Last weekend I had a long road trip down to Malvern from Glasgow.
Historically, being an ex-squaddie, I’d always eat KFC or Burger King at service stations.
It was the done thing.
A coach full of soldiers would flood into the service station.
And form a huge queue at one of the 2 places.
Either that or a doughnut and bag of crisps from WHSmith.
Your nation’s front line of defense, fueled on the best stuff going 😉
My brain didn’t see another option.
Maybe because I just wasn’t health-conscious in the slightest.
But either way, after years of practice, it’s a hard pattern to break.
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And sometimes, we can BS ourselves with stories like:
“Ach feck it, I’m on the road, and I’ll start eating ‘good again’ when I get home.”
But we know that’s a lie.
Because how we make decisions in one situation is often how we do it most of the time.
I’ve obviously come a long way with my changes.
And this isn’t really about me.
But lot’s of my clients, members, and friends travel often for work.
Or even just weekend trips with the family.
So they have similar challenges with eating to get (or stay) in shape.
And here’s the truth of it.
When you know how to apply good nutrition principles,
You don’t need access to your kitchen, full utensils, skills like Jamie Oliver, or even tons of time for meal prep.
You can apply them anywhere.
Anywhere at all.
And you can even feel great from what you’re eating.
(Rather than bloated, lethargic, and reinforcing crap behaviours which become even harder to quit).
From a restaurant or hotel menu.
Or a service station on the road.
Here’s what I got from the M&S:
– King prawns and calamari rings.
Veg and fruits:
– Carrot sticks, mixed fruit.
– Humous (chickpeas).
– Mixed fruits.
– Whatever came in proteins and humus.
Now, there’s a couple of added ingredients in these proteins I’d usually avoid.
And, I’m not worrying about optimal portion-sizing here.
Or the right macros and calories.
It’s not an optimal situation.
Which, to be honest, you’ll find happens in your own life more often than you’d like to plan for.
So, if you’re always waiting for the best time.
Or only ‘on the wagon’ when you’re able to be all in.
That’s your biggest problem right now.
You’ll hear me talk a lot about nutritional principles.
And making the best choices in constantly changing situations.
This is me representing what I teach.
I believe our bodies are the product of our behaviors at our most average.
And when we start being successful at improving our average behaviors.
We see big shifts in the results we achieve.
There’s a few take-homes from this:
1. Just make better choices from what’s available to you.
Stop and ask yourself more often: What would be my best choice here?
2. Good nutritional principles can be applied anywhere.
– Lean proteins.
– veg and fruits.
– Smart carbs.
– Healthy fats (if any).
I’m sure you can find some more lessons in this relevant to you.
If you care to look for them.
That’s all I got today.
Get after it.
PS – Side note…
I also looked around for a protein bar.
It was just for something sweet.
For that chocolate fix.
But, being dairy and gluten-free (I’ve had some gut issues recently) I couldn’t find one to fit.
I had an interesting observation:
I didn’t finish all this food.
I felt satisfied halfway through the mixed fruit tub.
So, I stopped eating.
I wondered, if I had a chocolate protein bar, would I have kept eating anyway?
Because I didn’t need it.
Which is another problem most people have.
Eating more than they need.
Which many of us have learned growing up.
We learned it’s rude to waste food.
“Those poor kids in Africa would kill for that”
“Finish your food or you won’t grow big and strong”
^^ I think our parents and school dinner ladies kinda screwed that up.
There’s many other reasons we tend to eat too much.
I guess I could write a whole article on that alone.
Just something to think about, though…
Losing fat is difficult when you’re willpower is constantly being tested.
When you go out for dinner, could skip starters and just order the main?
Could you stop stocking up on unhealthy snacks or booze in your home?
Could you cook smaller portions?
Or buy smaller plates?
Where else can you apply this kind of thinking?
I’m sure you get the idea.
Dean McMenamin is an Army veteran, father, dog-lover and online nutrition & exercise coach helping busy men transform their bodies, regain self-confidence and be healthier role models for their kids. He's also a big eater of ice-cream.