I often get this question:
How often do you enjoy a cheat meal? Every day? Once a week?
This is something totally personal to me, and it will also be personal to you… why?? Because you know yourself best. But let me tell you why I don’t believe in “cheat meals.”
I’m all about having variation in my diet, and I love that there’s no “one-diet-fits-all.” For me, indulging in something delicious in moderation (like chocolate) is good for my soul. I swear it is. Chocolate and my happy soul go hand in hand. ;) And I feel like it should have a place in my diet just like spinach, fruit, and green smoothies have.
When I put restrictions on my diet to the point where I’m only allowed to have one “cheat meal” a week, I go berserk and want to eat just about every unhealthy thing in sight. That method does not work for me. For some this method might work, and congrats to you for having that much control. For me, food becomes a negative thing when I put such harsh restrictions on it, and I don’t like the sound of that. So I don't have a specific rule or follow such a strict protocol.
That word “cheat” has a negative connotation, and it feels to me like there’s a second word “guilt” attached right next to it. That’s why I’d prefer to avoid that terminology and instead of "cheat" call it a “treat.” Yes, treat. I like that word better. It denotes food that is special, on occasion, fun, and positive.
There is no “correct” way to handle this whole thing, and it's probably going to look different for you…. But for me, I’ve found that listening to my body and indulging in cravings when the timing is right, is something that comes guilt-free and with a lot of positivity. Indulging in the occasional treat, like a warm brownie and scoop of ice cream after Sunday dinner, is something I look forward to, and LOVE. And if my friends are going out on occasion to get our favorite treat, of course I say YES! That is an appropriate time for me to enjoy a treat.
With that being said... no, I don’t indulge in treats after every meal each day; no, I don’t stock my shelves or freezer with treats; yes, sometimes taking a "sugar-break" can be a really good thing; yes, I try to mostly eat nutrient-rich and energy-filled food... but I allow myself something small and delicious every single day if I’m feeling up to it. And usually it's a couple bites of dark chocolate (my favorite). I’ve learned to eat intuitively by eating when I feel hungry, stopping when I’m full, and enjoying the occasional delicious bite of dessert if I'm having the craving. It’s taken time for me, but with some practice, I believe everyone can achieve this same relationship with their food.
Something like a square of this @jojos chocolate bark gives me just enough sweet to satisfy my craving, and it keeps me in control. I also love the mission and story behind their chocolate, that it contains clean and all-natural ingredients, gluten-free, helps balance blood sugar, is packed with antioxidants, satisfies quickly, and helps me kick my sugar cravings to the curb.
Our bodies aren’t meant to be restricted or punished. We all deserve a healthy and balanced life. We need to trust our bodies, learn to listen to them, and fall in love with the way they carry us every day. We deserve it.
I’d like to hear- How do you like to control your cravings? And what is your most favorite treat?