She had a ring of white powdered sugar around her mouth and a little dribble of it down the front of her scrubs when Kristie whined, “Why don’t you guys ever bring in a veggie tray or something healthy?!?! You’re making us all fat!”


A little put off that someone would be complaining about free food, I quipped, “Don’t worry Kristie, eat all you like. Those donuts are fat-free…”


“No way! How can these be fat-free???” She replied doubtfully with a mouthful of powdered donut.


“Sure they are! If you’re going to eat them you should just enjoy them,” I shot back.


“I don’t believe it! There’s no way! They taste way too good to be fat free!”


“Of course they are Kristie… they are fattening and free. Enjoy!” I tossed over my shoulder as I left the break room.


If you don’t want to slip, don’t go where it’s slippery


These past few weeks we’ve been chatting about self-control and temptation. As we know all too well, most of us “can resist everything except temptation.” If we don’t want to slip, we shouldn’t go where it’s slippery. But even the avoidance of temptation is a conscious choice.


So let’s explore some tactical approaches we can utilize to more successfully avoid those slippery slopes.


Back to Kristie…


A nurse at one of my hospitals back in my days selling stents and balloon catheters, she was enjoying her second donut that I had brought to the Cath Lab that morning. It was customary that the sales reps would bring goodies for the staff and physicians on the days we spent with them.


The bakeries and donut shops surrounding these hospitals did a brisk business. Those hospital break rooms back then were exceedingly slippery slopes for anybody who was trying to watch their diet. Lots of temptation. Good places to avoid.


Practical Stuff…


Here are a few practical and tactical suggestions on how we might steer clear of lubricious slopes:


  1. If I go to Roche Brothers when I’m hungry, there’s a good chance we’re coming home with brownies. Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. It’s probable that you’ll be horrified by some of the stuff you bring home. And if that crap is in your home you’re much more likely to eat it later in a moment of weakness.
  2. My Mom used to always holler at us for eating before a meal… “Paulie, you are going to spoil your appetite!” Well, if you’re hoping to lose some weight, maybe you should spoil your appetite. Eating a nutritious snack a little before your meals will take some of the edge off your hunger and you’ll be much less likely to overeat at the meal.
  3. Plan your meals. You’ll be less likely to eat out or to cook something that undermines your goals and progress. The plan also helps to focus your shopping. With a grocery list, you’ll not only spare yourself from any tempting-tasties you might have bought without a plan, but you’ll also save some money and time.
  4. Drink water. All day. Have it with you. Target hydration is 64 ounces per day for an average person. But if you’re active or bigger than average, you need more. Staying hydrated has a plethora of advantages, one of which is modulating hunger.
  5. Avoid the break rooms and office parties. It’s unlikely that Suzie’s 40th birthday cake or the sales rep’s bagels are part of your nutrition plan. If the break room is slippery don’t go in there. Or if it’s not socially acceptable to skip the office birthday parties, don’t go in there hungry. Eat a nutritious snack beforehand.
  6. Make an appointment to workout. Put it on our calendar. And make sure somebody who cares about you and will support you knows about it. You won’t want to let them down. And if somebody is expecting you, you’re much more likely to show up.
  7. Avoid people who won’t support you. Those “friends” who will tempt you to justify their own lack of discipline. Also, don’t be that guy or gal. If you know somebody is struggling with their diet and is susceptible to temptation, be that friend who studiously avoids situations that would lead them onto slippery slopes.

Our daily life is filled with slippery slopes and minefields. Avoiding them tends to make us more successful than trying to traverse them.


But, we know that even that requires conscious thought, purposeful action, and some planning. None of us want to become Kristie, resentfully snarfling a dozen “fat-free” donuts every week and then whining in self-loathing about other people making us fat. We can be mindful and purposeful about all of this. That purposeful choice and a little planning can do wonders to help us find firm footing.


We can help!


If you struggle finding solid ground and firm footing, we can help. Our coaching involves far more than simply teaching good form and providing meal plans. We’re in your corner and with you on every step of your journey. Please reach out if you or someone you know could use some guidance and support avoiding life’s slippery slopes.


In my next post we’re going to move on to another subject. I’ve been getting some questions about how high intensity interval training (HIIT). I’ll explain a little bit about the research that supports HIIT and why it’s such an effective methodology to build muscle and burn fat. Look for my next missive – Why So Intense???


Until then, be strong and have fun!



Paul Reilly

Paul is the Owner and Founder of MidStrong. He created MidStrong in 2017 to train men and women in midlife who are busy with work and family to build muscle and burn fat so they can look and feel better than they did in their 20’s. MidStrong is making Functional Fitness training safe and fun, and inclusive. He and his wife, Julie also own and operate MidStrong locally, their bricks and mortar business, previously called ACCELERATED Strength & Balance. It is a boutique fitness center specializing in training folks in and around Westborough through the challenges of midlife for more than five years.