A Secret to Healthy Eating: Cheating!!!
I was asked by a few readers about how I am able to eat healthy all the time, and how I have such willpower to forgo sugar laden or fatty foods all the time, and I realized that if that is the way I have portrayed myself, I need to apologize! I am a regular person, and I have the same cravings as anyone else….probably the strongest cravings for skittles and chewy candy of anyone on the planet! Yet, I still do consider myself a healthy person, because while I do give in every now and again, the rest of my diet is really clean, organic, and I make pretty decent choices (lean proteins, veggies, fruits, and lots of whole grains .)
How do you stay healthy amid cravings?
It is so easy to be having a stressful day (or a hormonal day!) and have your body tell you “eat massive quantities of chocolate (or insert most intense craving here)” so you find that food, eat it, and your brian is happy for a millisecond, then you feel slow, sluggish, gross, and sometimes regret eating it. Whereas, if you reached over that candy bar and grabbed some nuts, or a yummy (healthy) salad, you eat your healthy option and you feel light, satiated, and stronger for skipping that craving! Why wouldn’t you skip that craving? I get it though. I have hungry hungry hippo days where I feel like I want to consume everything in front of me….including people’s appendages, if they aren’t careful. But on those days, I do what almost everyone who eats healthy or is trying to lose weight does: I have a cheat! Now, a cheat day is what can separate those happy with their waistlines from those who aren’t; a cheat day is not when you give into your cravings ALL day, it is merely when you give yourself a little treat, a serving sized treat, not a couple of king sized Snickers bars and an entire bag of potato chips!
All day today I honestly felt like I could kill for chocolate, and despite being offered (close enough to smell) my favorite chocolate chunk cookies, I held strong, I stuck to the lunch I brought to work, ate my healthy dinner, and after getting a little work done, my big treat was a cup of hot chocolate. It satiated my chocolate craving, it was warm and cozy on a cold night, and it helped to alleviate my stress as I drank it while cuddling with my puppies, doing my nightly mental recap on the day. It was low-fat, and it satiated my craving, plus it was a special treat for accomplishing all I needed to do today, and I only ended up drinking half of it, because a whole cup is usually too much for me, so there is no guilt whatsoever! So, it is a cheat, but it is also a treat for sticking to my diet and a job well done; if you can’t pat yourself on the back, no one else will!
Also, if you are really super craving something, have a snack like an apple (full of fiber but sweet) or a handful of nuts (if you are a salt craver) and drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. Sometimes you can trick your body to hit those sweet/salty receptors and stave off that craving with a healthy snack…then it is merely dealing with the mental part of it, where you just want to nosh on your favorite snack! Plus, sometimes cravings mean that you are missing something from your diet, like when I am craving spinach, I clearly have not had my fill of green leafy veggies, so that craving I feel like I can go over the top with. That being said, If you don’t give yourself that cheat, then you will end up splurging later…like I tend to do with veggies that I am craving, but I keep it in check and stick to serving sizes with things that are not as good for me.
Plus, I get my daily exercise in, and when I step it up and have much harder workouts, I know I have a caloric deficit, so a “fun size” serving of skittles won’t knock me over the edge or ruin my diet for the day. On days that I don’t work out, you are hard pressed to find me giving myself a “cheat” simply because I haven’t burned off those extra calories.
And remember, that you can do whatever you want with your daily calories, if that means eating three candy bars, french fries, or healthy meals throughout the day, it is your choice how to live and eat. I understand the cravings, but I urge you to see try the other side of eating because at the end of the day you need to feel good about yourself and your choices; seeing food as fuel and taking emotion out of it gives you a whole new outlook and it feels great. Try healthy alternatives to fatty snacks (see a cup of hot cocoa, or baking sweet potato french “fries”) and ditch the guilt at the door. And the best? Having a friend that also opts for a healthy lifestyle that will urge you to snack/eat healthier instead of telling you to go for it with the bad food…but who also knows you gotta give in sometimes (just in moderation!)
Be healthy, makes choices that make you feel good, and allow you to live your life positively.
Yours in Good Health