After an illness, away for business, vacation, bad weather, family pressure, at work, buffets and parties can all be considered “high risk” situations which can be detrimental to your nutrition and exercise routines. Seeing other people overeat and not engaging in regular physical activity can lead you to do the same. Vacations and celebrations may make you think that all rules are off. If this happens only once in a while, it is not a problem. The problem comes when you do a lot of eating out, overeating and celebrating. Being prepared for these “high-risk” times make all the difference in whether or not you are able to make a long term change in your eating habits and exercise routine. You need to have a plan in order to be successful when you are in these “high-risk” situations. Once you have this plan it is good to practice what you are going to do by saying something like, “No thank you” when you are offered more pie, or asking for “no fries” to your server. Your most important work is developing a plan to deal with these high-risk situations. Here are some the top 7 high risk-situations, and a few suggestions on how you can plan for them:
1) Traveling on Business:
- Stay at a hotel that has a fitness center.
- Check your suitcase and walk around the airport while waiting for your plane.
- Pack walking shoes.
- Wear a pedometer and set a goal for steps each day.
- Pack fruit for a snack in place of donuts and sweet rolls that are often served in the plane.
2) After an illness:
- Rest if you are ill or have a fever.
- Drink plenty of water
- Plan the day you will go back to your activities, start slowly and don’t expect to be “up to speed” the first day.
3) On Vacation:
- Pack a cooler with fresh fruits, raw vegetables and water bottles.
- Plan to go out to eat only a couple times during the week.
- Take a walking tour of the towns you visit.
- Go for a bike ride on the board walk.
- Plan a hike or a walk in the woods, on the beach, or in the mountains.
- Explore a new fun activity such as golf, tennis, swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, or skiing.
- Plan meal and snack breaks.
4) Bad Weather:
- Go to the mall or a convocation center to walk if you can’t walk outside.
- Walk the steps in your house.
- Have a balance ball, free weights, and/or a resistance band at home to use.
- Have a video at home for aerobics.
- Enjoy a walk/run in the rain.
- Take advantage of your group fitness classes or fitness center
5) Family Pressure:
- Tell others that your new habits are important to you.
- Ask that they help you stay on track.
- Invite others to join you in a healthy activity, such as a walk or a healthy food party.
- Model food eating for others and yourself.
- Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car.
- Write a grocery list from your weekly menu to be sure you have all your food when grocery shopping. This will also ensure you don’t buy unneeded food.
- Keep problem food out of the house.
- Plan how you will handle holidays, weddings and family reunions before the event.
- Nothing succeeds like success.
6) At work:
- Ask co-workers to not offer you snacks.
- Bring fresh fruit and nuts to work to have when hunger strikes between meals.
- When celebrating special occasions, take a piece of cake or other treat, have a bit and take it back to your office and throw it away. Or just politely say No thank you.
- Ask co-workers to bring in healthy treats when celebrating special occasions and not cake or doughnuts.
7) Buffets and Parties:
- Have a small snack before going out to eat so you are not so hungry.
- Don’t sit next to the buffet or bowl of potato chips so you cannot snack on them.
- Alternate drinks containing calories with those containing no calories.
- Do not go back for seconds.
- Bring a lower calorie, nutritious dish to share.
Only you can make wise choices when eating away from home, under stress or tempted by friends, family and co-workers. No risk no fun, right? You have to be prepared when you are skydiving, or bungee jumping, the same goes for handing these high risk-situations. Know what your high-risk situation are, and have a safety plan in place for when they come. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your family, friends and co-workers. They often will help you, you just need to ask.