Do you eat really well during the week and then reward yourself with a cheat day. A cheat day that basically means you can eat anything you want? Maybe you treat your entire weekend as a cheat day?
If you do this then I’m sure that you can relate to the feeling of self loathing and guilt you may feel come Sunday, when it’s time to start thinking about eating healthy again.
I can certainly relate. I used to believe that cheat days were a good idea too. They were my weekly ritual I looked forward to and dreaded all at the same time.
I thought, I’m going to be so good this week and reward myself on the weekend. After all, I deserved to eat whatever I wanted!
My relationship with food really sucked at this point in my life. I was rewarding myself with food even when I wasn’t even hungry. And the worst part was that once I started the cheating process it was hard to stop.
Ever been there?
The problem with cheat days is that most people take it too far. It doesn’t end up being a few cookies or a bit of ice cream or a bowl of chips. It often ends up being that every meal is a cheat meal because it’s free for all day.
The other big problem with cheat days is that it breaks the healthy habit you begin to build during the week and then you feel like you’re starting from scratch. So you never actually give yourself the change to build a true healthy relationship with food, instead it becomes a relationship built on compromise, deprivation, guilt and self loathing.
So should you chase perfection each and every day of your life? Well actually there is no such thing as perfection when it comes to our diets, because we don’t live in a perfect world with perfect foods and we as humans are not perfect. But what we can do, is to be mindful and conscious with the choices we make.
Instead of thinking healthy food equals deprivation and junk food equals delicious, it’s important to start shifting your mindset to healthy food equals – good for my body, what I deserve, what will make me feel optimal, what will bring me closer to my goals and junk food equals – not what I deserve because it’s bad for my body, will make me feel lousy, and take me further from my goals.
The idea with a healthy diet is that you are enjoying what you are eating. Enjoying a variety of foods that are healthy for you always, while still sneaking in some healthy goodies, such as cookies made with wholesome ingredients, because food should be pleasurable. It’s not about deprivation, and eating salads all the time, it’s about eating foods that you love but made with better ingredients.
And in terms of not being able to have a cheat day, instead think of eating healthy and not stressing when you can’t eat exactly as you want because it’s just not possible.
I used to be obsessed with eating organic everything especially when it came to my son. And yes, I am still quite obsessed about clean organic eating but I have loosened the reins a bit. I had to.
Sometimes you travel and think you packed enough but didn’t, sometimes you end up at a restaurant you had no control over, sometimes you are with friends who don’t have the exact values you do. So unless I want to be a hermit, sometimes I have to adjust and bend a little and make the absolute best choice possible with the resources available. However, if I had a ‘cheat day’ mentality, then I would end up eating whatever just because I’m travelling. It’s not about eating whatever, it’s about making the best choices you can.
When you truly believe that our bodies deserve the best that we can give them, you start to rid yourself of the idea that you should eat healthy because of obligation. Rather you choose to because you want to. Only then, do cheat days start to feel less important because you would rather feel great than feel lousy.