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Clients will often ask me, “Do you ever cheat”?
What comes to mind when I hear that word is cheating on your spouse, cheating at sports, cheating on tests and my answer is absolutely not. I despise cheating and people that do; it seems they have no honor or integrity.
On the other hand, when it comes to food, I do “indulge” from time to time. Occasional indulgences enable me to maintain a healthy nutritional lifestyle year round without feeling deprived. It’s realistic.
Unless you make your living in fitness and sport, maintaining a 24/7 “perfect” nutritional lifestyle 365 days a year is neither fun nor healthy. Even fitness competitors/athletes indulge at certain times. I find the 80/20 rule to work beautifully.
Let’s take a quick glance at the difference between cheating and indulging to further clarify.
- To “cheat is to deceive somebody or break rules for personal advantage, to be unfaithful or trick, con or swindle, defraud.
- To “indulge” is to have or permit or allow yourself a treat, to experience something enjoyable. To yield to desires in an excessive degree, to give free rein, take unrestrained pleasure.
To me “indulge” is a much better descriptive term of what straying from my typical nutritional intake means than the negative connotations implied by the word “cheating”. But an even more relevant question remains. . . is “indulging” right for everyone?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you healthy?
- Are you at a healthy weight and one that you are comfortable with?
- Are you free of autoimmune disease and metabolic syndrome?
- Are you free of hormonal and adrenal issues?
If the answers to all these questions are yes we can look at incorporating “indulging” into our maintenance program–later.
If the answers to any of those questions are no, then I would not recommend “indulging”.
I will have clients on medications (for diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol) that are 50+ lbs overweight eat decently for 5 days and then ask me “when do I get a cheat day”?
Wise up–how do you think you got where you are in the first place. Call it what you want–“lack of compassion or self-promoting” but I call it tough love.
People come to me to get in shape and become healthy. This is not romper room, you need to take a good hard look at reality and realize what these negative nutritional habits are doing to your health. I’m not going to do anyone a favor by sugar-coating it (no pun intended).
Folks who are in bad shape health-wise need to follow a strict nutritional program until they have resolved their health and weight issues and then we can take a look at a maintenance program.
There is no “cheating” or “indulging” until you are well!
You will need to refrain from certain foods that other healthy people do not. Get with it, get well, and then we go from there.
Healthy Indulgences 101
Many of you reading this blog are not sick and overweight so how do you incorporate normal and healthy indulging into your nutritional lifestyle? It is not black and white; there is a lot of grey. Fifty shades perhaps, but lots of grey nonetheless.
You can structure this in any manner but most of us have weekends off and those would be our preferred days to indulge. It’s the 80/20 rule or 70/30, 90/10–we’re all different and at different places. I’m personally at 85/15–it works for me.
During the week I am in a set routine, set workout structure and my eating is pretty spot on. I enjoy my food during the week but rarely feel deprived. Come Friday evening I’m ready for a little bit of decadence.
Pick your “pleasure”, for some it is alcohol, others sweets and for some bread, pasta and other grains. Choose one and splurge but not to the point of gluttony. And not a weekend-long binge, pick one or 2 meals. Come Sunday evening you are back on track with a healthy dinner and a good night’s sleep to start the week.
My “pleasure” is usually a homemade dessert, grits, biscuits, or Southern cornbread. But never all of them in a short period of time.
Do I enjoy these things every day or even multiple times a week? Of course not. That would be overdoing it for me and undoubtedly make me fat.
When Indulgence Becomes Harmful
What should you not indulge in–ever?
By garbage foods, I mean processed junk such as anything that comes in a bag or box. Man has screwed it up, period. No chips, Doritos, Fritos, or other stuff (even vegetables) fried at high temperatures in rancid oils.
No fast food, artificial sweeteners, or store-bought desserts that along with the flour and sugar have chemicals and bad fats added. If you’re going to splurge make it yourself or purchase it at a healthier alternative store.
Maintain a comfortable weight–not a stage-ready weight; one that you feel comfortable with and look good in your summer gear yet don’t feel deprived of the pleasures of food. It’s a “happy place” and one that takes experimenting and time to find what works for you.
None of us are perfect nor should we strive for perfection. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed and food and drink are a big part of our socializing. Be smart, choose wisely, and enjoy!
Robin @ Thank Your Body
I love this! I think so many people think healthy living/eating is so all or nothing. Those who are puritanical about their food to the point of never enjoying a social outing or piece of “unhealthy” dessert are missing a vital part of what makes life great. Of course, on the other are those who let every day become some sort of holiday or reason to “indulge.” For our family we follow a 90/10 rule, and that has only slowly evolved from a 80/20 rule that also brought tremendous results for us.
Brooke Harbertson Todd via Facebook
I love this, thank you!
Kelly Conrad via Facebook
Great advice. Love it!
I overindulged on vacation this summer and put on 6 lbs in 10 days. I ate a TON of food – way more than I ever do at home but hey, it was vacation. I ate 2-3 desserts per night after dinner (they were excellent quality .. good chef type stuff) but still it was dessert.
I didn’t have any soda, chips or junk though. It was just all good food .. I just ate too much.
When I got home, I got back in routine and most of it is off now. No worries having fun once in awhile! 🙂
Maggie Goodman Russell via Facebook
we generally only cheat with chocolate…its the price …we search for a low priced , Low sugar dark chocolate bar….But Love the snack size mars bar dark…lol
I love the picture you selected for the article by the way lol! There is a farm by my house and when I go with my boyfriend we like to joke which animals are our relatives 😉
This really hit a nerve with me, as im no stranger to indulging!I especially liked the part where you say all this indulging is what got us here in the first place! While I’m not overweight, I do have a gluten intolerance that I don’t take seriously enough and I definitely feel uncomfortable at the weight I’m at. I also have binge eating disorder, which is difficult to admit, but with the help of Jesus im slowly overcoming it. Thank you so much for this article. I won’t be indulging until I’m at a weight I feel good about! And it will be a gluten free indulgence!
I also love this article, however, I’m confused on what you mean by indulging. Maybe it’s because of the type of diet (GAPS/SCD) we’re on but when you say:
“No chips, Doritos, Fritos or other stuff (even vegetables) fried at high temperatures in rancid oils. No fast food, no artificial sweeteners or store bought desserts that along with the flour and sugar have chemicals and bad fats added.” Well I think, that IS the diet we’re on. What kind of foods are not the above but still indulging? But perhaps I’m stuck because we can’t do eggs or dairy either so making a “treat” is nearly impossible. My family feels super restricted and half of us are still having symptoms that would prevent so-called indulging anyway.
Aww we’re on GAPS too and I swear its not that bad. Can you not do eggs or dairy because of an allergy? In the book she has recipes without either things. Plus you can googlefor GAPS recipes and there are plenty online. There are no “indulgences” allowed on GAPS but it is only a temporary thing and it’ll make you better in the long run so just try to stick too it. Honey and fruit have been life saver for me and my family. Plus we can have eggs and dairy so we can make things with coconut flour!
Oh….and the doritos, bad oils, fake sweeteners, all that…I’d suggest not eating even when off GAPS. Theres soooo many more natural and “healthy” ways to indulge that are not down right terrible for you like these things.
thanks for replying Alexis, I appreciate it! No, we already decided to not go back to the junk foods, but that still leaves me wondering what foods are indulgent? yes, eggs, dairy and even most nuts (if not all, I haven’t gotten that far to test) is allergy/sensitivities for 2 of the 4 of us. I have searched online but can’t seem to find anythign that doesn’t include any of those and it’s still considered a treat haha. Yes we do honey and fruit, but we do that almost all the time and I have come to a point where it doesn’t even seems like a treat and I could do without it. But we all might be soon because we are trying to move to an anti-candida diet for a month. anyway, thanks again for replying.
Theres a website, http://www.healthhomehappy.com where she has alot of recipes. Do you have a coconut allergy? If not, this recipe is delicious! You might not be ready for cocoa yet but its one way to find out 🙂 I thought it was a little too strong with the amount of cocoa she had for the recipe so I halved it but they truly are delicious!!!
Homemade Chocolate Truffle Recipe
Makes approximately 40 truffles
â—¦1 cup cocoa powder
â—¦1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
â—¦1/4 cup honey
â—¦1/2 cup coconut cream (the cream from the top of an unsweetened can of coconut, Natural Value doesn’t have any additives in it)
(These are amazingly simple!) Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl with a fork, making sure to mix bottom and sides in well. Cover and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes or until firm. Pour a little more cocoa, or shredded coconut or chopped nuts, into a shallow bowl (about 2 tablespoons) for the coating.
Scoop out a small spoonful of the hardened chocolate, gently roll it in your hands, and drop it in the bowl with coating. Once you have a couple you can gently swirl the bowl to cover the ball with the cocoa powder. This was the part my toddler got a kick out of. Then place the covered truffles on a plate and repeat with the remaining chocolate.
*Dr. Natasha allows cocoa once digestive symptoms have passed.
Hopefully this website helps as well!
To me an “indulgence” is something that you wouldn’t normally eat, like a dessert after a meal… BUT it’s a home made dessert made with nutritious ingredients, rather than something you’d buy in a store. (There are heaps of recipes for desserts that are made with ingredients that fit particular nutritional needs/allergies etc.)
Or it could be some chocolate, but only organic 75% cocoa chocolate (had in a small quantity).
That being said, if you’re on GAPS, or whatever, I would consider that still “healing” rather than “maintenance”, and thus the suggestion would be to not indulge at all until your health issues are dealt with.
By indulging I mean having something homemade that you usually don’t–like a homemade dessert without chemicals and trans fats, maybe some properly prepared grits (one of my favorites), larger portions of my favorite foods, more fried foods but in healthy animals fats or coconut oil, and alcohol if you are a drinker. Of course, all of this does depend upon one’s health and goals at the time.
That sound delicious Alexis!
I don’t know if I’m replying right or if Alexis is still around (maybe she is getting these in her inbox like I am!) But I wanted to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! That was great that you actually took the time to post that for me 🙂 SO SWEET. Really that is kind of you and cheers my heart that you’d be willing to help me. Yes I love that website but I didn’t see that recipe, I will try it and I will order the egg-free menu too. I did get menus from that lady but somehow did not see a GAPS egg-free one (the ones I received were free too so that’s probably why. Paula thanks for replying, I appreciate the clarification and also Fiona.
Hey there! Yes I get them in my inbox too 🙂 And nooooooooo problem!! I want people to help me along the way and answer questions I might have so you gotta pay it forward ya know 🙂 And yeah you know most of the time you gotta pay for the good stuff! Glad it helped!
Yes, the article is swell. But that photo is a bit much.