Today, as I browsed through Precision Nutrition’s Facebook page and blog, two things stood out to me.

This article by Krista Scott-Dixon: The Perfect Time

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Specifically, this part:


And this post:


So, both of these are true statements, and overcoming these limiting factors is not always easy either.  “Red light” or “trigger foods” are those foods that we cannot stop ourselves from eating in large, indulgent portions.  This could mean candy, doughnuts, cookies, beer….but it can refer to “healthy” foods too, maybe, handfuls of almonds.

Making sure these items are out of the house is key to success.  It doesn’t mean that you can NEVER have them again, but they’re not sitting next to you, tempting you, torturing you, and putting you through a stress that is not necessary.  But what about when they’re already in the house?  Yes, a kitchen overhaul is sometimes necessary.  This means going through everything in your kitchen and deciding what stays and what needs to go.  This can be a difficult process, but not everyone falls into this category either.

What about the people who have a couple of things in the house that are calling their name and they’re fighting against it because they just can’t bare to waste food or make themselves throw it out?  Maybe you’ve been in that position before.  “Well, it’s the last box of cookies I’ll buy and then I’ll focus on being healthy.”  But then somehow another box ends up in the pantry and the cycle starts over.  (And maybe you weren’t even the one to bring that second box in the house).

I cannot stand to waste food or throw it out.  Most of the time my kitchen stays fairly in order with the occasional “red light” foods slipping in every now and then.  But it doesn’t really call for a kitchen overhaul and it’s not enough food for me to bag up and take to a food pantry to donate.

So, those of us in the latter category: what do we do instead?  I’ve thought of some ideas:

Start by dividing the large quantity items into individually packaged, smaller quantities.

  1. Store these snack bags in a few locations (work, gym bag, car) so they’re not all accessible at once. This can deter you from giving in to that urge to “eat them all quickly so they’re gone fast!”
  2. Hand out the prepared snack bags to the homeless.  Nutrients are important for everyone and when you’re in need, food is food.  Keep the bagged snacks in the trunk of your car (where you can’t reach them when you’re driving).  
  3. Share the guilt with your co-workers or friends.  I really do mean this in the kindest way.  With the treats in small portions, your co-workers will feel less inclined to take as much as they want (potentially sabotaging their own health goals).

It’s important to remember that progress is progress and even making small, manageable changes will result in progress.  Comment below and share what you do to get rid of those “red light” foods and stay on track.

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