Why do you cheat on your diet?
Did you know that all types of food have eyes? They do – true story. If you’ve ever been on a diet, you know that is 100% true because you’ve found yourself in a legit staring contest with a slice of pizza, a box of donuts, a cheeseburger, maybe the entire baked goods case at Starbucks. You’re faced with temptation everywhere you go. So that begs the question… what should you do when you feel the urge to cheat on your diet? Ummm… don’t. I’m sure you’re looking for a more in depth answer than that – but that’s really what it comes down to. You have a TON of options to avoid cheating, and if you do cheat, no matter what you tell yourself, it wasn’t your best option and you’re just making excuses. Here are some reasons I’ve heard for people cheating on their diet plans, and how to deal with it!
“I was having a really bad day.”
This is probably the most common excuse. Some people get tempted to cheat when they’re emotional – they just want comfort food. You had a bad day and you want to seek comfort in a bowl of ice cream. Here’s the thing – not only is that ice cream NOT going to solve whatever problem you’re dealing with, but after you eat it not only will your problem still be there but now you have some guilt and regret to go along with it. Your comfort food made you feel WORSE, not better! I like to tell people that you can’t out train a bad diet, but you can out train a bad day! Something that makes people feel better is having a sense of control. Well guess what, in the gym – YOU ARE IN CONTROL. You control every joint in your body, every muscular contraction, that perfect rhythmic breathing pattern to fuel your session. Take control over your bad day, don’t lose control by cheating with comfort food.
“I’ve been doing good with my diet, I’ve earned it!”
Yeah… not how it works folks. You’re not a dog, you do not reward yourself with food. That’s like saying “I’ve been really healthy all year! I’m going to make out with a rabid monkey!” Isn’t losing the unwanted body fat, building bigger, stronger muscles and revealing a healthier you enough of a reward? If not, then why are you doing this in the first place???
“It was just there, so I ate it.”
I’m sure you’ve heard people say things along the line of, “If you don’t keep bad food in your house, it won’t be there for you to eat.” Although this is true I think it’s absolutely horrible advice. Why? Food is EVERYWHERE – not just in your kitchen. You need to learn how to mentally deal with temptation! You can train your body to be strong, and you can train your will power to be strong too! If I can’t say “no” to those blueberry waffles with ice cream stashed in my freezer for my refeed day, how on EARTH am I going to be able to say no to the myriad of food I’m faced with every day? When I’m working on shedding a few pounds and go out to eat with some friends, someone inevitably says “I feel so bad eating this in front of you!” or they’ll alter what they eat so I’m not tempted. I ENCOURAGE them to eat whatever they want in front of me. The more frequent that tempting food is around me, the more my senses are dulled to it. It’s not rare or special or forbidden or taunting to my virgin eyes, it’s normal and it’s no big deal. Ya follow?
“I was just craving it really badly!”
So here’s where flexible dieting makes things super easy. NUTELLA. Okay now you want a spoonful, right? Add it into your plan tomorrow. That’s it. You don’t eat it RIGHT NOW, you make it fit tomorrow at a time when that amount of fat and carbs would be appropriate. We live in a world of “I WANT IT NOW” that we often forget how to be patient. It really is that easy. Most likely whatever it is you’re craving and want to cheat with isn’t going off the market or can’t be recreated. So just wait! Plan for it in advance and then you can eat it without that extra side of guilt.
“I just want to feel normal.”
Ummmm… liar. If you wanted to be normal, you wouldn’t kill it in the gym every day, you wouldn’t be making an effort to get your eating habits on track, and you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog. You don’t WANT to feel normal, you want to be extraordinary! And that includes having a little more responsibility for what you put in your mouth.
“P… M… S!”
Yeah, that sucks. Here’s the thing… it’s not a FRICKIN SURPRISE! For us women, we know it’s coming every month. Yet why do we always seem to act like we don’t know how to deal with it? Yes the cravings are strong, but you are stronger! You have all month long to plan ahead and find alternatives to the things you crave that will fit into your lifestyle. Grab a square of Lindt 90% dark chocolate and count that as one of your servings of fat for the day. The high percentage means little to no sugar and jam packed with antioxidants. Treat yourself to some nice tea to kill the cravings. Teavana makes some KILLER blends including my person PMS favorite – Chocolate Bananas Foster!
Now I’m not saying you’re going to eat perfect all the time. Food is meant to be enjoyed! You will have days when you’ll plan ahead for cheat meals (like weddings, birthdays, Thanksgiving) or have refeeds (totally different than cheat meals, but we’ll dive into that in another blog.) I’m talking about the random instances when you cave and eat things that are not in line with the goals you’ve set for yourself, yet seem to try and justify cheating to your coach, trainer and yourself! When you cheat on your diet, that’s like cheating playing solitaire – you’re only cheating yourself! And you’re worth better than that!