People who know me know how much I love food. I am a massive foodie. You’ll see from my recipes that I love all kinds of stuff and have plenty of healthy meals I enjoy making. (I also have plenty of unhealthy meals I enjoy too, but these get shown less because they don’t really help people trying to lose weight.) But there is one thing appeals to me above all else.
I have a particular love of Easter Eggs (the chocolate just seems to taste even better than normal chocolate?!) and once I get a taste for something I do find it difficult to stop. I know exactly what people mean when they describe the intense feelings of pleasure they get from eating chocolate. I get that too!
This might seem a strange admission and blog post for a health and fitness coach to make, but people often get the impression that trainers and coaches are perfect, never eat or have cravings for unhealthy foods and live an exemplary lifestyle.
This is not the case! I am far from perfect. Most of the photos I post on instagram and facebook are of healthy meals, but this is to inspire people and hopefully give them ideas of easy things they can make. Those meals aren’t what I eat all the time.
Over the Easter weekend I got given 4 eggs plus 3 smaller creme egg style ones. On the Sunday I fully enjoyed a family buffet with pudding, cheese and chocolates after. Then I went home and shared half an Easter Egg with my boyfriend. On Monday I couldn’t resist trying two of the 3 smaller eggs I’d been given (salted caramel filling – amazing). And then I was craving more, even though I was full (this was after a decent breakfast and lunch). I had the taste for chocolate.
Up until not that long ago I would have had more. But I can remember what it feels like to have eaten so much I felt sick after. And how pissed off that made me about taking 2 steps back in my health and fitness goals.
The memory of those feelings is strong enough now that it (usually) puts me off having more. Plus I knew how much I’d eaten the day before. So I made sure the rest of the day I ate well and was active.
And I didn’t beat myself up.
When was the last time you ate something you love that you know ‘isn’t good for you’, actually really enjoyed it and didn’t feel bad after?
Or does this sound more like you:
You want it but you know you shouldn’t have it. So you resist. And you feel a bit deprived, but good that you’re being disciplined. Then you watch other people enjoying it. And it starts talking to you, reminding you of how good it tastes.
And eventually, either at that moment or later on, you cave and have some.
And because it’s ‘bad’, you scoff it quickly, barely stopping to notice the taste and feeling more guilty with each mouthful.
Then you berate your lack of willpower, beat yourself up, and swear you’ll get back to ‘being good’ tomorrow. And then the cycle begins again.
Small ‘blips’ every now and then in a consistent eating plan will not throw you off track and cause you to gain back pounds of fat overnight. So why worry? It’s a good thing to occasionally have the unhealthy things you really love to eat, and enjoy them.
I get many of my clients to actually plan in three meals or snacks each week that are whatever they fancy. They can enjoy their favourite foods every week, without feeling guilty or deprived, and still lose weight. How?
Because it’s what they do consistently the rest of the time that makes the difference.
Life is for living, and beating yourself up after the event helps no one. If 90% of the time your food is good and you’re on track, you have nothing to worry about. If you ended up eating more than you should have, look at what happened, see if there’s anything you can learn from it, and then carry on with the plan.
Dealing with habits and feelings towards food is something I work on with both my online and one-to-one personal training clients. If this could be of help to you, click here to get in touch.