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Beware the Substitution Trap: Stick to Your Workout and Eating Plan



What you eat either moves you closer or further from your goals. From goals of ripped abs, maybe a flat stomach, or just to feel good— food is a large part of the equation.

Stick to your healthy habits to see results

When you break it down to its most basic level it’s very simple. For example, if you are following the basics of good nutrition  you should be eating:

  1. protein,
  2. vegetables, and
  3. healthy fats

at each meal. When you’re dialed in that might be a chicken breast, with cooked vegetables and some avocado.

high protein lunch salad

One day you find yourself slightly unprepared and rationalize that a chicken sandwich is a reasonable substitute. The next day you enjoyed the chicken sandwich so much you get another one. The brain becomes programmed and chicken sandwich is the new default setting.

Then the brain rationalizes that a chicken sandwich is not all that different from chicken wings, or a hamburger. Another new default choice. Next veggies become sweet potato fries. A small rationalization later and that hamburger is reunited with its best friend, regular greasy french fries. Next thing you know, the target chicken breast and vegetables has turned into a dashboard meal barely kept together by a greasy bag.

Over time performance decreases and the body begins to feel sluggish. There just isn’t enough nutrition in the greasy bag to support the activity you demand of your body.

That’s when the training rationalizations begin.

  • The body feels tired so instead of training for 60 minutes, the workout gets cut to 30.
  • Then from 30 minutes four times a week to 30 minutes twice a week.
  • Next thing you know the couch has an indentation that looks remarkably similar to your backside.

Don’t fall into the substitution trap. Stick to the eating plan. When you find yourself scrambling for foods don’t settle for anything other than a true substitution that is equal in nutritional value to the original.


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