Cheat meal anyone?
Because cheat meals make such great food porn...
What I struggle most with on my fitness journey is cheating. Guys, if ever there was a diet cheater- it's me. I win! Don't get me wrong, for the most part, I try to eat clean: I carry prepped meals to work, I eat 5 balanced nutritious meals per day, I workout 4-5 times per week and I drink a gallon of water.
SInce I eat strictly all week, I deserve a care-free weekend during which I can eat anything, drink all the alcohol in the world, and even slack on my workouts.
You see, the problem with this kind of thinking is that we program our minds to see unhealthy food choices or not working out as a reward for healthy behavior. For the longest time, in my mind, there were forbidden foods (chocolate, pizza, bread, ice cream, wine), which come end week, I indulged in with the justification that I had been 'good' all week. This mentally encouraged overindulgence.
This problematic relationship with food could lead to eating disorders. Not surprisingly, many fitness models and bodybuilders fall prey to these because of the unhealthy relationships their minds created with regards to food. They over-restrict while prepping then overindulge when off-season. I read a story about a bodybuilder who after competing gained 50 lb of fat that next week because he overate everything that he restricted while on his prep.
So I'm unlearning my prior relationship with food. This relationship has also inhibited my fitness progress in the past; any fat loss during the week was canceled out on the weekend. As my fitness coach put it, 'bad' food should not be a reward for 'good' behavior. In fact, there is no such thing as 'bad' or 'good' food. Food is food, and we eat for nourishment and sustenance. We also culturally eat for pleasure in social situations, so while on a healthy diet these indulgences should be the exception and not the rule.
Here's where I currently am mentally:
I choose to eat nutritious and healthy meals because I love and care for my body. I choose to take time to prep delicious meals and enjoying this simple art of self-care. I choose not stuff myself with junk food on weekends because I know that it often leaves me feeling sick, bloated and guilty. I also have the occasional treat because life is about balance, and we have to enjoy the simple pleasures as they come along.
A treat meal, not a cheat weekend.