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You could be forgiven for thinking that nutrition pros only ever eat the best quality food, that they cook for themselves all the time to have 100% control and never hit fast food restaurants, but you’d be wrong.

Choosing the right foods to eat at a fast food restaurant can be hard whether you’re dieting or not. When on the quest for a lean physique, you’re more or less limited to ordering from the slender healthy pickings, such as boring grilled chicken salads, or getting a burger, holding the condiments and tossing the bun.

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Even when you’re not really trying to drop any pounds, the health-conscious can still have doubts about what to order and will try to stay on track with a healthy plan, no matter how difficult that can be.

Now imagine you’re a nutrition pro, and this predicament gets a whole lot worse.

Everyone’s eyes are on you as you step up to the counter to place your order, and they wait with baited breath as you make your decision.

Advising clients on what to eat day in, day out might seem like a simple task – it’s putting the advice into practice that’s the tough part, and everyone wants to know if nutrition pros do really practice what they preach.

Following the Rules

Nutrition pros often experiment with different methods of dieting, or try out different plans and nutrition approaches before using them on clients, so often you’ll find that nutritionists and coaches are following a rules-based diet.

This could be a low-carb plan, carb backloading (where you eat virtually zero carbohydrates in the morning and afternoon, then load up on carbs in the evening after training,) a ketogenic diet, the paleo or caveman diet, or a different macronutrient split.

When testing out certain diets with the intention of later implementing them with clients, nutrition pros will stick to the rules one hundred percent. It’s no good testing out a diet if you’re going to break the rules. Therefore, they’ll choose whatever items on the menu fit with their plan.

This could mean just going for a double burger with no bun or ketchup on a low-carb plan, finding a meal to fit in with a certain amount of protein, carbs and fat, finding something very high in carbs but low in fat when carb-loading, or getting as close as possible to a caveman style meal – basically meat or fish plus salad. If the nutritionist is trying a very strict diet, this may even man skipping the food altogether, getting a water and eating at home later on.

Breaking the Rules

Most nutritionists realize that their clients aren’t going to adhere to plans 100 percent of the time. They also know that life is for living, not just dieting, so will doubtless encourage flexibility and ask that clients stick to a diet 80 to 90 percent of the time and have a little leeway for circumstances like being stuck at a fast food joint.

Nutrition pros aren’t saints, so from time to time they may indulge in an unhealthy meal. They’ll enjoy it too, especially if it tastes good and they don’t go into full-on binge mode. Being in the health and nutrition game, they may even precede the fast food meal with a tough workout to offset some of the damage.

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