To me a diet is a way of eating for a specific time in order to reach a goal. Once that goal is reached or when you lose motivation with the diet you would go back to your normal way of eating and regain the weight.
The only sustainable way to a fit and healthy life is to choose to be healthy every day. That means changing your daily habits on a long term basis.
The best way to do that is start small and make the changes one at a time, I’ve said before it’s no quick fix but then, are the diets a quick fix when you end up gaining it all back plus more, only to have to start again.
Are you allowed a cheat day?
Living a whole healthy lifestyle makes me feel good, I no longer eat this way because I’m looking to lose weight but because this is the way I live my life to the fullest. I feel strong and energetic, my skin is better, my body is healthy.
There’s lots of information on the internet about the pros and cons of a cheat day from boosting metabolism to making the diet more sustainable long term.
For me though the idea of a cheat day is detrimental to the way I try to see food, I don’t want to label foods as forbidden or naughty, so I don’t have a specific cheat day.
So here are my two rules for “cheating”
1. If it is a regular thing choose healthy.
I go to Starbucks once a week for coffee and sometimes food with my sister, I eat out once a week with my family normally after a busy training day and I have a cooked breakfast every Sunday morning. These things are all a regular part of my life and so I choose the healthiest way of doing it that I can.
The little things add up, whether that’s a healthy habit like drinking two litres of water a day or a habit that will be counter productive to your goal, such as having a handful of biscuits with your cup of tea each day.
Make new treats for yourself that are healthy, I love Trek Bars and baking from cookbooks like Deliciously Ella. I love the pic n mix nuts that Holland and Barrett sell. These are the swaps I make that help me enjoy the day to day.
2. If it’s out of the ordinary just enjoy it.
Today is Easter Sunday, I’m going to eat an easter egg. It comes round once a year and I’ve looked forward to this egg all week, it was given to me as a gift by a little girl at work. Last night I went to the cinema for the first time in ages and I had popcorn and a soft drink.
I don’t choose something for the sake of it being a cheat meal, I listen to my body and choose what I really want at the time. It’s a one off special occasion so I savour it, totally guilt free. If I was to go to the cinema again next week I’d take my own healthy snack because I’ve already enjoyed that experience recently.
By labelling something as a cheat meal or a cheat day I am likely to ignore my body and over indulge just to “make the most of it”.
I always earn my cheat meal, not in the sense of calories in vs calories out or because I don’t want it to effect my weight loss. Purely because when you’ve sweat and worked hard for it that treat feels even better. I also usually make better choices after a workout naturally so it ensures I stay tuned into my body and I what I really want.
Don’t demonise food, it’s a part of life. I love food it’s a way to celebrate, to get family together and share something. Life is for living to the fullest and you can still do that when you’re living healthy.