Stop Having Cheat Meals

Let me start by saying, if you decide to have cheat meals and you have a healthy relationship with food…awesome! You do you! If you find that you can’t stop thinking about food or can’t stop yourself when you start, then this post is for you.

You know what is delicious? Warm baked chocolate chip cookies. When they are just a little crispy on the outside but gooey on the inside. Why would anyone deny themselves that? The answer, you shouldn’t. But waiting until Saturday to eat 3 dozen of them, that’s where the problem lies.

I’m speaking from personal experience when I plead with you to STOP HAVING CHEAT DAYS. This develops such an unhealthy relationship with food. I know it’s sexy to think about eating WHATEVER you want. I get it! I’ve been there. There was a time that I wouldn’t eat carrots during the week because they were too high in sugar but would eat multiple chocolate bars on my cheat day.

Read that again…I wouldn’t eat carrots but would have MULTIPLE chocolate bars. Does that make any sense?? No! I can see that now but at the time I was eating “clean” and taking my well-earned cheat day. I was doing what I was told to without really taking a step back to think about it logically. 

I would also have anxiety about social situations. About going out with friends, family dinners, any sort of situation that may involve food. I remember one time finishing a half marathon and being wrapped up in that silver space blanket. I came up to the line of food and hid a mini doughnut under my space blanket so no one could see I was eating it. Can you believe that? Now, I could take or leave it. But not then, I simply couldn’t control myself. That was the moment I decided that what I was doing was ridiculous.

It has taken me years…YEARS…to heal my relationship with food. And sometimes I still slip back into that all or nothing mentality. I’m not saying that I am perfect now. At least now I am able to stop myself from plowing through an entire bag of cookies followed by multiple chocolate bars…followed by a cheat week/month(s). I’ll start tomorrow…then waking up regretting what I had eaten the day before but going right back into bad eating because I felt so awful about myself.

So if not cheat days, what should you do?

Let’s flip our mindset a little. Foods are not good or bad, they are just food.

Repeat that to yourself, “Food has no morality. It is just food.” One way you can start to think of it is as a refeed meals. If you are on a very restrictive diet, a refeed meal can help mentally and physically. However, it is a REFEED MEAL. Just one meal of something that is worth it to you. It’s not a cheat. Because really, in what other context is it okay to cheat on something? It’s just food. And just one meal.

Another strategy is to incorporate some of those things that are “worth it” to you semi-regularly.  Although they are delicious, I think we know enough that we shouldn’t just eat cookies all the time. My hope for you is to have A cookie and not plow through the entire bag. For me it’s chocolate and cookies (yup, I’m definately female…). Maybe for you it’s something different.

But what about when I have something like a birthday party to go to? Glad you asked! Go and enjoy yourself! Most likely there will be plenty of options that include fat and carbs, but will be lacking in protein. So during the day, try to eat more protein dense meals with carb sources coming from vegetables. Before you head out for the event, have a small meal that has protein and healthy fats so you arrive without being famished. Be sure to drink plenty of water at the event. Go enjoy yourself, be present with your friends and family and if you eat a bit too much, that’s OKAY, get right back on track. Get away from the, “F*ck it, I messed up on my diet, I might as well just eat whatever I want,” mindset.

Any diet that sacrifices your physical or mental health probably should be re-evaluated. I believe everyone should have a healthy relationship with food. What are your “worth it” foods to incorporate?

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