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Why Cheat Meals are a "bad" idea.

Updated: May 20

Okay, put the steak knives down. I’m not saying don’t indulge once in a while. In fact, I believe the opposite. It is essential to eat foods we enjoy AND foods that feed our soul. My problem is with the cheat meal mentality. The idea is that since we worked hard all week, we deserve to eat something “bad.” Here is my issue with that. When we assign labels to foods such as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, we are essentially telling ourselves that we ARE good or bad. That we are healthy or unhealthy. Having that mentality is what is unhealthy and potentially dangerous. In fact, any diet that cuts out entire food groups, or drastically restricts you for the sake of losing weight is dysfunctional. Personally, I have done this many times, and from my experience, it is not sustainable. What is more important for health and weight loss is the quality of your food. It is possible to lose weight eating nothing but Oreos, as long as you consume fewer calories than you burn. But how do you want to feel? What body composition do you want to have? What quality of life do you want to live in? What cost to our health, minds, and souls are we willing to make to follow these fad diets? To be frank, there is a lot of exploitation, misinformation, and money-motivated individuals within the fitness industry. It is everywhere. Some (not all) of your favorite online influencers don’t care about your health or well being at all. People will endorse products, services, and weight loss supplements they don’t even believe in to get a paycheck. It is a business after all. So please be careful and do some research before you blindly accept any claim made or advice given. We must do our due diligence when it comes to our health and well-being. Having a restrictive relationship with food can be more unhealthy than the food itself. In order to make sustainable and balanced lifestyle changes, it is important to change our relationship with food and with ourselves. Believe it or not, we don’t have to torture ourselves, do workouts we hate, or restrict everything we eat. Having this all or nothing mentality ultimately leads to binge eating, guilt, depression, and starting the vicious cycle all over again. I am not afraid to say eff that. Let’s take your power back. When we label things like food, we give those things power. Judgment is a useless emotion. It is much more empowering to realize we are in control of our mind, body, and soul. We are highly capable of choosing what is right for us. Setting unrealistic, rigid, and inflexible rules around food and exercise only make the entire experience miserable. Has what you’ve been doing been working for you? In the past, I have lost a lot of weight only to gain back those pounds and sometimes more months later. We have to decide what is more important to us. Losing weight fast right now or losing weight healthily and keeping it off? There is so much information online and from people with various opinions. Some of that advice may work but for how long? How would you feel? No amount of weight loss is worth feeling empty and deprived. If losing weight is your only goal then feed into every fad diet and supplement you see. If you want to feel better, nourish your mind, and body, I suggest a more balanced approach. The main takeaway here is you don’t need to wait for a certain day of the week to be able to enjoy food. Life is about balance and why not have a more flexible schedule with it. I’m sure you have heard the expression “it’s a lifestyle.” The idea is that you choose to be healthy (whatever that looks like for YOU) most of the time and don’t look at it as a short term, temporary diet. It’s all about making the “diet” work for you and not the other way around. Now please don’t take this to the other extreme either. If you have weight loss goals, you will have to sacrifice some of the foods you enjoy sometimes. It’s all about finding balance. It is about getting intuitive with your body and style of eating. This will take time and patience on your part. I suggest a science-based approach. Eat more nutrient-rich foods and move your body more. The difference is how you will approach your weight loss journey. The key is to change your mindset. Consider how you think, talk, and feel about weight loss. The word diet has a bad reputation because it is associated with meal plans that are created as if one size fits all. You wouldn’t go into a store that had only one size for clothing so why would you look at nutrition like that? It doesn’t make sense. We are all different shapes, sizes, and personalities. It’s about living your best life in terms of your health and happiness. Throw out those one size fits all ideas, diets, workouts, and influencers. Commit to living a life that feels good and healthy for you. I promise you there is a better way. I’m not saying it is easy because habit change will always be a challenge. However, it doesn’t have to be super complicated and it can be easier than you are likely making it. If you are willing to try a different approach then I will help you take the necessary actions towards an entirely different experience. Dieting is not a word in my vocabulary. If you are anything like me (human) you naturally crave food you don’t think you can have. Do yourself a favor and throw out any limiting or self-defeating language in your vocabulary. Instead, make conscious and intentional choices that nourish you in the present moment. I believe the answers to your questions about weight loss are within you. Find out who you are and what works for YOU. Spend some time getting to know yourself. Experiment with different foods. We are all different and beautifully unique. Google arguably has all the answers but not in terms of the individual. It can be helpful to get perspective from others, but always honor yourself. My hope is to empower YOU to adopt a healthy lifestyle out of love for your bodies, not out of hate. To challenge the diet culture and societal expectations to look, act, or be a certain way. I challenge you to do the same. Be yourself, love yourself, and act in alignment with yourself. When you believe in you, magical things will start to happen, inside and out.

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