Have you ever sat down to dinner with a friend who couldn't stop talking about how guilty they felt about what they were eating? They might be someone who normally is very strict about their diet, but made the decision to indulge. Throughout the entire meal, they complain about their guilt and vow to be better starting Monday morning. Sound familiar?
Many of us have developed a way of associating guilt with any diversion from a healthy diet. Tipping the scales too far in one direction or the other can cause problems, and yes, that even means when we lean too far to the healthy side.
When we are constantly worrying about health and weight loss, we forget that the occasional indulgence is what creates a happy balance in our lives. Some people live for the cheat days of their diets. This means that they are not only not enjoying their diets the majority of the time, but they are feeling guilty on their cheat days anyway! Where's the fun in that?
The Danger of Drab
Many times when were trying to eat healthy or lose weight, we get into the routine of eating the same old boring foods. Chicken breast, steamed vegetables, egg whites, sliced apples. Although these foods are high in nutrients, eating the same thing every day can get pretty dull.
After a week of eating uninspired meals and tracking every item you put in your mouth, by the weekend you're probably exhausted. You're sick of tracking every calorie, so you decide to indulge - heck, it's time for brunch! Inevitably, you slide down that slippery slope and end up overdoing it. You feel awful and vow to tighten the reins once Monday rolls around again. And thus, the cycle continues. Viewing food in this way can lead to destructive eating behaviors, and bad habits.
The Key: Finding Balance
Your eating habits should be exactly that: good habits. It shouldn't be about constantly restricting yourself, and turning down pleasurable foods all the time. It's all about balance! There shouldn't be on days or off days, it's about creating a healthy balanced mindset every day.
Build Delicious (accidentally healthy) Meals
It's better to add some enticing additions to your food and consuming an extra 200-ish calories per day, rather than eating bland food all week and consuming thousands of extra calories on the weekends! Some simple ways to spice up your weekday meals:
- Add fresh goat cheese to your scrambled eggs.
- Sprinkle homemade bacon bits or candied walnuts on top of your salad.
- Use real butter on your steamed vegetables.
- If it needs sauce, use sauce!
- Season vegetables and meats with True Citrus.
These additions will help you enjoy your meals more, and stop you from feeling deprived. Remember that it's all about finding what works best for you, so it's important to find your own balance. There isn't a set blueprint that works for everyone - it's going to look unique to you! Here are some more tips for building healthy meals on a budget.
Not every day is going to be perfect, because you're not perfect! We all make mistakes and slip up every now and then. If you don't have a healthy option readily available, sometimes you just have to do what you can with the selections you have. It's better to at least come halfway rather than throw the whole thing out thing out the window.
Wrapping it Up
The moral of the story is, find a balance that works for you. If you start feeling guilt, work on putting it out of your mind and thinking more positively. Be forgiving and do your best - not just during the week, but as a part of your overall healthy lifestyle!
[Credit: Comas, Jen. How to Kick the All or Nothing Approach to Fitness and Nutrition. Greatist.]