I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. As a result, I know the ins and outs of dieting. I know how good it feels to see the number on the scale go down. I know how fun it is to form a workout group or supportive text chain with your friends. And I also know how good that cake can taste on your lips. Or when you slip, I know the devilish voice in your head that whispers, “You only live once. Don’t bother with the diet anymore!”
I have tried everything from the minimal diets to the extreme ones (Have you ever read a book called Skinny Bitch? Yeesh, it is harsh!). “Slimfast,” “Weight Watchers,” diet pills, apple cider vinegar shots, you name it — I’ve tried them all. After all of these attempts, do you know what I found works? Moderation, which is defined as avoiding extremes or excesses. That’s right. Don’t deprive yourself of it, but don’t go to an “all you can eat” buffet and make multiple trips either.
Though we may not have all been swooned by fad diets, as Americans, we have a general knowledge of the food pyramid and what is good for us and what isn’t.
We’re all aware that if we spend our days gorging ourselves on fast food, pizza, and soda, we will not have the best quality of life. But we also know the feeling of having a salad for lunch every day for a week, and then just wanting a burger, damn it! You know what? That’s okay! We all know that if we don’t allow ourselves to have the things we occasionally enjoy, when we finally do, we will go overboard and completely reverse any progress we’ve made.
Sure, there are alternatives. Almost every starchy thing you enjoy has a cauliflower substitute these days. There are even “cheese wraps,” which allow you to have a sandwich experience without the carbs. Yet, sometimes you just need the delicious, guilt-ridden taste of some white flour or real pizza. Moderation is a successful diet. You won’t feel deprived, but you also won’t feel as bloated or unhealthy as you would if you had no dietary regulations in place. Eating in moderation is also said to keep us in a better frame of mind to control and eventually ward off our cravings.
There are ways to stay successful and achieve your health and wellness goals while still allowing yourself to enjoy the occasional “cheat meal.”
To do that, have a mental check with yourself before and after you eat. Recognize the signs of feeling full, and don’t get to the point when you feel uncomfortable. Continue to prioritize certain things such as water consumption. In fact, having a glass of water before a meal will help you control your portions. Remember that just because you are allowing yourself something you enjoy doesn’t give you a free pass for the rest of the day or week. When eating, sit at a table where you can enjoy your food (no car snacking as a cheat). If you have any leftovers, ditch them to avoid the temptation lurking around tomorrow’s corner. I remember hearing a quote once that said, “If you break a lamp in your house, you don’t go around and break all of the other lamps. You fix it and move on.”
A diet where we still allow ourselves to have the occasional cheat food we enjoy protects our sanity while also maintaining our goals and a healthier metabolism. Cravings tend to be the strongest in the evening so have your indulgent items before 6 P.M. to avoid the domino effect of needing something salty and something sweet and a glass of wine.
Best of luck, sisters! We’ve got this!