When I started on this journey I was all about the cheat meal, dreaming of it all week and thinking of what I could indulge in this weekend. It almost became obsessive and weekly I would eat until I felt pretty much sick. Which made it easy the next day to get back on track but also left me feeling like this wasn’t truly aligned with my goals.
I came to realize this wasn’t teaching me anything, I was eating so bland during the week it was hardly sustainable and as I began to experiment in my kitchen more past the chicken breast, plain rice and roast yams that were my staples I quickly realize I could make and enjoy healthier version of my favourites, feel happy and satisfied and not go to bed feeling too full to breathe.
The idea that you can just hit the pause button and start again Monday is hurting you. The idea that something is either good or bad is only reinforcing unhealthy eating patterns. That idea we need to either eat 100% clean or we are cheating is only filling us with guilt and unrealistic expectations.
Learning to change our relationship with food, finding a healthy balance, learning to make choices is what will set us free. This is something I have spent a lot of time working on myself in the past year more than ever, while it is an ongoing process, this is something really want everyone working me Power Up Nutrition takes away with them after working with me.
There are many things I love about flexible eating, and no for me it is not about seeing how little I can eat all day so I that I can have a doughnut. But in the same token, if I can enjoy a scoop of frozen yogourt after my dinner and still nourish my body well all day, fuel my performance and recovery than I see only benefits to this.
I have been where many of you are now, behave 4-5 days a week, come weekend feel deprived and ready to blow, all bets are off thinking I earned it look how good I was all week! Gain a pound or two, feel guilty and then go back to my strict ways to loose that pound or two and start all over again.
A wise man recently posted something along those lines (Nick Shaw from RPStrength).
Control your weekend and you will control your diet.
For some of you you could replace this with control your evenings and you will control your diet. Or whatever your weak spot is in your chain. The reality is you did not earn a cheat, you did will not feel less stress after you eat that 4th cookie. You need to learn to view food for what it is and learn to make choices that are in line with both your goals and your values.
I say both, because yes, I while have aesthetics and performance goals, but I also value flexibility in my life, good food and the ability to break bread with those I love. But I know what this means for me in terms of the results I can expect, and understand the impact each choices I make have on my goals. I track my food and fit in my treats in my days so that I do not feel the need to go off track very often. But every once in a while there are occasions that call for it and where I chose to indulge, go off-track and enjoy a nice meal out without regrets. If I limit this to once or twice a month I know I can continue to progress and advance towards my goals. I also know when I go much beyond this my progress will suffer and I will need to readjust both my expectations and my goals. At certain times in my life I make that choice and I am okay with it. But it is always a conscious choice and I always know how to get back on track. A week of holidays won’t derail you if you make wise choices, but a month of debauchery over Christmas time will. Makes sense? Weight is not gained overnight, but over time.
So don’t hit pause. Don’t cheat. But learn to make choices and feel confident about them.
This week I encourage you to treat yourself to a food you love but have been avoiding because you were thinking if wasn’t good for you or in line with your goals. Maybe try to revamp the recipe to a healthier version. Or just save a little macros one night for a controlled portion of it.
Want some inspiration? Try these by the amazing Deryn. Want to keep it even more simple?
Blend 3 bananas + 1/2 cup of cocoa + 1 tsp of baking powder in the blender. Poor in a greased loaf pan and bake for 15 minutes at 350. Let cool completely before slicing and enjoy the most delicious fake brownies ever.
Have a great week!