Oh the anguish of it all. You’ve had a great several days in a row of eating clean and healthy, keeping your calories in a helpful range for weight loss or maintenance, and feeling great about your food choices. Then it happens, you have a day or days where it all goes to crap – crappy food that is!
I hear it time and time again, clients stressing about the fact that they ate poorly for a period of time. To them it’s like an epic failure, a set back sometimes too huge to come back from. The amount of self-inflicted emotional abuse people shovel upon themselves when they make poor food choices is enough to make anyone want to sit down and shove an entire cake in their mouth.
Then begins what I call the helter-skelter period of regaining control of their fitness goals by over-restricting calories, over-abusing their workouts, and a lot of self-criticism about their “weakness” where food is concerned. Come on now, who wants to live like this? Life is too short for this much anxiety about food!
If you’ve read any of my posts, or trained with me, you know one thing for certain about my approach to fitness – all things in moderation. That means high-caloric, sugary-fatty-alcoholic foods too.
When we deprive ourselves of something we enjoy, and in particular when we assign a label of “cheat” or “bad” to said thing, we set ourselves up for a binging of that item somewhere down the line, followed by guilty feelings and disappointment in ourselves that manifest into a frenzied attack on our bodies to right this apparent wrong.
Listen all you lovely well-intentioned humans – you are human – which means you are prone to whims, and impulsiveness, and the joy of spontaneity and choice. So cut yourself some slack. It’s not cheating, it’s not bad – it’s just not as healthy or as conducive to your fitness goals as other choices, but hey, eat the cupcake, enjoy the wine, savor that cheeseburger. It’s one day (or vacation period). As long as you keep your daily food to moderate level (i.e., do not eat four cheeseburgers in a day), your body will quickly shed that extra fat (not weight) which your day(s) of variation from the norm caused.
Author Timothy Ferris’ approach to weight loss (The 4-Hour Body) includes one day of high-calorie-sugars-fats-alcohol per week! His philosophy (which he feels is scientific fact) states: “…spiking caloric intake once a week increases fat-loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function and conversation of T4 to T3, etc.) doesn’t downshift from extended caloric restriction.” In other words, according to Mr. Ferris, one day a week of eating anything you like can actually help you lose fat. It’s up to you whether you want to follow his method, but regardless it’s just another way of me saying to you DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT.
A life lived with consistent moderation of nutrition and exercise along with periodic enjoyment of higher-caloric foods and non-exercise is a well-balanced life and leads directly to a happy head (emotional state), which is the gateway to a healthy body.