Treat or Trick Yourself?

I want to talk about something we all do (and should do): treating ourselves! Whether celebrating a birthday, holiday, promotion, or it’s just the weekend after a productive work week, there is nothing better than rewarding ourselves to some food and drinks with friends! But there is a big difference between treating ourselves and completely derailing from our goals and progress.

Before a photoshoot, I would always have this obsessively strict diet/exercise program and go way overboard. I would eat zero "bad" foods, no carbs or sugar, go to saunas, workout twice a day and sometimes even sleep in a waist trainer (never try those they are as uncomfortable as toe socks). I also would always have the plan to treat myself to a cheat meal after that shoot. I’m not talking about just some fries and an Oreo. I’m talking full pasta dinner, bread, dessert, wine, and maybe tequila if I was in the mood. I remember being so excited to know that I “earned” that food and it was not going to matter because I was so “good on my diet” the whole week! (You’ll read why I use quotations later).I also remember the feeling after I would have this major binge session: remorse. And being unbelievably sick to my stomach.

I would think, “This is supposed to be my reward? Rewarding food should not make me this miserable.” I felt like a lot of my progress was ruined and I would have to exercise extra hard the next day, go on a juice cleanse, and sit in a sauna for hours.

It was like my emotions were on the same roller coaster that my eating habits were on, and no one riding was having fun.

Now I know you’re probably thinking, “But cheat meals are necessary and I’m human”, which is 100% true! I am all for enjoying various foods. But the problem I finally realized is the extreme, obsessive behavior that comes with prepping and rewarding. When you are all or none with your diet and fitness routine, it can be detrimental to not only your body but your mental health. Remember when I used “earned” and “good on my diet” earlier? Lets also include "cheat meals" in there.Those are the words used when an excuse is needed to eat less healthy foods. Not good. Associating foods with words like "bad" give us this sense of shame or remorse when we consume them. It ties feelings to the food. That is how inconsistent and obsessive eating can begin to form. So, lets avoid overthinking, avoid trying to figure out how we’re going to work it off the next day, and avoid the 5 day juice cleanse that will follow the "bad" meal. Work to feel your best and just enjoy life (and food)! Let me break down the difference between consistent healthy lifestyle vs. extreme dieting.

Consistent Healthy Lifestyle:

Eats consistently throughout the day

2-3 cheat meals per week

Eats until satisfied

Only eats when hungry

Enjoys foods to nourish the body

Diet plan is consistent clean eating

Works out to feel good and keep body healthy

Extreme Dieting Lifestyle:

Skips meals to save calories

Multiple binging episodes throughout the week

Eats until discomfort

Avoids eating if hungry/Overeats when bored or emotional

Eats foods only to follow a diet: low calorie/low sugar/low carb/etc.

Follows “get fit quick” fads: juice cleanses, weight-loss supplements, skinny teas, etc.

Works out for spot reduction (targeting certain areas of your body you do not like) or to compensate for “bad” dieting the day before

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