I am a firm believer in moderation! Terms like “bad” or “cheat” foods cause you to think that certain foods are “off-limits.” By labeling foods into categories you associate eating with guilt and shame! Eating is not guilty or shameful and never should be labeled that way. Avoiding a food all week will make you think about it all week. You begin to obsess over it. Then, when the day FINALLY comes, you indulge and over eat.
You have committed to a healthy lifestyle. You want to look and feel great, and you’ve stuck to your diet an entire week already. It is ok to reward yourself, or to take a day off! Your body needs it and you certainly deserve it! But, this does not mean that you should revert to old habits or give into every cupcake you can get your hands.
So what does a game plan for a healthy eating with no cheat days look like? Remember these three things:
1. Listen to your appetite.
“If you want to eat spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, have it!” Andrews says. “Don’t find the low-carb version with the fat-free sauce. If you actually eat what you want, you’ll likely end up eating a more reasonable amount of it.” Eating in tune with your hunger is a principle of intuitive eating, and it’s shown to have a positive effect on both your weight and your wellbeing.
2. Enjoy treats from time to time.
Research shows (and experts agree) that sprinkling reasonably sized desserts or treats into your daily diet encourages you to find pleasure in meal time again—and that pleasure will help ensure you don’t feel the need to go overboard.
So instead of confining your treats to one single day, drop them into places throughout the week. For example, enjoy: “a cookie or a few pieces of chocolate after dinner on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,” Rogers says.
3. Savor every bite.
Once you place any item of food into your mouth, take a moment to: “taste, smell, and experience it as a whole,” Rogers says. Food should taste good!
My favorite treat is frozen yogurt – and if you think I skip the chocolate chips…you are wrong! I found that by saving it for when I really want a treat, I don’t constantly think about depriving myself. Listen to your stomach, train hard and reward yourself with moderation!