the chances of survival are always risky at best. I would limit eating out to at the most one time a day and preferably a couple times a week. If you can avoid eating out, then you can control more of what goes down your throat. Again it is often the hidden ingredients that can kill you.
Finding Your Safe House
There was a study done at the University of Minnesota that noted that families that ate together at home, were more likely to have children grow up eating healthy with better diets when compared to those that didn’t eat with their parents at the dinner table.
Setting an example for your children and family members by eating well and together has a huge impact on the nutrition decisions they will make in their own lives whether you are there or not.
Going to pull out my Dr. Phil hat here. On top of healthy eating, it also fosters a stronger family relationship where parents spend time with their kids and discuss their lives together. This creates more trust and stability in a family and probably helps prevent your kids from growing up and becoming Russian spies going after IMF agents, which I know most parents are concerned about.
With all of this said, we know we have extremely busy schedules and eating out may seem like the only option to survive. I talk about an option in another post that you may have no idea about. This plan saves me over 730 hours of my time per year. It also saves me quite a bit on my wallet as well. Eating out can be expensive!
Bottom line is that this is actually “Mission: Possible”. You can find ways to get in a cheat meal or two a week, keep your friends and family happy, eat out, and do this all while sticking to a very healthy diet.