Nutritional protocols should fit the structure of your daily everyday life, and most importantly be SUSTAINABLE. What I mean by this is that you should be able to maintain or continue to progress at a certain rate or level without having to isolate oneself or restrict yourself in every possible situation.
We all know by know the type of events we attend on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. This means that about 95% of the time we know exactly what type of situations we are walking into; “Dads famous stuffed burgers”, “Grandma’s fresh baked cookies”, "Moms homemade sauce", etc. So by making small changes, planning ahead, and changing your thought process, you can achieve continued dietary success throughout these events, ensuring enjoyment as well as achievement.
Ensuring Enjoyment; BE SOCIAL
When attending social events focus on the bigger picture! These events are time for gathering of friends, family, and good CONVERSATIONS as well as food. When was the last time you actually sat down with a family member or friend and got lost in conversation?
While there is always a constant challenge to stick to a nutritional program, it's another when your sole focus is that in which you feel like all social events revolve around food. A common mistake that I have fallen true to and have seen many others as well is attempting to isolate themselves or simply not attend. Not only can this lead to a number of emotional and mental health issues, but isolating yourself and avoiding potentially tempting situations is a sure-fire way to set yourself up for failure.
Instead, I would suggest to go enjoy and attend social events to help maintain your usual level of social activity. This will reinforce your mindset that maintaining your diet is do-able despite you required food choices. The moment you turn down a social event due to dietary restrictions is the moment you should realize that your diet may be unsustainable, and changes should be made.
Get Creative/Plan Ahead
How does the old saying go again? “ Failing to plan is planning to fail.” There is a reason why we have heard this quote thousands of times, that's because it's TRUE! But if you prepare a game plan for how to navigate your social events, you’ll not only be able to enjoy yourself but still meet your nutritional goals.
Assess restaurant menus in advance, offering to make something or bring food for the entire party, or hosting an event yourself, can almost always allow you to meet your nutritional needs without missing out on the fun.
Nutrient swaps, food changes, and health conscious decision making make it much easier to stick to a plan without feeling like you’re falling off. Swapping out regular ketchup for reduced sugar ketchup, making your own burger with leaner cuts of meat, or vegetable platters instead of chips, can allow you to make the most out of macronutrient needs.
Balance, Balance, Balance!
Whether you’re eating for physique development , overall performance, or just to improve your health and wellness, you can achieve continued success with the right mindset.
Yes, some days you will need to make the personal sacrifice and stick to your protocols, to ensure your progress, but you can always attempt to make the extra effort to ensure you’re meeting the needs of your nutritional program the majority of the time. Realize that you still need to live your life, make memories, and most importantly be happy.
If that means you take part in a few burgers, handful of potato chips, or enjoy a few sweet treats then by all means DO SO. Life is always going to present you with challenges but learning how to combat them to your personal needs will allow you to feel confident about your personal progress, and enjoy all the added challenges.
DISCLAIMER: Thomas Munck is not a doctor or registered dietitian. The contents of this document should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem - nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.