I will not lie to you all, I die a little inside when someone says something about a cheat meal, a cheat day, making an unhealthy food healthy by replacing the ingredients, or anything else along these lines.
I’m sorry, but where in the description of “healthy lifestyle” did people see things like depriving themselves of “unhealthy” food? Is restriction healthy? Is having one glorious cheat meal per week considered “balance”?
There have been many times when clients have come to me and said, “I sort of cheated… I had a brownie.”
I would ask, “Well was it a good brownie?”
“Why didn’t you bring me one?!”
Every time a conversation like this happened, my client would look at me with this huge look of relief because they realized I wasn’t mad.
I don’t care when my clients “cheat”.
Yes, you read that right! I do not care when my clients decide to treat themselves because a healthy lifestyle is a balanced lifestyle. Balanced lifestyles do not have cheat meals, cheat days, or healthy substitutes. They are balanced!
Honestly, either you live a healthy and balanced lifestyle… or you don’t. You can pig out on fast food all the time and hang out in front of the TV or computer; that isn’t balanced. You can eat super, super, SUPER healthy all the time, workout four hours per day, never touch chocolate or wine, and make avocado brownies (which, by the way, do not taste good, stop trying to tell yourself that they do); and that isn’t balanced either.
You can also eat your protein, veggies, fruit, whole grains, drink water, exercise, eat chocolate, drink wine, have movie theater popcorn, and eat the dang regular boxed brownies; that, my friends, is balance.
There is such thing as being so healthy that it is actually unhealthy. Being obsessed with making all the right choices and following your restrictive “meal plan” can be a very disordered way of living a “healthy” lifestyle.
It is just fine to treat yourself in moderation. You will not lose your progress. People do not become morbidly obese with one huge meal just like people do not lose weight by drinking a single Herbalife Formula 1 shake. You can have the things you enjoy in moderation.
The key is to make healthy choices about 80% of the time and the other 20%, go nuts! You just need to be aware of when you are going crazy too much. How can you tell? You may lose some progress. Maybe you won’t feel so great. Who the heck knows? But you never know until you start testing those boundaries and figuring out what your 80/20 is.
Do not ever feel guilty for treating yourself either. You do not need to justify eating a handful of movie theater popcorn. That stuff is so good that I can eat an entire large container by myself and I will happily do it. You don’t need to tell yourself things like, “I’ve been following my meal plan to a T” or “I worked out for an extra thirty minutes today!” NO. STAHP THAT.
Moderation, not deprivation.
And stop putting avocados in your brownies. Avocados belong on tacos and mashed up into guacamole, not pretending to be chocolate, for crying out loud!
I wear a lot of hats; NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist; wife; fur mom; writer; college student; mental health advocate; pet sitter; Airman; athlete; and many more. I love my home in the southwest and my favorite season is summer. I am a sepsis survivor and I battle with generalized anxiety disorder and depression.