Your cheat days are causing you more harm than good
We've all of us have been there, well pretty much all of us.
'There', being the miserable vortex of Diet Land. Guided by the list of foods you can eat and can’t eat. Free food and Frankenstein foods.
But don’t worry..... you get a cheat meal.
Out of the 30+ meals you eat per week, you get to look forward to one of them.
Watching the numbers fall on those scales. Discovering, that the lighter you get the stricter you have to be with your diet and exercise to keep the numbers moving down.
Cheat days turn into cheat meals turn into cheat snacks then as the scales hold….no more cheating for you.
You find yourself in a tug of war with food. Particularly foods that will halt that weight loss.
Because remember….nothing tastes as good as being slim feels and a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.
Must…not…eat….(insert whatever craving is taking place here).
Those little mantras became religion to me in diet land and just continued to grow my disordered eating patterns.
When you diet you become obsessed with food.
What foods you can and can’t eat. Is that ‘clean’ enough for me to eat. How can I be hungry, I just ate lunch an hour ago, I can have a snack in 3.47 hours. What many people don’t understand is that obsession with food is a biological drive to get your ravenous cells some energy.
The very concept of a cheat meal brings about a guilt-ridden vibe to the food. What are you cheating on exactly?
I know first hand, the mental torment of deceit is going to cause way more harm than a bit of ice cream.
Yeah but it’s just food Kate, I know I’m not actually cheating on anything.
Do you? Do you really?
The power of the mind is so complex and that inner dialogue taps at your soul like a jack hammer.
When I was still engaging in cheat meals, even if it was only one meal out of the 30 odd meals I would eat in a week, I would still harbour a guilty conscience and fret over the impact it would have on the scales.
The 10 principles of Intuitive Eating (you can find them here) are all intertwined and use each other as scaffolding for the next equally important principle.
One of them though is about making peace with food. All those naughty foods, those bad foods, those Frankenstein foods are a great place to start.
Food is not good, and food is not bad. Food didn’t buy you flowers and it didn’t steal your car. Food is food.
It’s important to make this observation because when you eat good and bad foods, you become good and bad for eating them. You will subconsciously reward or punish yourself with food and it perpetuates that feeling of being out of control around it.
No one is suggesting that a carrot and a piece of carrot cake have the same nutritional value.
What is important though is to give them the same emotional value so you can end that game of tug of war. I shouldn’t eat this..... but I really want it..... bugger it.... I’ve been good today, I’m having the cake.
For F*&%^s sake, just eat the dam cake. It tastes much better and is FAR more satisfying without a side of guilt. The guilt just sends you on a downward spiral of the all or nothing mentality of “I’ve blown it now, bring on the rest of the cake, I’ll start being 'good' again tomorrow.”
Health extends far beyond simply our food and activity levels. It is so multi-faceted and our mental health including that inner voice, our seemingly never ending Monkey Mind is often left behind.
It’s not about will power or motivation or desire to change. It’s about recognising when you stop trying to restrict every morsel that passes your lips, food slowly starts having less control over you. When your brain understands that you have unconditional permission to eat what you want, when you want it, food is not nearly so seductive.
Eating a bowl of ice cream with a shit tonne of ice magic and eating a fruit salad both have their place. The difference for me these days is I let my body guide me on what it needs rather than determine if I have enough calories left for the day.
So I challenge you to cheat on the diet mentality not your food. Listen to that inner critic that tell you that X is bad and Y is good and start to question why.
And when the waiter asks if I'd like dessert....
I’ll have the chocolate mousse please….hold the side of guilt though, no room for that.
If you dig this blog, you will LOVE The Wonder Woman’s guide to Diet Freedom. Grab a copy here.