What do you do
when something goes wrong with your food?
Now the typical and correct
trainer response is, "plan for that eventuality." Things will go wrong. It's
inevitable. Over the years I've used a variety of techniques. I've kept
meal replacement bars in my car glove box, stashed packets of meal
replacement powder in hidey holes, and stuck sweet potatoes in my desk
Even with all that focus and attention, things still
can go wrong. At some point in time, it's going to happen- no
authorized food to be had. None, nada, zip. What do you do then?
you vs the vending machine. You stare down the options. Nacho chips,
pretzels, chocolate bars, processed cheese spread, and cupcakes stare
back. What do you do?
There's no perfect answer. I've watched
people skip meals because they don't have authorized food. I'm
personally leery of this option. Skipping meals primes you for the
potential to binge later in the day. You've trained your body to eat
every three hours. It's expecting calories to make an appearance. When
they don't, it's going to start firing off warning messages.
Progressively your focus will fade, and you will start feeling run
down. Pushing through to the next meal window is exceptionally
challenging and not fun.
No matter how organized you are, at some point in time, you will face this situation. Be ready for it.
my case, that someday is today. I managed to walk out of the house with
no food for the morning into a situation where there was going to be no quick resolution. The plan was to eat breakfast first thing when I
walked in the door at work. Meals were packed and ready to go. I
arrived to discover that somehow only my water and kale/chard mix made
it into my backpack.
Working at a fitness facility means that there was access to "healthy" products. Note I used the word product, not the word food. Not a lick of food was to be found. The options were limited to no food or eating a meal replacement product. There were choices to be made.. First off, I always assume worst case. So this means 12:15 before I'd get back to authorized foods. I could try to tough it out until then. On
top of my overnight fast, that means 16 hours of no food.
…don't think so.
What to do? Ieliminated shakes as an option. Liquid calories don't hold
you as long as solid calories. This means a bar. The key is making the best possible decision given the situation. Skipping food for 16 hours was not a viable options. So I looked for both protein and carbohydrate
and around 250-300 calories on the label. Ignoring everything else, I focused on the basics to ensure I could make it to my next decision point.
For most of us, the
target calorie range for a meal is between 250-400 calories. More if
you are bigger, fewer if you are smaller. Most vending machines have
something containing nuts. Don't look for the lowest calorie option,
look for the CORRECT calorie option. It does no good if you make a bad
decision then have to make it worse because you are still hungry. Both
protein and fats will give you an increased feeling of fullness. Don't
go picking out the "unhealthy" bits. Make no mistake, the whole thing
isn't going to be good for you.
Once you make your decision,
be at peace with it. It's done. You aren't going to unscramble the egg
or undigest the food. Let it go and move on.
Lucky for me, a friend took pity on me and came to my rescue for the next meal window. I snacked on an apple and almonds…and a Pepsi Max. Hey, I know, I know. I'm working on it. That's what this is all about right?
Bottom line is I rolled with the punches and didn't start playing the game of woe is Clara. I focused on making a positive decision in difficult circumstances. I will note that I think I could taste every single additive in that meal replacement bar. Ick!