Firstly I have to say that this post is for people who struggle to eat healthy. If you eat healthy and don’t feel the need to eat any “cheat meals” then I commend you, but this post is for the other approximately 95% of the population and if you do fall into this minority group, please don’t pass judgement on those who don’t possess the same discipline that you do.
Eating healthy seems to be a problem for almost everyone I meet. Food usually poses a bit of an issue for a huge proportion of the population, not just the people I encounter in my job, but people I encounter socially as well.
There is no doubt that we need to eat healthy. Food choices control your health and your weight. I know there are people out there who eat whatever they want whenever they want and make out like they don’t care about health or weight, but deep down, they are living a lie and the proof of that is that almost every one of those people will have a turnaround at some point in their lives. They will change from the person who is completely “happy” with themselves to the person who can’t believe they lived like that and wants to change. The only variable is when in these people’s lives will it happen.
But, as usual, I digress….
What I want to do in this post is drill into you that eating healthy food should just be a natural thing and shouldn’t consume your every thought!
Who’s ever done a 30 day challenge? I have.
Some challenges are very good, some are very bad. Good would be a strict 30 day challenge to remove all bad food from your diet ( Paleo or no sugar) or a strict 30 days of zone eating.
Bad would be lemon detox diet or soup diet or basically anything that is not leading you to a better way of eating. Something that is designed to be a quick fix and not sustainable or healthy.
Let’s focus on good 30 day challenges like Paleo or zone. These 30 day challenges are meant to set you up to continue eating like this for the long term. They are not designed to be used repeatedly. There is nothing healthy about a 30 day paleo challenge, then eat what you want for as long as you want, then feel bad and do another 30 day challenge and continue this cycle. Do one challenge, experience how you felt and continue to eat healthy for the long term.
But, I digress again…
So you’ve read “The Paleo Answer” and “A week in the Zone” and now you understand that eating healthy involves eating natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, proteins and good fats. In approximate ratios of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat.
But, it is no fun to go to a party and pass on the wine and canapés because they’re not zone paleo or put on the kids birthday party and not serve up any treats.
Realistically, the majority of people will soon fall off the healthy eating wagon if this is they way they are trying to live.
Eating healthy needs to be a balance and something that does not require too much thought.
If there is no occasion to consider eating non healthy eating, then don’t! The default is to eat healthy, but if there is a call for non healthy eating, you don’t over think it. You enjoy it and that way you’ll feel fine with the system you have developed for yourself.
Your cupboards and fridge should be loaded with healthy food so you never need to consider other options under normal circumstances.
An example may help;
Monday: Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner all healthy. You feel great.
Tuesday: Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner all healthy. You feel great.
Wednesday: Breakfast, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea all healthy. Dinner is a friends birthday at a restaurant that serves fairly unhealthy food that you love. Enjoy it!!!
Thursday: Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner all healthy. You feel great.
Friday: Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner all healthy. You feel great.
Saturday: Breakfast, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea all healthy. Dinner you feel like takeaway and some alcohol, go for it and enjoy it, you’ve had a very quiet week on the junk food front.
Sunday: Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner all healthy. You feel great.
The main points here are;
* Just because you had some cheat meals, it didn’t affect any other meals. A lot of people focus so much on food that as soon as they have a cheat meal, they feel like they have fallen off the wagon and follow one cheat meal up with a few more before if they are lucky, they pull them selves into line again.
* There’s 42 meals in a week, you only had 2 cheat meals this week. If you are pushing too many cheat meals too often, maybe you need to tighten the reigns a little, but if you’re being too strict, you’re possibly going to “fall off the wagon” ( by being too strict you’ve created a wagon to fall off!)
* Do not feel guilty when you have the occasional cheat meal!
* Make your healthy eating things that you enjoy so it is not a chore!
Please, don’t over think it. Eat healthy all the time except for the exceptions…Enjoy the exceptions for what they are and the next meal is healthy again. It’s a great cycle and it works!
If you have “fallen off the wagon” then leave the wagon on the side of the road and eat healthy at the next meal. There is no wagon, there is only healthy eating and a cheat meal here and there to keep you sane.
As a side thought… How do most parents manage their kids eating? They feed them healthy food and allow them junk here and there. Parents on the other hand are either all or nothing or worried about food or trialing a diet or defending their unhealthy habits. Maybe they could learn from how they feed their kids…