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How to Cheat on Your Diet and Still See Success

I got you excited didn't I???

I don't believe in the word "cheat" and NEITHER SHOULD YOU!!

Why not? Because cheating is bad literally in every situation. Cheating on a test, cheating on your spouse/partner, cheating in CrossFit (almost as bad as cheating on your person...kidding!), cheating on your college roommates by watching Grey's Anatomy without her (Caela is still mad at me for this), the list goes on and on. The word means a very bad thing and has a very bad connotation and feeling attached to it.

Therefore, when we "cheat" on our diets, we automatically feel like we've failed (maybe for some to the same extent as cheating on significant other) and we need punishing. No wonder we feel like absolute garbage mentally? Because we're equating eating a syrup-y filled pancake breakfast TO LITERALLY CHEATING ON YOUR PERSON. I'm sorry but the two should never be thought of as similar. One is worse. One is not.

I preach that we should love and accept ourselves and we should allow ourselves to enjoy food, but how the hell can we do that when we eat a damn cheeseburger (which honestly isn't that bad for you...hello protein) and instantly hate ourselves for it or vow not to eat for the rest of the day to make up for it?

Why don't we change the word "cheat" to "treat"?? That sounds a lot better, right? We mentally do need to treat ourselves every once in a while. Acts of self-care (also coming to you in this week's blog) are just as important to your weight-loss journey as is calories and macros.

Now I'm not done. Before I got into this space, I remember reading all this crap (I mean everyone says it and these statements are nothing true or extraordinary) and thinking "okay but how the hell do I do that????" I would "treat" myself and not punish myself mentally for it BUT that would always trigger month long binges that caused me to lose ALL progress I'd made in the months prior. It was really frustrating to say the least. Everyone tells you "treat yourself" and "enjoy life" but they don't tell you how to balance it.

Clare's 10 easy rules for treats and balance:

1. Plan. Plan your treats and look forward to them. "My best friend is coming into town this weekend. I'm going to eat Mex1 nachos and pancakes and french toast." "Gal's night is Friday night." "Date night is Saturday." "Friday night, I'm gettin' lit."

2. Monday-Friday (or non-treat days), stay strong and follow your plan. Eat the right things. Be strict on yourself. No you cannot eat junk all week long and stay on track. That's not how good nutrition works. Each day, eat 4 servings of protein, 5-6 servings of veggies, 2-3 servings of starches/grains, 2 and servings of fruit.

3. Don't restrict. Just because you're eating nachos Saturday night doesn't mean you can't eat food

4. The day of treats is here! If you typically eat 4-5 meals/day, let's bring that down to 2-3. You're not as hungry anyways, so why add more food?

5. Breakfast and lunch: gotta get protein and veggies in, non-negotiable. I recommend big salads and bowls taking almost all the veggies and/or fruits you eat in a day down to two meals. We need those micronutrients, and we aren't getting them when we treat ourselves. I don't think "oh, this apple!! Counts as my treat for the week!!!" I think "oh, apple cobbler, sign me up!" and there is NO micronutrient left in apple cobbler.

6. Exercise. Go for a walk, do some yoga, go to your Saturday CrossFit class. Get your blood flowing. This makes you physically feel less groggy and keeps energy high.

7. After your hearty and nutritious lunch, STOP TRACKING! You don't need the reminder that your pancakes were 700 calories because you start wanting to punish yourself.

8. Enjoy your treat with NO GUILT whatsoever.

9. Start back into the routine the next day.

10. Rinse and Repeat.

Try these 10 easy steps this week and let me know how you do!

Remember if a treat happens or you eat "too much" during that treat, it's okay! One day is NOT going to derail your progress. Give yourself some love and space to enjoy life a little bit. You've earned it.

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