A lot of people are curious about my choice to cut out refined sugars and artificial sweetness from my diet. I often get asked “so, how often do you cheat?”. I always tell them that I don’t cheat. However, for anyone who may have me on Snapchat, you will have seen that I had a massive piece of chocolate pecan pie on August 25th and some cake last Wednesday. Now, those people probably think I’m a liar. But here’s why I’m not: to me, cheating means doing something I shouldn’t. And, while chocolate pecan pie isn’t the best thing in the world for me, I don’t want to go through life being like “oh, I shouldn’t eat that”. Instead I want to focus on eating healthy as often as I can. So, I say I don’t eat refined sugar by which I mean that in my regular, everyday lifestyle, I don’t eat sugar. However, when special occasions roll around, I’m still going to enjoy myself. Yeah, sometimes I just opt for some fresh fruit but sometimes I’ll dive right into that chocolate pecan pie.
Now, the point I’m trying to get at here is that the notion of a cheat day creates this sort of negative connotation towards eating and food in general. I know so many people who feel nasty and guilty after their cheat days. I’ve had some people send me messages freaking out over whether their cheat day ruined their weeks of eating clean and working out.
My other issue with cheat days is that health and fitness aren’t something you do 5 or 6 days a week. It’s something you do every single day. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to eat like a rabbit every single day. It means you have to find the balance that works for you every single day. There is no cheating your way through life. You get to your goals by persisting.
My solution to this: don’t have cheat days.
What I suggest instead is to learn how to moderate. Learn how to eat so you focus on your health. Oftentimes we eat with our hearts, we want whatever tastes good. We need to start eating with our brains. Remind yourself how good it feels to eat healthy and learn about what your food does to your body. That has always been my greatest motivation.
Okay, well this all sounds easier said than done. How do I work finding this balance and creating a positive association with food?
- Enjoy and savour. Don’t down that entire cheesecake in one bite. Take a piece, eat it slowly and enjoy it. Then, when you are finished don’t feel guilty about it. (How Getting Rid of Food Guilt Made Me Healthier.)
- Own your decisions. If you chose to eat that chocolate cake then enjoy the heck out of it. It was your choice to eat it so don’t feel guilty.
- Plan. Plan your meals and prep them ahead of time. This way you won’t get home from a long day at work or school and just binge eat all the carbs you can find.
- Eat at least one vegetable every time you eat
- Don’t force yourself to eat kale if you hate kale. Find healthy foods you love and build your healthy eating around that
- When you are tempted to go for the goodies as yourself if you would eat some fruit or veggies instead. If the answer is no, then you’re not actually hungry and are probably just craving due to stress.
- Learn to manage your cravings. Crush Cravings
- Don’t be hard on yourself!
If you need a guideline to follow because you aren’t too sure what moderation really means or looks like try to focus on making sure that 80% of what you eat is healthy and the other 20% are things that you let yourself enjoy.
How do you find your balance? Feel free to leave a comment!