Sarah forwarded me this Huffington Post article recently, entitled “23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing”. I started to read down the list, and some of the items really resounded with me. Then I got to number four: “Viewing Food as the Enemy”….
We all have different relationships with the food we put into our bodies. Sometimes, that relationship is a healthy one. However, more often than not, that connection is unfortunately an unhealthy one. It bothers me when people call eating in a Primal or Paleo way a “diet”. Although it does not have to, the word “diet” can carry so many negative connotations. When I think of a diet, I think of cabbage soup diets, the grapefruit diet, the Hollywood diet, the cayenne lemonade diet — all of which have at least one thing in common — they’re all restrictive.
And when a person constantly restricts and prohibits a wide range of foods, they run the risk of beginning to view food as the ‘enemy’. Many people struggle to view food as an enjoyable way to fuel their bodies, rather they wonder, “How many calories is in that?” or “I’m not allowed to eat that!”
True, eating a Primal/Paleo meal plan means that most people avoid certain foods (processed foods, soy, grains, legumes, sugar), but the focus is on nourishing and feeding your body, not on punishing it or restricting. Eating Primal/Paleo is not a diet, but rather a guideline… a method of focusing on feeding your body real, wholesome food so that it runs at an optimal performance. It’s a step in the right direction of good-health. Many people eat modified Primal/Paleo plans. Everyone is different. Everyone’s body thrives in a unique way.
No one should constantly stress out about what they’re eating. No one is perfect. Primal/Paleo is a lifestyle, a guideline, a habit… not a diet. So what if you eat brown rice? So what if you want corn one day? So what if you’re craving frozen yogurt. Go ahead. If you’re not intolerant to these foods, indulge occasionally without feeling guilty. My friend (and fellow PrimalGirl assistant) Sarah, loves to remind me that “the only person you have to compete with is the old you”. And I really can’t think of a wiser piece of advice. Stop stressing out that you don’t look like that model in the magazine (she’s airbrushed anyway, believe me) or that you “accidentally” ate half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s half baked yesterday. Who cares? WHO CARES?!? …Seriously, no one cares.
So, how do you deal with “cheats”? Alrighty then, let me show you my 5 tips…
1. Plan Ahead: Choose a day or a meal where you eat whatever it is that you’ve been craving. Have that slice of pizza or that frosty milkshake that you want so badly. Enjoy it. Savor it. Then move past it, get back on track, and keep going.
2. Practice Portion Control: Having a “cheat” is not a license to binge. Choose whatever it is that you want to eat and enjoy it in moderation. Nibble on a Kit-Kat bar, but don’t gobble up the whole bag. Moderation is key.
3. Don’t Skip Meals: Don’t skip dinner because you “cheated” with lunch. It’s terrible for your body and terrible for your mentality. If you indulged during lunch, remember to follow the rest of your meals with healthy, balanced foods, and drink lots of water.
4. Quality Control: If you want to cheat, do it right. If you want ice cream, try eating frozen yogurt instead. Craving deep fried chinese food? Try making it yourself instead of pulling up to the drive-thru. It will still be the “cheat” you want, but without a lot of the processed junk, it won’t be as bad for you.
5. Carpe Diem: Time yourself. Yes, really. Give yourself no more than 60 minutes to enjoy your cheat. By timing yourself, you’re giving yourself a window. Once that window closes you’re done. That way, you’ll avoid thinking that since you already “ruined” one meal, you may as well ruin the next one. No. Give yourself a window, and once that window closes, move on back to your healthy eating plan.
Don’t let perfection become the enemy of progress. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and remember to focus on your victories, not on your failings. You’re on the right path. Keep going. You are awesome. You are fabulous.
And you have totally got this.