In an earlier post, I talked about ways to help yourself make positive lifestyle changes. The first piece of advice on the list was to Cheat!
By advising you to cheat, I really mean to give yourself advantages whenever you can.
You’ve spent all day at work. You’re stressed out because your boss is a maniac, deadlines are looming, glitches in the computer system set you back an hour…and you’re running late to pick up your son and take him to baseball practice.
You then get stuck in traffic, and you’re starving. As you inch along the highway, you realize you never even ate lunch today!
When you finally get home, you have 11 minutes before you must be walking out the door again. You frantically look around the kitchen for something, anything, you can eat on the run…
All you find is a half-eaten bag of chips and your kids’ fruit roll-ups. Well, that will have to do the job! As you yell to your son to hurry up, you stuff your face with chips and dense fruit goo (is there really even fruit in those roll-ups?!). You both run out the door exactly on time, and you grab a juice box from the fridge to drink on the go.
Sound familiar? You probably have your own version of this frenzied lifestyle. Maybe you get home late and are too tired to fix dinner. Maybe you don’t know how to cook so you use the grab ‘n go method everyday on your way home from work.
Whatever your healthy lifestyle-stopper is, all of these situations have something in common.
You’re not going to make healthier choices unless you make healthier choices available!
In the situation above, if there was a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter, would you have grabbed an apple instead of potato chips?
If you had salad prepped in the fridge, would you eat it? If not, if your issue is more that you don’t like healthy foods—we can address that too (and I will talk about this in a later post)!
These are just examples–whatever your lifestyle is like, I bet you could do a little cheating to get yourself to make healthier choices. It’s not just about food either. You can apply this idea to going to the gym, managing stress, and more.
One thing I know for sure—if you don’t have a healthy choice available, you’re not going to make a healthy choice! Addressing this problem takes foresight. Identify your downfalls, and the times during your week when you make icky choices. What could you do to make a healthier choice easier at those moments?
Last year, I was always starving by the time my work day ended. I did two things (depending on my mood and what I planned ahead for). First, I put healthy snacks in my car (someplace I couldn’t reach from the driver’s seat—or I would eat it every time I got in the car!). When I left work, I threw my bag in the backseat, and grabbed a snack for my ride home. The second thing I did was to make fresh juice in the morning, and put one portion into a cooler in my car for the ride home.
Both of these strategies helped me take the edge off my hunger. By the time I got home, I was no longer starving. I could make more rational food choices, and not snack on whatever I found. I was still hungry for dinner, and had the ability to take the time to make a healthy meal without (1) ruining it by snacking too much or (2) eating junky stuff for dinner because it was quick and easy.
We’re all different–you face different lifestyle challenges than other people, so part of this trick of cheating is to identify times during the day when cheating would help you.
Let me know what you come up with!