Living Columns & Blogs

Confessin’ my digression so that you can stop distressin’

Prepare, prepare, prepare! It’s one of things you must do to keep your diet healthy in all circumstances.
Prepare, prepare, prepare! It’s one of things you must do to keep your diet healthy in all circumstances. Special to The Telegraph

Maintaining a healthy diet and a consistent exercise routine is hard work for me. It is especially difficult for me to keep from falling off when my environment changes, or when I fail to plan adequately.

As a matter of fact, I did fall off recently. I hope it’s not too much for you to hear a personal trainer and health columnist say that.

A few months ago, my family and I flew out to Las Vegas to celebrate a family reunion. Anyone who is familiar with family reunions knows that there’s always a whole lot of good food there. That definitely was the case at the reunion in Las Vegas.

To add to that, there was down time when we didn’t have reunion events planned and therefore reunion food wasn’t available. During those times, we ate fast food.

When we got back to Georgia, we were once again able to cook and to buy groceries, but guess what? Our desire for junk food and indulgences remained strong, and we found ourselves making allowances everywhere for things like desserts, sodas, fries and similar foods. It has been within just the last month and with great effort that my wife and I have returned to mostly clean diets again.

I’m telling on myself for three reasons. The first reason is because I want you to know that even many personal trainers, nutritionists and other “health freaks” indulge sometimes. We have not-so-healthy foods that we enjoy, too. Truth is, the majority of us didn’t start out drinking kale smoothies and eating quinoa.

Second thing is, I want you to understand the crucial fact about how easy it is to stray from a healthy diet, especially if you have failed to prepare. Have you found yourself in the following scenario: Hungry with no prepared food at home while driving down Tom Hill Sr. Boulevard in Macon, Watson Boulevard in Warner Robins, or any other area in Middle Georgia where fast food restaurants abound? I can tell you from firsthand experience that you don’t want to find yourself in that kind of situation.

The third reason I’ve told you about my healthy eating struggle is because I’ve learned that boundaries are so, so important. You must set personal boundaries for yourself so that when you do have a birthday, holiday or other truly special occasion to celebrate, you let yourself go only so far.

It might mean that you allow yourself to eat a slice of cake after you’ve eaten totally healthy otherwise. It could be that you help yourself to Grandma’s smothered chicken and gravy, but only after you’ve eaten a large salad full of vegetables. I know that I could have set better boundaries for myself at the reunion, and my failure to do so made it harder for me to return to a healthy eating routine.

I hope this column has encouraged those of you who have been downing yourselves after continually slipping with your diets. There’s always plenty of temptation out there, and your best weapons for keeping your diet on the “straight and narrow” — aside from having a healthy eating mindset — are making preparation of your food a priority and setting strict boundaries for yourself.

I want to hear from you about how you “keep it 100 percent” with your diet when your routine changes. Email me and let me know!

Peach County resident Shawn McClendon is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and owner of the health/fitness blog Contact him at