Does this sound like you: Every time I stick to my clean eating and exercise routine for a week or so, I feel like I deserve a cheat meal? No judgement, you aren’t alone boo. Treats labeled as cheats can too often be super counterproductive when it comes to your “Get Fit by 2015” goal.
And straight up – I want you to have that RAD healthy life you were begging Santa for last year, so this story is for you. So let’s remix this and say “I don’t deserve” to cheat all the time. Goodbye old excuses, hello new mantras.
#1 “If I tell myself no now, then eventually I’ll just binge later…”
Wrong. In moments like this RADicals, tell yourself the truth, “I am making a choice, not a sacrifice.” By changing your lingo you learn how to start combating cravings. The more healthy foods you eat, the more you’ll start craving them instead of junk all the time. However the key is – get your mind on board before your body. An easy fix that I tell my clients is: step back, come back and reevaluate. If that cake is calling your name, go sweat a bit, or have an actual meal first, and when you come back, the craving most likely will have lessened or may even be gone.
#2 “Today was hell, I deserve a treat.”
I get it. After being pissed off, the first thing most of us want is pleasure. That totally makes sense. But does pleasure have to only come in calorie form? Yo – let me tell you, this golden question changed my entire life a few years ago. I was getting help for an eating disorder and my therapist told me, “Every time you crave something sweet, maybe it is just sweetness you’re looking for.” Uhm hello! When we are down, we deserve kindness not calories. This made so much sense to me. So when I felt tempted to partake in emotional eating, I verbalized why I felt so lousy and went and gave myself a mani or called an old friend instead. These things gave a quick hit to my dopamine (pleasure hormone) sans the calories and sans the guilt.
#3 “I need to listen to body, and my body wants Popeyes.”
Oh for real? The difference between needs and wants is everything when it comes to our food choices. Craving Louisiana fried chicken usually hits when you’re hungry/starving. But here’s the deal, real hunger is not picky, and to test this I do the apple v. the cookie test. If an apple will do, then it is hunger. If I would kill for a cookie, then it’s a craving. Knowing is half the battle yall. Once you can separate your cravings from hunger, then you can tell yourself more accurate statements such as, “I really want Popeyes, but this turkey burger is what I need.”
#4 “I’ve been really good all week.”
This is the one that gets us all the time right? Why not flip that and say “I’ve been really good all week, annnnd I want to keep it that way.” It’s tough I know, but when you start viewing food as a prize, you’re not only sabotaging your motivation, but you’re also low key indicating you have reached the end. This approach can easily cause you to revert back to unhealthy behaviors, so next time you feel like you deserve something focus on how eating healthy has already paid off. Chances are you will find that your new dress size, increased energy etc. are not worth blowing for a five minute indulgence.
#5 “No big deal, I’ll just work it off later.”
If you like to sweat, then chances are you’ve used this excuse many times. Been there done that. But why not flip it and say, “I’ll workout now and treat myself later.” The difference between these two mentalities is comparable to spending money before you have it. We are all optimists when it comes to our future selves, but healthy diets run off momentum. It’s easier to eat well when you’re feeling successful as opposed to trying to rectify some former transgressions. So keep at it and that pecan pie will stop calling your name so often – if you train it to.