Let me start off by saying that I love pizza, and there is, and will always be, a place in my life for its heavenly combination of cheese, sauce, and crust. For most people, pizza fits in just fine to an overall healthy style. To be crystal clear: there is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with pizza! But one of the most challenging things for anyone to handle is when you have a fitness and/or nutrition plan, and the person you live with isn't on the same one. What's a girl (or a guy) to do?
Here's a story of my Sunday: I had a lovely, restful morning of dog walks and HGTV and quality time with my significant other. In the afternoon, I headed off to the gym, and caught myself thinking how excited I was for a long, luxurious and un-rushed workout. I had planned on doing some fairly strenuous conditioning work but was thankful for the time to warm up appropriately and build my circuits the way I wanted. I reflected on how thankful I am that I view this time as fun and rewarding, and how much I looked forward to sweating and working hard. Two hours later, I was walking home plotting out my dinner: some leftover roasted chicken, fresh leafy greens, that good raspberry-mint salad dressing I've been digging lately. I couldn't wait. When I opened the door, I literally bumped into my boyfriend who was carrying an extra large pineapple pizza.
I'm not here to get into an argument about pineapple on pizza. It's his favorite, and I like it, too. Moreover, like most humans, I really like hot, melty cheese and sauce on lightly crunchy crust and the second the scent hit me, it was all I could think about putting in my mouth. Followed closely by a poorly articulated "arrrrghghghghghghgaagghhh NO FAIR!"
Pizza was not in my plan for the day. But he was watching a basketball game and decided pizza would be in his plan. And that's totally fine! Theoretically. Which is what I told my salivary glands. While I dropped my gym bag, he ran outside with two slices for a homeless man down the block, and I was left staring at 3/4 of a hot pizza.
I share a house with someone who can eat an entire pizza and not gain an ounce. A person who can eat a pan of brownies for breakfast. A person who is eight inches taller than I am and naturally lean and muscular. Of course he can eat a lot more than I can. Sometimes this sucks more than others.
Just as I had decided I wanted to have lean protein and veggies for dinner, he had decided he wanted pizza. Most of the time, we share reasonably nutritious and well-portioned meals. This night, he'd gone for an indulgence on his own, and I had to figure out a way to be okay with not joining him.
So, what to do when faced with unplanned temptation? Here are some strategies that have worked for me in managing moments like this.
1) I eat something nutritionally dense first that takes the edge off of your craving. When I'm less hungry overall, it's much, much easier to say "no, thanks!"
2) I say "maybe later!" when he offered me a slice. It was more like a "speak now or forever hold your peace" moment, because I knew there was a good chance he'd polish it all off. But giving myself a mental opportunity to see if I wanted a slice later was helpful while I put my meal together.
3) I might have a small slice, or half a slice, or a bite. If I hadn't had a plan already, I might have had a little. Like I said, there's room for pizza in life. Sometimes having a little satisfies that nagging, gnawing part of my brain that JUST WANTS PIZZA.
4) I said, "save me a crust!" which I ate alongside my chicken and salad. It was awesome. It served as my carb for my meal and tasted like a restaurant bread stick. Yum!
5) I remind myself that I probably won't feel that great afterwards. I don't want to feel bloated from salt and grease, and I don't want to feel sluggish. It can be easy to forget the consequences of indulgence in an adrenaline-fueled binge. When I slow down and think about things for a few seconds, my rational brain kicks back in. Eventually. I'm not going to say that it's always easy, and there area many times I want to punch my rational self in the throat- ugh, what's worse than that little voice asking "do you really want that?" like a judgmental sorority sister. But that bitch is often right.
6) I remind myself that pizza is always going to be there for me. It's not like I'm missing out on a special pizza moment that will never come again. Pizza is always an option, like many poor decisions in our lives. Just knowing that if I'm truly dying for pizza, I can go get a slice helps me say "I'm okay for now." And for the record, I have never once died from not eating pizza but more importantly, have never felt the need to run out and grab a slice for survival after eating a regular meal.
I was originally going to call this post "When your cohabitant conspires against you" but that's not actually what this is about. There are some roommates and significant others who do use food as a bargaining chip or for whatever reason, have real issues when partners or friends start to eat differently and actively sabotage healthy efforts. My boyfriend wasn't conspiring against me. He just wanted pizza. And I wanted to eat something that would nourish my body differently. We'll eat pizza together another night. My roasted chicken and salad and pizza crust were awesome.
Trying foods, trying moves and trying to be more awesome.