In an effort to not be too perfectionist about my nutrition, I will usually allow myself a “free” meal or treat once a week. Usually it’s not too crazy, just something that usually doesn’t really fit into my nutrition plan because it’s really carb-heavy or higher in fat. That something can be a piece or two of pizza (depending on the size of the piece), a cupcake or two, or a serving of a mayo-based salad.
I’ve learned from doing Body-for-Life in the past that a free day to me is ultimately my downfall. I could easily undo an entire week’s worth of work in one 24 hour period.
My biggest hurdle in losing weight and keeping a healthy diet is self-control. It was not unheard of for me to finish off a bag or chips, or eat half a pizza, or plow through a bag of cookies. Because of this (and sadly my kids have the same tendency) I rarely keep junk food in the house and keep even tortilla chips to a minimum.
Well last weekend I made a sheetcake for my brother-in-law’s party and I had a decent amount of icing left over and I promised the kids I would make cupcakes.
I totally didn’t think that through. One recipe is 24 cupcakes. My husband doesn’t eat them so that works out to 8 cupcakes a person. Now I have to give myself some credit for not just eating all eight in one sitting. I did manage to spread it out over three days. But those three days I didn’t track my food and I actually rebelled a bit against even paying attention to what I ate.
You know what? I didn’t die, gain 20 pounds in three days, or go on a complete food bender. I had cupcakes for breakfast for three days and then had some salty snacks. But I’m back. Sure I can make excuses and blame monthly hormones or something, but you know what? I actually showed some restraint and I’m going to celebrate that.
Perfectionism has it’s place. It is not in living a healthy lifestyle. If all I feel is deprived and suffer intense and intensifying cravings without giving in a little, all I am doing is setting myself up for an epic fail. The trick to it all is balance, and not throwing in the towel and going on a massive binge all because I ate three cupcakes in one sitting.
And you know what? I feel focused and motivated again. These little free meals or days have their purpose. Part of it is to allow myself to enjoy some treats, but another part is to remind myself what that food does to me and how I feel after eating it. Honestly, I felt a little bloated and mentally I was foggier, but it’s a fantastic reminder to eat clean and healthy for the majority of the time, and that is what I call success.
(EDIT: I realize this probably seems a little incongruent – or not – following a post about baking a cake!)