This might be the best thing you read all year.
I have the wonderful job of filtering through all you guys post on Instagram and deciding what to share. Very often I see people post things like ‘Yesterday I ate so much, I’m only going to eat a leaf today.’
Don’t get me wrong, I get the thinking behind it. You want to balance out the day before by being ‘healthy’ all day. The thing is that you can eat a bar of chocolate without feeling like you cheated yourself. It’s good for you to eat things you enjoy every now and then.
Here are two reasons why you can and should indulge (mindfully):
One – It takes far more to undo all your hard work than you realize.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re not encouraging you to eat badly, but we also don’t want you stressing unnecessarily. The latest research claims that you need to consume 7,000 to gain a pound of fat. 7,000 Cal you guys. That’s four pints of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice-Cream, or 12 McDonald’s Hamburgers.
This doesn’t mean you should binge on food, but it means you can have a treat once or twice a week without putting a dent in your health. Even when you’re indulging we’d recommend keeping it clean, skip foods with additives, and go for whole foods where possible. So maybe have a homemade sugar cookie over a pack of store-bought cookies, or buy organic chips over a top brand bag.
Two – Allowing small indulgences makes healthful eating easier.
Jillian Michaels, trainer from The Biggest Loser, recommends factoring a cheat food into your calorie allowance everyday so that you don’t feel deprived. This could be a cup of hot chocolate, or a small scoop of ice-cream – nothing too heavy or too extreme, but enough to stop you feeling like you’re dieting all the time.
I’m a big advocate of this, and I know that a lot of health and fitness bloggers eat this way too, sticking for the most part, to healthy home-cooked meals, but regularly indulging in raw organic chocolate cakes and coconut butter cups. Deprivation is unhealthy because of the whole ‘don’t-think-about-it-oh-now-I’m-just-thinking-about-not-thinking-about-it’ problem, which in itself can lead to bingeing and an unhealthy can have-can’t have relationship with food.
Deprivation works if you’re on a diet, but if eating properly is about cultivating a healthy lifestyle, then deprivation won’t cut it. It’s not healthy for you to always be thinking, if I have candy today, then I’ll walk an extra 3o minuted on the treadmill. It’s not healthy for you to feel guilty about eating foods you like to eat. Personally, I think it’s healthier to know what’s good for your body and give it that as much as you can, without banning certain foods once and for all. Eat the good stuff often; and the less decent stuff in smaller amounts, as little as possible and as often as necessary. More moderation, less deprivation. Learn how to treat yourself properly, and you’ll never need a cheat day again.
/Femi, The Girl Who Hates Working Out