Food that is, I’m talking nutrients not killer dance moves. (Sorry)
So something I find that tends to happen when people are trying to eat healthy and make good food choices is a strong sense of guilt when they go off plan. Just like that your positive and healthy choice to eat better can quickly become an unhealthy relationship with food. This sense of “guilt” from occasionally indulging in food is so common, and to be honest most of the time, unnecessary.
Ever hear the expression “one unhealthy meal won’t make you fat, just like one healthy meal won’t make you thin”? There’s a lot of truth in that. If you eat clean and healthy 90% of the time a slice of pizza on the weekend doesn’t suddenly undo all your progress. It’s not all or nothing.
I think that we tend to forget that our bodies don’t recognize foods as we eat them, our bodies actually digest and process food based on their nutrient makeup. Your body does not recognize that you’re eating a donut or a cupcake and immediately say, “that sucker in going straight to belly fat!” Our bodies break down food based on their nutrients and digest them based on the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in them. When a certain food brings more of a certain nutrient than our body’s needs to form energy it generally gets stored adipose (fatty) tissue, but that’s not forever!
So chill out on all the guilty feelings! You don’t need to hit the treadmill for an extra 30 minutes the next day if you’re feeling guilty over you one cookie. Your body can process the nutrients in small occasional treats, so stop beating yourself up! I used to feel totally guilty if I caved and had chocolate or ice cream, like I was somehow erasing my great workout from earlier. Then I’d start stressing about it. That’s where it gets problematic. Not only is this an unhealthy attitude towards food, but also stress tends to trigger our bodies production of Cortisol, a hormone that actually tells our bodies to hold onto its fat. So the overproduction of Cortisol from all the unnecessary stress about a bite of cake or occasional hamburger actually is making it harder for ourselves to lose the weight than if we just enjoys our small occasional treats and stopped the stress and the guilt.
So it’s good news! Enjoy your cheat meal once a week if that’s how you roll. Or follow the 90% 10% rule and eat clean 90% of the time and splurge on goodies 10% of time. Allow yourself to enjoy those well-deserved indulgences. A positive outlook and healthy relationship with food will serve you so much better than trying to exercise some sort of superhuman self-control and be perfect 100% of the time and beating ourselves up when we inevitably stray. Remember you’re only human enjoy the ice cream cone!