My mum and dad stayed with me for 3 nights recently.
It was a super special awesome time. It also taught me a lot. For the purpose of this blog I’ll keep my learnings limited to food only (!) however having guests teaches you a lot about both yourself and your guests.
It’ll come as no shock to any of my one on one clients that I’m super particular about what I eat.
For me – now – it’s simple, natural, sustainable AND ENJOYABLE to eat the way I do… however that certainly doesn’t mean I need to inflict my choices on my guests!
Yes, thankfully I did realise that before ma and pa Galli arrived!
Too often I hear these excuses from people frustrated at their lack of weight loss results:
“My husband and kids need to have (insert refined carb-o-la crap-o-la here) with dinner”
“We ate out the whole time”
“I didn’t have time to prepare anything”
“I was so hungry by then that I demolished the nearest thing”
“Everyone else was”
…and so on.
I hear the above excuses enough to know ‘deciding’ to be more disciplined is unlikely to work and the solution is to out-plan your repeat offender challenging eating situations.
So here are the tactics I used to stay congruent with my own approach to eating while ensuring my VIP guests were well looked after:
1. Know Your Standards.
Odds on if you’re happy with your health you’ll have standards (or self imposed rules) that you abide by either consciously or unconsciously that allow you to sustain the health you enjoy. Such as:
=> what are you comfortable eating… and serving?
=> number or cheat/off the plan meals per week.
=> daily exercise.
=> how many days or to what degree you’ll let either lapse for.
=> what you’ll prepared to do to make up for the lapse.
Equally, if you’re unhappy with your body and your health then you’ve likely got either fairly low standards so far as food and exercise or maybe you’ve just never given it the brain time it requires?
Whenever I go home to visit my mum and dad there is an abundance of lovely baking, sweets, chocolate and dessert. It’s one of the many ways my mum demonstrates her love and generosity. Personally, as a health coach I would feel like an absolute fraud providing that stuff to my guests. I did struggle with it though… the desire to be generous – yet congruent with my values of integrity and health. My point is, there is no right or wrong choice – however the choice should be made with volition.
2. Stock up on the basics so great meals can be eaten in where ever possible.
=> some of my favs: eggs, avocado, fruit, nuts, fibrous veg… oh and now fish.
=> how you start the day sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Your morning mindset is key. Say YES 2 YOU by prioritising a quality breakfast (my #1 is an omelette of eggs & veg) + early am exercise session (even if it’s just walking to get fresh bread or coffee on the weekend).
=> no time for a healthy breakie? No excuse. Throw some extra veg in a bowl when you make your lunch/dinner salad and it’s ready to add a couple of eggs to for tomorrows omelette.
3. Cook a huge nutritious meal and be generous.
Multiple veg, salad dishes are much better to fill up on than bread / rice / pasta / crackers …and ideally you’ll have some awesome leftovers too.
=> get creative and ditch the lazy crack a pack of chips option for pre dinner nibbles.
I made kale crisps to go with our nuts and dips and my regular chip loving folks LOVED them.
1. Place kale onto a baking sheet in a thin layer (use multiple pans if making lots and cover baking sheets with cooking paper for easy clean-up).
2. Spray with a little olive oil.
3. Season with salt, pepper – or really whatever you like…chili, paprika, herbs…
4. Place in an unheated oven. Heat oven with kale in it to 300 degrees.
5. Now, watch carefully till it starts to brown and crisp up. The time varies depending on your oven and the amount of kale – but it’ll be around 20 minutes.
Munch by the handful as we did or use to top other foods…soup, salad, stir-fry…
=> if you’re in cook mode you tend to nibble or drink less too… I absolutely experienced this (as I prepared a way too complicated snapper dish) to my increasing frustration!
=> leftovers will make a good meal the next day so much easier to throw together than starting from scratch… and you’ll find it easier to avoid the ‘I can’t be bothered’ toast or take away trap.
4. Take charge of restaurant choice.
One of the things my parents loved was that they didn’t need to think about what we were doing or eating when. I put the planning time into getting it sorted and in doing so I considered primarily their preferences and then ensured there were options for me.
=> ask for adjustments to the menu if necessary. Request substitutions such as extra veg instead of rice or bread. If you have to pay a little extra, consider it money well spent on the ill-health you’re avoiding.
=> get sauce or dressing on the side.
=> if you don’t want to eat the chips/bread then ask for it to not be served with your dish... because there is no point testing your will power all meal by letting those scrumptious temptations onto your plate.
=> don’t arrive super-crazy-starving. Nuts or a protein shake are a great portable option to prevent being crazy-outta-control hungry when you arrive for a meal out.
5. Source a healthy takeaway – just incase you do find yourself in the land of ‘I really can’t be bothered.’
=> to be clear by ‘healthy’ I mean a meal that is based around a variety of fibrous veg and lean protein.
=> also know where to get quick and convenient snacks… for me that’s roasted nuts that are easy to buy or even easier to carry with me when out and about for a good few hours.
=> get into the habit of having a light snack prior to letting yourself get irrationally hungry… and risking outta-control-ordering.
I took a packet of roasted cashews with me on our main excursion day Sunday. We munched on them with coffee in-between the Museum of Contemporary Art (for dad) and the David Jones Spring Windows (for mum) before heading to a relaxing drink in the sun (Bucket List) then a lunch feast in Bondi (Hurricanes). The next morning while I trained a few clients mum and dad hit the shops… then hit a choc brownie and choc croissant respectively with their morning coffees!
HaHa, go ma and pa – but seriously, when this does happen….
6. Respond rapidly to only a small amount of feedback.
Ok, so perhaps you did you go a tad over the top with food or a lil under on your exercise quota? Best to nip a challenge in the bud before it has a chance to escalate.
The questions to ask:
“Is there is value in dealing with this?” (i.e: clothes feeling a tad tighter)
“Will it get easier with time/procrastination?” (likely not!)
“Will it fix itself?” (very likely not!!)
Ok, why let it grow (literally) into a far greater more daunting challenge? It’s time to raise your standards and take action to rectify the situation immediately.
=> this may include freezing or throwing out or giving away any food you got in especially for your guests the second they leave. If it’s in your home you will eat it. The home is your sanctuary AND it’s an environment within your control… so make it easy on yourself.
=> or perhaps the addition of an extra walk or two… maybe a finisher at the end of your weights session.
=> possibly even a few less wines this week… hmmm, no that might be a bit excitable, I think I’ll stick with the vino and head off for an extra walk… 🙂