Happy Monday! I hope wherever you are it’s not raining like it is here. I’m ready to be warm and in shorts, so let’s bring on summer already. It’s going to be May tomorrow (insert a funny N’SYNC meme here) and that means pool parties, vacations, BBQs, & graduation parties are right around the corner. What is one to do with so many temptations, treats, and booze? Let alone *gasp* even think about bathing suits…
Calm down. That’s what we all need to do, calm the *bleep* down.
We walk around life wanting to be healthy and in the same breath wanting to treat ourselves as if we are dogs. News flash, we are not in fact dogs and we don’t always need a treat. On the flip side, we also don’t always need to be 100% perfect on our diets. Shocking, I know.
It’s called balance.
I sometimes have to remind myself and my clients that not every food needs to be the most delicious thing you’ve ever had. Does that mean it should be disgusting? No way, it just means that you are an adult and sometimes you do things because they’re necessary not because they’re fun, rewarding or a treat. You may not want to do your taxes, but you have to. You may not want to mow your lawn, but it needs to get done, you get the point.
Never Lie, Steal, Cheat, or Drink.
I’ll never forget one of my favorite quotes from the movie Hitch:
“Never lie, steal, cheat, or drink. But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love. If you must steal, steal away from bad company. If you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away.”
It has stuck with me through the years and reminds me how you can turn the negative into positive. It also reminds me what it means to live your life as a good human being. Meaning, you will go to your grave knowing that you left a good mark on this world and were a kind, caring and honest human being, that is if you want that of course. That said, it says nothing about cheating on anything but death. So let’s take a note from Hitch and figure out how to stop saying we are cheating on our diets.
Goodbye Cheat Days
I get asked a lot about cheat days and it makes me cringe anytime that word is brought up. The fact that you want to “cheat” on something is a sure-fire signal that it isn’t working. No matter what it is you want to cheat on, it means that it is broken and needs repair or needs to be broken up with. I am only talking about a diet here but you can certainly use this in other areas of your life as well.
Cheating will not make you any better on your diet, instead, it may make you resent the diet and want to cheat more often to enjoy the high or sugar rush of it all. I never EVER want you to call a day where you eat differently or indulge a “cheat” day. It does you no good and signals to yourself that what you are doing is wrong, shameful and selfish. Not to mention creates a bad relationship with food.
Cheat days can die alongside the 1,200 calorie diet.
We need to realize we have control over our food, our health and or life. We should not cheat on how we eat, instead, we may indulge, we may have a treat, we may eat out of our norm. And that’s OKAY. What’s not ok is being faithful one day and a cheat the next. Instead, allow yourself to be okay having an indulgence or a treat, just don’t make it 100% of what you eat.
You can be faithful and still enjoy the journey, just learn what indulgences fit into your life, and which ones don’t.
Rewarding Good Behavior
Okay, so if cheating is out, should we then reward ourselves? Treat ourselves? Not so fast champ.
Food is meant to be a means of nourishing our body. Now, that’s not to say food can’t also make us feel good emotionally as well as physically. However, many of us see food as black or white. It’s either healthy or it’s not. For some that may hold true especially if an illness or allergy is present. For most, it shouldn’t be so cut and dry.
However, food is food. It is not good or bad, black or white, happy or sad. It is an item that has a certain makeup of ingredients, nutrients and health benefits (or lack thereof). Food is in no way meant to be a “reward” for running on the treadmill for 1/2 hour or for making it through that stressful meeting or for cleaning the bathroom. It is meant to help repair muscle, give us energy, mend our scars, heal our gut and so much more. Food (if allowed) is a powerful drug and can be used in a positive OR negative manner.
Food is food and is meant to feed us, not reward us. Simple as that.
Rewards, Treats, & Cheats, OH MY!
How do we handle eating healthy vs. indulging vs. diving off the deep end with no lifeguard around?
Here are my 3 tips for living like a normal human being and getting out of the cheating/treating/rewarding cycle:
- View food as food.
I know it can be hard to not view food as a reward or treat, but it doesn’t have to be anything more than food. Stop giving it the power over you, you are worth more than that. If there is a food that you constantly use as a reward, acknowledge it and find ways to not let it have any power over you.
- Treat/Reward yourself with non-food related items.
There are MANY ways to treat yourself that have nothing to do with food. Go on a trip, get a massage, read a book, take a nap, walk the dog, etc. Stop using food as a reward, you are not a dog.
- Don’t dwell, move on!
If you do indulge or treat yourself, don’t dwell on it, acknowledge why you feel poorly about it and let it go. Move on and continue on with your life. If a food continues to make you feel bad, maybe it’s time for a break up with that food…just saying….
If you want to call food that is out of the norm anything, let’s call it a treat. Let’s give it no more power than it deserves and let’s live our lives to the fullest without worrying so much about every last calorie, okay?!
Okay, good talk. Have a great week and let’s identify below some ways we can treat/reward ourselves that has absolutely nothing to do with food!